12 players Jose Mourinho failed to get the best out of

Jose Mourinho is a man renowned for being hard task-master; his ruthlessness and win at all costs mentality has come to define his management career.

Certain players respond brilliantly to Mourinho’s tough love approach with Deco, John Terry and Frank Lampard a select few players who became world-class under the Portuguese’s watch.

There are others though who struggled to make any sort of impression while playing for Mourinho, instead, developing their games and enhancing their reputations elsewhere.

The latest star player to struggle under the tenure of Mr Mourinho is Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, who has been providing inconsistent form in Mourinho’s negative set-up for almost two years. It seems that the clock is ticking on whether Pogba can continue in this fashion under Mourinho’s leadership.

So, here are 12 players that Mourinho failed (or is currently failing) to get the best of.

Kevin De Bruyne
Appearances under Mourinho: 9

Kevin De Bruyne is probably the most high-profile example of a player who has thrived after being given the cold shoulder by Mourinho.

The Belgian actually started in Mourinho’s first game back at Stamford Bridge – a 2-0 victory over Hull City – and played in three of Chelsea’s opening five fixtures before vanishing from the matchday squad.

Reports of a rift between De Bruyne and Mourinho quickly surfaced and he was allowed to join Werder Bremen on loan in January 2014 before signing permanently for Wolfsburg the following summer.

A move to Manchester City was the catalyst in De Bruyne finally showing the world that he is one of the best players in the game at the moment. Under Pep Guardiola’s guidance, the Belgium midfielder has won titles and cups amidst plaudits from the football community.

Romelu Lukaku
Appearances under Mourinho: 3 (at Chelsea)

Bayern v Che - UEFA Super Cup

In theory, Romelu Lukaku should have been the perfect centre-forward for Mourinho to build his second Chelsea team around.

Able to bully defenders with his combination of pace and power, Lukaku was long earmarked at Stamford Bridge as the eventual heir to Didier Drogba in Chelsea’s attack.

However, Lukaku played just 122 minutes of football under Mourinho and was unceremoniously ditched after missing the crucial penalty in a European Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich.

After a successful spell at Everton, Mourinho decided to try again with the Belgium star and signed him for Manchester United back in the summer of 2017 for an initial £75 million. Mourinho, seemingly, has finally found a way to use Lukaku as his focal point of attack, with the striker scoring 27 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions for United in his first campaign.

Nuri Sahin
Appearances under Mourinho: 10


Fresh from winning the Bundesliga Player of the Year after spearheading Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga title win in 2010-11, Nuri Sahin earned a big move to Real Madrid.

Hopes were high that Sahin could become a key member of the side at the Bernabeu, however, his progress was stalled due to injury problems and a lack of first-team action.

He was loaned to Liverpool after just a year at the club, returning to Dortmund where he re-established himself as an important member of the squad before joining Werder Bremen this summer .

Mohamed Salah
Appearances under Mourinho: 19

Mourinho signed Mohamed Salah from FC Basel midway through his first season back at Chelsea as he looked to freshen up his attack with some much-needed pace.

The Egyptian made a reasonable start to life in the Premier League – most notably scoring in the 6-0 rout of Arsenal – but failed to convince Mourinho that he was a viable long-term option.

A return of 43 goals and 28 assists in 109 games for Fiorentina and Roma after leaving Stamford Bridge suggests that Mourinho was hasty in offloading him.

If there was any doubt regarding Salah’s talents, just check his record for Liverpool last season. Those numbers will certainly haunt Mourinho for a while.

Anthony Martial
Appearances under Mourinho: 88

Anthony Martial was an influential figure in Louis van Gaal’s final season at Old Trafford scoring 17 goals but saw his rapid progress halted somewhat under Mourinho, managing just eight.

Did the Frenchman suffer from ‘second season syndrome’ or was it something more sinister? Question marks surrounding Martial’s future were raised after Mourinho publicly criticised him in the first half of last season.

Martial did eventually force his way back into first-team contention but seems to be firmly behind Marcus Rashford in Mourinho’s pecking order.

This led to Martial missing out on a place in France’s 2018 World Cup squad, with the talented French forward admitting that he would have liked a transfer to another club in the summer, though no deal came through.

Filipe Luis
Appearances under Mourinho: 26

In 2014, Mourinho seemed intent on dismantling the Atletico Madrid side that won La Liga and reached the Champions League final, recalling Thibaut Courtois from a loan spell and signing Diego Costa and Filipe Luis.

Both Courtois and Costa instantly became key figures in his new-look Chelsea side the following season but the same cannot be said of Luis who played second fiddle to Cesar Azpilicueta.

Luis returned to Madrid after just a year in West London and has restored his reputation as one of the best left-backs in European football.

Ezequiel Garay
Appearances under Mourinho: 8

While Mourinho has been guilty of selling talented attacking players too quickly, he usually gets it right with defenders.

Ezequiel Garay is perhaps the exception to the rule though as he failed to make any sort of headway at Real Madrid while Mourinho was in charge, leaving for Benfica in 2011.

Garay played a pivotal role in re-establishing Benfica as the dominant force in Portuguese football and started for Argentina in a World Cup final just three years after Mourinho sold him.

Ricardo Quaresma
Appearances under Mourinho: 32

After joining Inter Milan in 2008, Mourinho opted to make just a few additions to the first-team squad with Ricardo Quaresma by far the most high-profile and expensive acquisition.

Quaresma had recovered from a poor season at Barcelona to become the best player in Portugal while playing for Porto between 2004-08 but he was unable to replicate that form in Milan.

He was nowhere to be seen when the team won the treble in 2010 and although his club career has yielded mixed results he was influential as Portugal won Euro 2016.

The forward is represented Portugal at the World Cup with and scored a wondergoal against Iran, which has since been shortlisted for the 2018 Puskas Award.

Juan Cuadrado
Appearances under Mourinho: 15

Signed after excelling for Colombia at the 2014 World Cup, Juan Cuadrado looked like the perfect mid-season signing for Chelsea as they closed in on the Premier League title.

He featured only intermittently as the Blues won the league though and he was on the move just a few months later joining Juventus on loan.

Cuadrado helped Juventus win the double in each of his two seasons at the club and featured for them in the Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.

David Luiz
Appearances under Mourinho: 34

Mourinho seemed unconvinced by David Luiz’s defensive capabilities, often deploying in a defensive midfield role during the pair’s one season together.

He was lauded as a genius after selling the Brazilian for £50m to PSG a matter of days before he captained Brazil to their infamous 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany.

However, Luiz recovered from that bruising night to win multiple trophies in Paris before playing a key role in Chelsea’s title-winning success under Antonio Conte.

Last season, Luiz struggled to maintain a regular place in the Chelsea starting eleven but under Maurizio Sarri has been given a fresh chance at Stamford Bridge.

Andre Schurrle
Appearances under Mourinho: 65

Just a few months after winning the World Cup, Andre Schurrle found himself consigned to a substitute role at Stamford Bridge.

Midway through the 2014-15 season, Schurrle cut his ties with Chelsea, sealing a return to Germany to join Wolfsburg with whom he helped win the DFB Pokal cup.

A solid 18-month spell with Wolfsburg led to Schurrle becoming Borussia Dortmund’s record signing in 2017 but he struggled to make much of an impression there, and is now back in the Premier League with Fulham on a two-year loan deal.

Luke Shaw
Appearances under Mourinho: 42

Similarly, with Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw has been attempting to earn his manager’s trust following a frustrating period of football.

Shaw was tipped to become the Red Devils leading left-back for the next decade after completing a £30m move from Southampton and initially showed plenty of promise under Louis van Gaal prior to suffering a horrific double leg break.

Having favoured Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young in the left-back role last season it is clear Mourinho wants more from Shaw and, so far this year, the Englishman has impressed, finally looking like fulfilling his potential at Old Trafford.

You may also like...