James Lawton: Mourinho has touch of Clough to strike fear into players and rivals alike

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The Independent Football

In the hour of his stunning triumph, two quite different pictures of Jose Mourinho were being formed. One portrayed the 41-year-old Champions' League winner as no more than a clever football technician on the way to getting his hands on Chelsea's unrivalled war chest. It is a view that makes Mourinho the game's version of the classic novel of Hollywood ambition,What Makes Sammy Run?

The other, much more flattering image is of a genuine football original, someone as driven as Bill Shankly and as quirkish as Brian Clough.

Here, after watching his extraordinarily confident, almost messianic securing of the greatest prize in club football for Porto on a budget that would not have gone halfway to meeting Manchester United's agents' fees, the inclination has to be towards the latter view.

No doubt Mourinho is consumed with personal ambition. But then so were Shankly and Clough. Sir Alex Ferguson, for all his troubles ­ and his huge achievements ­ is still consumed by it. So, obviously, is Arsène Wenger. One difference might be that Mourinho, who had an extremely modest playing career in the lower reaches of Portuguese football, is rather more candid about his own need to succeed.

Before plonking the great silver trophy beside his seat on the Porto bus outside the Arena AufSchalke, the suave, suited Mourinho said: "I've had great success in winning the Uefa Cup and the Champions' League so quickly but though I know I'm going to have a bad year sometime I would be very sad if in 10 years' time these were the only great trophies I have won. When I say that I know many good managers can go 30 or 40 years without this kind of success. I'm aware of this and because of it I want to enjoy this night with my players before I discuss the future."

Earlier there was a flash of Clough when, instead of joining the celebrations with his players on the field, he spent the time embracing his wife and children. That recalled the time a similarly aged Clough arrived to meet his new team, Leeds United ­ the reigning champions ­ in shirt sleeves and shorts and with a squash racquet in one hand and his young son Nigel in the other. It was soon after this that he told the Leeds players that as far as he was concerned they could throw all their medals in a rubbish bin.

Abrasive, endlessly provocative, Clough went on to win two European Cups with Nottingham Forest and drew this appraisal from a former player, Archie Gemmill: "I just don't know quite how he did it, how he got us to play for him ­ maybe there was a bit of fear, and of wondering what was going to happen next."

Unquestionably, Mourinho is a contender to break all records for thoroughness of preparation. Before the ultimately crushing 3-0 victory over Monaco, he listed in detail the build-up to the big match. One day was devoted exclusively to the possibility of a penalty shoot-out, the procedure which cost England their place in two World Cups and a European Championship and denied Terry Venables the European Cup in his time at Barcelona. Some might say devoting a full day to such a basic skill was excessive and perhaps even counter-productive. But they shouldn't tell England's rugby World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson.

One charge against Mourinho is that his basically cautious game would not thrill the terraces of either Stamford Bridge or Anfield, but there was no lack of excitement among the great swathe of Porto blue and white when their men struck so devastatingly on the counter-attack to destroy Monaco.

Mourinho insists: "You always play to your strengths, you look at your players and it doesn't matter what system you play, 4-3-3, 4-4-2, you have to be the same model, you always have to be true to your identity."

John Giles, Don Revie's chief onfield lieutenant in the great years of Leeds United and someone who briefly experienced the style of Clough in his bizarre 44-day reign at Elland Road, was in the AufSchalke after being deeply impressed by the organisation and commitment of Porto in their upsetting of Deportivo La Coruña in the semi-finals.

Said Giles: "Mourinho is clearly his own man and because of that I imagine he has made some quite strong demands on Roman Abramovich in terms of his control of football matters.

"It always seemed to me that if he is coming to England, Liverpool would be the perfect club. He would have the freedom, and the resources, to go his own way and he seems to be a man who relishes that. People are talking about his tactical triumph here. Well, I think more important was the effect he had on his team at half-time.

"I could see that he was appalled at the way they were playing in the first half; they weren't anything like the team that beat Deportivo. That was the one that came out in the second half and made every tackle and covered every yard. Deco was voted Man of the Match and took his goal brilliantly, but it was a disappointing performance from him when you compared it with some of his work earlier in the tournament.

"He was far from as sharp as I've seen him, and it does happen occasionally that a player like him gets to a big match and finds that his legs are just not right. Mourinho dealt with that problem, and in the end he came through because he has developed a terrific attitude in the team. When the team weren't playing well in the first half the defence still operated superbly. For me, the Man of the Match was central defender Ricardo Carvalho."

Giles, who also played under Sir Matt Busby, sees an empire-building coach in the football man now running faster than any of his rivals. Others worry that an already well-developed ego could run out of control. One fact is beyond doubt. When Mourinho arrives in England, as he intimated clearly that he would before the start of next season, everybody will be paying attention.

Already Mourinho has developed a fierce rivalry with Ferguson. Wenger will no doubt soon join the list of committed adversaries. Win or lose, Jose Mourinho is going to be a huge presence in English football. That, after his performance here this week, should be a matter for some considerable celebration.

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