Turkish football has never had a manager that ‘will draw attention to the football there like Mourinho,’ says sports journalist Sean Gillen.

Turkish football has never had a manager that ‘will draw attention to the football there like Mourinho,’ says sports journalist Sean Gillen

Mourinho’s presence at Fenerbahce will boost international coverage, attract bigger names and give more exposure to the entire league, Gillen tells Anadolu

Winning the Turkish title will become Mourinho’s ‘obsession and he will expect all players and staff to adopt that obsession,’ says Gillen

With Jose Mourinho, Turkish football now has a “superstar manager” who can elevate its standing in the world, according to an international sports journalist.

“Mourinho is a superstar of football, and the world will be watching,” Sean Gillen, who writes for Portuguese football news outlet PortuGOAL.net, told Anadolu.

“The Turkish league has had many Portuguese coaches but none of them will draw attention to the football there like Mourinho.”

The Portuguese tactician has signed a two-year contract at Fenerbahce, one of the big three clubs of Turkish football alongside Besiktas and reigning champions Galatasaray.

Mourinho has been tasked with winning the domestic Super Lig, a title that has eluded the club for a decade.

Gillen said the impact of Mourinho’s arrival will go beyond only what he does at Fenerbahce, stressing that it will shine a brighter light on the entire league.

“I believe the big three clubs in Turkiye are revered and respected throughout the world, but not a lot is known of the other clubs in the country,” he said.

“Mourinho’s presence and the extent to which his time in Turkish football is covered can only give more exposure to the rest of the league … I can imagine the temptation for international broadcasters to show the biggest games he’s involved in will grow hugely too.”

For instance, his unveiling was covered live by British broadcaster Sky Sports, he pointed out.

“In Portugal, everything he does is covered strongly. The Turkish league has had many Portuguese coaches but none of them will draw attention to the football there like Mourinho,” he said.

“His press conferences, results and no doubt his controversial moments will be covered intensely in Portugal. But it will also be the case worldwide.”

Big names and aims

For Fenerbahce, Gillen believes Mourinho will push for a “change in mindset” and “demand an increase in standards.”

“Like many of the best managers, Mourinho will expect pure dedication from his players. Any players perceived to be taking it easy at a big club such as Fenerbahce will be challenged and ultimately removed if they don’t step up,” he said.

“As a winner, Mourinho cannot stand players who don’t share his hunger. After 20 years of success, he still has the same ambition and will expect the same from players.”

Winning the Turkish league title “will become his obsession and he will expect all players and staff to adopt that obsession,” Gillen added.

Mourinho himself will put in a lot of hard work, he said, starting with learning the Turkish language and “soaking up as much information from staff at the club as he can to understand the culture at Fenerbahce and the Turkish league in general.”

“He will challenge himself to know as much about his environment as possible … (and) pay more attention to detail in Türkiye than managers who arrived with 10% of his success,” Gillen asserted.

A key element in Mourinho’s strategy will be putting together a team that he truly believes can get the job done, he said.

“He’s very ambitious so I’m sure he has been given guarantees over transfers. He’s a man who will put pressure on those running the club to match his ambition,” said Gillen.

“I’m certain Fenerbahce will make some major signings in keeping with satisfying his demands. And Mourinho will ensure those players are coming for the right reasons and with the right attitude.”

A major advantage Mourinho holds in that department is his own pull, with players around the world eager to work with him, said Gillen.

“There’s also another significant aspect in that: Jorge Mendes, who is his agent. The first ‘super agent’ in football, Mendes is still extremely powerful and with him on their side I expect Fenerbahce to be very strong in the transfer market,” he said.

As an example, he cited reports linking Fenerbahce to Mendes’ client Goncalo Ramos, the Portuguese striker currently with the national side at EURO 2024.

“I don’t know if that will happen, but it is a sign of the potential pull and influence of Mourinho and Mendes,” he added.

Tactics and tenacity

On the tactical side, Gillen believes Turkish football will suit Mourinho’s style.

“Mourinho is certainly not a modern coach in terms of the way he sets his team up … Mourinho’s plan for defensive organization and shape is still his stronger trait rather than the modern emphasis on micromanaging attacking patterns,” he explained.

“My impression is that the Turkish league has a slower tempo than the other major leagues. This probably suits Mourinho, as one aspect of modern football which his sides perhaps struggle with is to produce sustained high pressure on the ball.”

Any criticism of his team’s playing style has never had any effect on Mourinho, who has made it clear that he expects “to be judged on the trophies he puts in the office,” Gillen said.

Another crucial cog in the Mourinho machine has always been his ability to “provoke, antagonize and try to inspire every bit of aggression,” he said.

“Mourinho likes to create a siege mentality whereby everyone at Fenerbahce feels united in fighting against the rest of the world … Mourinho will not change. He will not suddenly become a polished, serene example of gentlemanly standards,” Gillen added.

“He’s a fighter and a whirlwind of compulsiveness. He makes people feel something, whether it’s good or bad. He’ll invigorate, excite, enrage, fascinate, and when he leaves everyone will take a deep breath and remember the ride.”  Source: AA


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