Is Carra wrong to be wary of Mourinho?

Now that the much-awaited announcement of José Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal in the hot seat at Manchester United is done and dusted, reactions and forecasts are pouring in. To Liverpool fans’ utter dismay, their hero Jamie Carragher made a particularly ominous speculation – that with Mourinho in the hot seat, Manchester United will start challenging for silverware immediately. To be fair to van Gaal, he did win the FA Cup last week but he never gave the impression that he was a “serial winner”, which is what Carragher called Mourinho. The fans may disagree with Carragher, and they were in an uproar on Twitter but we thought it warrants a look at the data to see whose point of view is better supported by it – Carragher’s or the fans’.

Carragher brought up the most obvious stat to prove his point – that Mourinho has won 8 league titles in 14 attempts across 4 leagues in Europe. We dug a bit deeper to look at some other stats to see what effect his arrival at Old Trafford might have on the club and the league.

To start with, let us look at the win percentage across those leagues:


In the Premier League, Mourinho has won just over two-thirds of his matches. His impressive win percentage includes the poor half season he had with Chelsea in 2015-16. Now his win percentage in Premier League might not be as good as in La Liga and the Primeira Liga but it still means that if his team keeps winning at that rate, they are looking at anything between 25 to 26 wins in a season, which should definitely guarantee Champions League football and even a title challenge.

Looking at points per game as a metric might also be interesting:


His first spell at Chelsea was indeed much better than the second spell, with a Points per Game (PPG) ratio of 2.22, only bettered by 2.3 during his time at Real Madrid. While the second spell at Chelsea was obviously less successful but the PPG was still a healthy 1.96. His overall PPG (weighted average over both spells) is 2.11. Hitting that kind of form would also put Manchester United in contention for top four next season. The only thing that would please his opponents in these stats was his team’s PPG in 2015-16 – a meagre 0.94.

Mourinho’s record against the managers he is going to face next season is also very good. Among the other top four contenders, he has won 8 out of 15 against Arsene Wenger and 8 out of 10 against Mauricio Pochettino. Against Claudio Ranieri his record is a bit modest, winning 2 out of 6 matches. However, he would want to improve his record against United’s two fiercest rivals next season. He has won 3 out of 16 matches against Pep Guardiola and 1 out of 5 against Jürgen Klopp. Also, against Ronald Koeman he is yet to win in 3 attempts, while against Slaven Bilic he has won once in two attempts.

These stats indeed prove to a large extent what Jamie Carragher was talking about. Jose Mourinho, despite winning only two trophies since 2011 and a poor 16 game run for Chelsea last season, is more than a formidable manager to play against, especially with a squad that has cost them £250m over the last two years. Liverpool and other opponent’s fans can hope that the hangover of that last miserable season still persists but it seems United have again found a ladder to the perch.

(All statistics and data points sourced from www.transfermarkt.com)




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