Jose Mourinho believes it’s getting harder and harder for teams to go unbeaten these days due to the quality of other teams as if going unbeaten before wasn’t hard.
Every year, we have to listen to the same pundits who mocked Arsene Wenger for saying he believed his side could go through a season unbeaten, ramble on about how Liverpool or Manchester City or Chelsea or somebody could go through this season unbeaten.
Now that Arsene Wenger has done it, they all think it’s an achievable target and not a special blend of managerial skill, players with supreme talent and desire, timing and, of course, luck.
In short, a perfect storm needs to combine.
After Liverpool won the league at a canter this season we all saw how they took the foot off the pedal. 100 points was there for the taking but, instead, they lost to Arsenal.
It is not easy to keep not losing when you’ve already won. And this Liverpool side that everybody is crowing about, superb as they are, lost three league games this season. They may have won 32, but those three that they lost are the important ones when you’re talking unbeaten records. Obviously.
“I think the Premier League is getting into a direction where these unbeaten records are something more and more difficult to achieve because of the level of the teams,” Mourinho told Sky Sports .
“But to be strong at home and to arrive at the end of each season with an important number of points in your pocket from home matches is very important.
“I think our recent results at home without the fans are important, but we need them back.
“I can imagine that [2-1] victory against Arsenal with the stadium full of Tottenham fans. This is the kind of empathy that you can create step by step.”
As I said, unbeaten records have always been hard to achieve. It’s why something like Arsenal’s Invincibles comes along once a century.
I understand what he means about teams being better these days, but that’s subjective. And, besides, all teams are of a level – that’s why they are in the same division. So while a 1930s side might struggle against today’s finely tuned athletes, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t just as hard to go unbeaten in the 30s.
Last week, Jose Mourinho finally admitted that qualifying for the Champions League is a good target. Now, he’s realising how hard it is to go unbeaten, even just at home, when you don’t have unlimited funds at your disposal.
It’s almost as if he might possibly be starting to grasp the reason Arsene Wenger gets so much respect for what he did, something that has always irked him beyond belief.
Mourinho has always struggled with the fact he has never been afforded respect in the same way as the likes of Wenger. In 2014 I wrote an article detailing why Mourinho isn’t even fit to zip up Wenger’s coat and it’s as relevant today as it was then.
“There are different types of managers in the game,” I wrote. “There are some who do it for the club and others who do it for personal glory.
“The Arsene Wengers and Jose Mourinhos of the world, both occupying opposite ends of the managerial spectrum.
“For Mourinho, it is all about instant gratification, no matter what that costs – be it half a billion pounds, your dignity or your sanity having to watch his Chelsea side bore teams in to submission.
“Wenger came to England and changed the entire game, from fitness to scouting, playing methods and eating habits. Wenger represents an ethos, a total way of being which is sustainable long after he has gone.
Mourinho represents himself.
“End of story.”