Jose Mourinho has been nominated alongside 11 other managers for the 2017 FIFA men’s coach award after claiming three pieces of silverware in his first season at Manchester United.
The Portuguese, despite making a slow start in the Premier League, displayed his capacity for winning silverware by adding the Community Shield and League Cup to the club’s trophy cabinet.
He then skilfully guided his injury impeded side to the Europa League final against Ajax in Stockholm and masterminded a commanding 2-0 win over the Dutch side, handing Man United their first European trophy since 2008 and a place in the Champions League group stages.
And the 54-year-old has been duly shortlisted for the 2017 men’s coach award, joining these 11 managers: Massimiliano Allegri, Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Luis Enrique, Pep Guardiola, Leonardo Jardim, Joachim Low, Maurico Pochettino, Diego Simeone, Tite, Zinedine Zidane
Zidane will, of course, take this honour with flying colours. His Real Madrid side are far and away the best in the world, blessed with world class talent in every position. They will, no doubt, claim more silverware over the next year.
But Mourinho fought a different battle: a new team left depleted following the Louis van Gaal era, the watching world scrutinising every defeat, every shortcoming. Everything could have fallen apart, but by April United were still on course for a special season.
And it was in this last month that Mourinho revealed his fighting spirit – the same unstoppable verve that has driven him to the pinnacle so often. Numerous injuries, 64 games in total, the last vestiges of energy dying away, and the Portuguese, as he always does, found a way.