JOE BERNSTEIN: Marco Silva doesn't need to posture like Jose Mourinho

JOE BERNSTEIN: Fulham boss Marco Silva is a contender for Manager of the Year, but his sending off at Man United is a reminder he doesn’t need to posture like Jose Mourinho – and he should stop pretending to be the Special One

  • Marco Silva shares many similarities with famed compatriot Jose Mourinho
  • Silva has led his team to outperform all of the expectations placed on them 
  • But Fulham boss emulated the Special One’s worst attributes in Man United loss

I once asked Jose Mourinho why there were so few English managers in the Premier League. ‘It is my fault,’ he said eyes twinkling. ‘Managers like myself, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, we are too successful.’

When I suggested his compatriot Marco Silva, then doing an excellent job at Watford, might be the next one, Jose gave me his trademark scoffing look, making it clear the young man had plenty to do before being mentioned in such exalted company.

And that remains the problem for Silva in his mid-forties.

He’s part of a generation that worships Mourinho for giving a small country like Portugal a respected global profile. Yet try as he might, and boy is he trying, he has not reached Mourinho levels, despite mimicking his behaviour to a tee.

That effort may come back to bite him with Silva facing several charges for his behaviour at Manchester United that some believe encouraged his Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic to shove referee Chris Kavanagh.

Marco Silva has enjoyed a successful campaign guiding newly-promoted Fulham thus far

But the 45-year-old must be weary of adopting too many traits from compatriot Jose Mourinho

Silva may deny modelling himself on the Special One but there are similarities from the dapper appearance – Silva’s swept-back dark hair reminiscent of the Fonz – to detailed team tactics, structure and organisation.

On a recent podcast, Andy Robertson praised his influence at Hull City, saying Silva’s demands for high standards had prepared him for working under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Inside clubs, Silva is also a popular figure. At Chelsea they used to say Mourinho was charming around camp and provocative in front of the TV cameras whereas Claudio Ranieri was the opposite.

Fulham is just a couple of miles from where Mourinho’s won three Premier League titles at Stamford Bridge but Silva has also aped the less savoury side of his idol; regularly showing a face to the media and officials that can be irritable at best, and aggressive at worst.

Mourinho’s charisma sometimes shielded his reputation from some unsavoury incidents. He criticised the Reading ambulance service after a serious injury to goalkeeper Petr Cech. After he insinuated referee Anders Frisk had cosy chats with Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard during a Champions League game, the official received death threats, and decided to retire.

Yet Mourinho was protected by being a serial winner. Even when he was filmed charging towards officials to berate them, it was turned into a humorous meme.

You can understand why Silva has been tempted to follow his countryman’s siege mentality. When current Chelsea manager Graham Potter doesn’t rant and rave, he’s condemned for being too passive.

Yet the 45-year-old has misjudged the mood music. He is not a double Champions League winner or lifted titles in England, Spain and Italy.

Silva antics as his side crashed out of the FA Cup to Manchester United were Mourinho-esque

The Roma boss has seen red three times in Serie A this season for his often fiery disposition 

His red card at Old Trafford and subsequent charges of abusing the referee and fourth official, and throwing a water bottle, comes at a time when grassroots referees feel particularly vulnerable to verbal and physical attacks. 

Silva should realise he doesn’t need to posture like Mourinho to be successful. His Fulham team, tipped for relegation, are in the top half of the table making him one of the managers of the year.

Mourinho could be Mourinho because his peak was in a different era and he had massive budgets to buy players to win silverware. Now he’s in decline and his three red cards at Roma this season are viewed as a sad pantomime act.

Marco is not Mourinho. Pretending isn’t doing him any good.

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