Jose Mourinho vs Marco Silva: Old friends go head-to-head when Manchester United host Everton

Jose Mourinho will come up against his friend and countryman Marco Silva when Manchester United face Everton on Super Sunday.

Silva has earned comparisons with Mourinho during a seven-year managerial career which has already taken in six different clubs from Estoril and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal to Hull, Watford and now Everton.

The 41-year-old heads to Old Trafford hoping to extend a run of three consecutive Premier League wins with his improving Everton side, but getting the better of Mourinho won’t be easy. Here, we assess their previous meetings and examine their relationship.

Head-to-head record

Mourinho and Silva have faced each other six time as managers, with Mourinho winning four of their meetings and Silva one.

They first went up against each other back in 2014, when Mourinho’s Chelsea were drawn in the same Champions League group as Silva’s Sporting Lisbon. Chelsea were 1-0 winners in the away game, with Nemanja Matic scoring the only goal, and triumphed 3-1 back at Stamford Bridge thanks to a penalty from Cesc Fabregas and goals from Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel.

A twist of fate then saw Silva face Mourinho’s Manchester United three times in the space of a month after taking the Hull City job in January 2017. United won the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final 2-0 at Old Trafford, but Silva’s men pushed them close in the return leg, winning 2-1 and only narrowly losing out on aggregate. Soon after that in the Premier League, Silva’s men held on for an impressive goalless draw at Old Trafford.

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The pair’s most recent meeting came during Silva’s brief spell in charge of Watford last season. Silva’s side had started the campaign well, but Manchester United emerged 4-2 winners at Vicarage Road, with Ashley Young scoring twice. It was the beginning of a six-game winless streak for Watford and Silva was gone a couple of months later.

Silva’s inspiration

Silva started his managerial career with Portuguese side Estoril in 2011 while Mourinho was midway through his time at Real Madrid, but along with Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, former Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim and Shakhtar Donetsk manager Paulo Fonseca, he is now one of a long list of Portuguese coaches to have established himself elsewhere in Europe.

Former right-back Silva was still finishing up his playing career when Mourinho burst onto the scene with Porto and Chelsea, but he got his first chance abroad with Olympiakos in 2015, and now he is regarded as one of the hottest properties in the Premier League. In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports last week, he said it owes a lot to Mourinho.

“Jose, for all Portuguese managers, he had a fantastic impact when he appeared,” said Silva. “He achieved fantastic success with Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid and it opened big, big doors for Portuguese managers to come and work abroad. Portugal had very good coaches in the past as well, but mostly working in Portugal. Jose changed that.”

Jose’s praise

The admiration seems to be mutual. Back in 2017, Silva’s appointment at Hull prompted a negative reaction from some sections of the press, with Soccer Saturday pundit Paul Merson bemoaning the decision to appoint a foreign coach at the KC Stadium instead of a domestic one.

Silva was forced to defend himself, insisting pundits should have done their homework on his achievements with Sporting Lisbon, where he won the Portuguese Cup, and with Olympiakos, where he clinched the Greek title, and there was also support from Mourinho.

“It’s not easy to come to the Premier League when you are a foreign coach,” Mourinho said before United’s first meeting with Silva’s Hull that January.

“He knows it is difficult because they are bottom of the league, but it is a big opportunity for him. He is a good young coach. He went to Greece. Nobody knows he was champion there. Now he comes to the big one.

“He started from below and wasn’t given a top job immediately. In spite of him being so young, he is experienced. He is mature. I would love him to do well. But it is hard to jump from the bottom of the league.”

Styles compared

There are certainly similarities in their characters, with Silva’s managerial history showing that, like Mourinho, he does not shy away from controversy or confrontation. Silva clashed with senior figures at both Sporting and Watford, and left Olympiakos in similarly stormy circumstances when they refused to give him permission to speak to Porto.

But while Mourinho is known for a footballing philosophy which centres on nullifying opponents and exploiting their weaknesses, Silva’s teams tend to be more proactive and attacking. It often comes at the cost of defensive solidity – his Hull, Watford and Everton teams have all leaked goals regularly – but Silva hopes to change that trend at Goodison Park.

Mourinho, for his part, usually prides himself on the defensive stinginess of his teams, but United have conceded 16 goals during their difficult start to the Premier League season – the fifth-most in the division. With Silva’s Everton also showing unpredictability, the two old friends could serve up a spectacle to savour on Super Sunday.

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