Caixinha is proving to be Rangers’ muddled Mourinho

Comments()
Getty composite
The Ibrox manager has had a difficult start to life in Scotland and has not helped himself by following the blueprint of his more famous countryman

Being Portuguese, with little playing background and quick with his mouth, is about all Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha can claim to have in common with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.

While the 54-year-old manager at Old Trafford has a string of titles to his name, including Champions League wins with Porto and Inter, and a string of domestic titles at every club he has been with, the Ibrox boss eight years his junior has enjoyed only modest success in Mexico with Santos Laguna.

Aberdeen 7/1 to beat Motherwell 1-0

Nevertheless, Caixinha seems to fancy himself as a new Mourinho. 

“I always think that when I'm working at a club my players are the best, my squad is the best and my club is the best,” he mused in August to the media, despite Rangers having a half-built squad that had lagged champions Celtic by an astonishing 39 points in the league campaign that finished less than three months earlier.

“I need to represent it like that and I need to spread that feeling from bottom to top and top to bottom. If I don't think like that representing Rangers today then I'm a guy just sitting in my chair letting time pass me by.”

Pedro Caixinha

It was Mourinho-esque thinking from the manager, who has so far failed to show the same tactical acumen as his compatriot since moving to Scotland. Already this season, his side trail Celtic by five marks after six games and even look short of the quality the likes of Aberdeen post. 

Of course, in another play straight out of the Mourinho handbook, it is never his fault.

Last week, he criticised opposing teams for offering too “aggressive” an approach against Rangers, which Celtic will see as an open invitation to get stuck in during Saturday’s Old Firm derby, historically one of the most intense and fraught in the whole of football.

Given that the Ibrox club needed Partick Thistle to be reduced to 10 men against them before rallying to secure a 2-2 draw away from home last Friday night, then required extra time to see off the same opponents on Tuesday in a League Cup encounter, it does not bode well for a match against rivals invincible domestically in 56 matches.

Among Celtic’s successes was a 5-1 win upon their last visit to Ibrox, their biggest away triumph in the 116-year history of Rangers’ home. 

After that chastening defeat, he said: “It is possible to bridge the gap and we need to do it. That's what everyone is working hard towards.”

Despite rebuilding the squad in the summer, there is little to suggest that Rangers will be able to compete with their Glasgow neighbours this season. After crashing out of the Europa League to Luxembourg outfit Progres Niederkorn – a side that had never previously won a continental match, let alone tie – the squad was strengthened, but not sufficiently.

Pedro Caixinha

For every right move Caixinha has made in the transfer market, signing Alfredo Morelos or Graham Dorrans for example, he seems to have made a misstep. After pushing Michael O’Halloran out of the door to St Johnstone, the young midfielder already has five goals for the season, while the jury remains firmly out on a number of other players.

“What I need to tell you, and it’s a Portuguese saying, ‘the dogs bark and the caravan keeps going’. That means that we are focused in our work. We are all together in the same direction,” Caixinha argued last month.

A phrase you feel you might have heard before, perhaps, given that it was one of Mourinho’s most cryptic assessments of a Chelsea win when they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in May 2015.

Article continues below

“To those who say we don't deserve it, in my country we say: 'The dogs bark and the caravan goes by,'” he said.

Criticism, in other words, is for other people. 

Mourinho has already discovered no-one is invincible, and should Rangers continue in their current manner, Caixinha will soon have that in common with his compatriot, too.

Next article:
Tottenham injury misery continues as Alli ruled out until March
Next article:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will guarantee Sven Mislintat legacy at Arsenal
Next article:
'It was fun while it lasted' - Bolt calls time on football dream
Next article:
It is very, very serious for us - PSG boss Tuchel wants midfielder in January window
Next article:
African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Middlesbrough make U-turn as Mikel agrees terms with Championship club
Close