Was José Mourinho’s right to live away from his family?

A couple of weeks ago news broke of José Mourinho’s sacking as manager of Manchester United. It was hardly surprising. The team had been under performing, but more damaging was their style of play. The continuous defensive nature of their displays, combined with his negative demeanour, didn’t go down well with fans.

When news broke of his departure, a lot was made in the media of his payout. Rumoured to be £20m, it seems like a lot for being a failure. It comes with the territory though. His contract was for a set period, so some compensation was necessary for an early termination.

What wasn’t widely reported was Jose’s domestic arrangements. He’d lived in an apartment at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester since being appointed two and a half years ago. He’d chosen to live there, whilst his family remained at their London home. He is reported to have been happy with the arrangements, but it can’t have been easy.

José is quoted as saying, “The most important thing is my family and being a good father.” So the decision to work away from what is important to him and his wife, must have added additional strain to what was an already stressful job. OK Manchester isn’t a million miles away from London, but coming home to an empty apartment / house is never the same.

Anyone who’s experienced bereavement or coming home when their partner is away, can testify that it can be a very lonely experience. Even the strongest person can suffer over time as a result. I’m not saying that Jose did, but it could have been a factor.

In his mind, there were very good reasons for keeping his family in London. He’s very protective of them, and maybe the extra pressure of managing one of the world’s biggest clubs was something he wanted to protect them from. When you move your family, it is more than just houses that need finding. You’re taking children away from their school and friends, your wife away from her support network, and everyone away from what they’re used to.

I wouldn’t say that being away from those you love makes you worse at your job, but it doesn’t help when things aren’t going well. José Mourinho was widely criticised for his negative demeanour running up to his departure. Could this be partly because his domestic arrangements were finally getting on top of him? Only he will know.

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