JOSE MOURINHO is the Premier League’s ultimate managerial spartan warrior at Manchester United.
But the Portuguese is too busy dealing with internal battles at Old Trafford to go to war with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
That is the verdict of football psychologist Damian Hughes.
Mourinho, 55, has built a largely successful career off his tough management style which often results in conflict.
The fierce battler is facing one of the biggest tests of his career at present at Old Trafford.
Last Sunday’s 3-2 comeback triumph over Newcastle practically saved his job.
Following the launch of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which covers the conflict between Athens and Sparta, Hughes, a renowned Professor of Organisational Psychology and Change, has studied the similar traits in football’s biggest names.
And asked who would be the ultimate spartan as a manager in the Premier League, Hughes, exclusively told Starsport: “I think you’d probably go for someone like Mourinho.
“That guy’s just an arch-pragmatist, his whole life has been spent waging war.
“I think in his own reckoning, his own work, the ultimate spartan victory that he had was in the home of Barcelona in 2010 when he took 10-man Inter Milan up against them in the Champions League semi-final when they had a man sent off in the first 20 minutes and they just did that rearguard action to go an defeat them and then get to the final.
“Mourinho’s like the ultimate pragmatist – he’s always at war with somebody, always identifying an enemy, and he tries to get his players behind him.
“He’s not having great success but there’s other reasons behind that, but I just think he’s an arch-pragmatist.”
In terms of Mourinho’s current enemies, he has a long-standing conflict with Pep Guardiola from their days at Real Madrid and Barcelona.
As well as the Manchester City manager and reigning champion, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea are direct threats too.
All three clubs, though, have shown they are far greater contenders for the title this term than Manchester United.
“A lot of his fights at the moment seem to be internal”
Mourinho has had to deal with his own internal battles at Old Trafford including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and superstar record signing Paul Pogba.
From the other standpoint, City, Liverpool and Chelsea do not have to worry about United being on their tail at present.
And on whether the three teams are ignoring Mourinho now, Hughes added: “Yes possibly but I also think he’s ignoring them.
“As a pragmatist he realises that to go up and do war against them, he’s probably not likely to succeed as confidently as he would have done.
So I think it’s the other way, I don’t think he’s picking fights with them at the moment – a lot of his fights at the moment seem to be internal.
“In terms of that footage the other week of him saying something to Pogba. The obvious question there is why wait until the cameras were present?
“He obviously knew they were there, so he was trying to send out a message to his dressing room about he won’t tolerate dissent and things like that which again is that pragmatist in him, the ultimate spartan.
“If we’re going to war, he needs to be sure they’re all tight and unified internally.”
United will go to war with Mourinho’s former club and rivals Chelsea after the international break.
The eighth-placed Red Devils travel down south to Stamford Bridge for their Premier League showdown on October 20, with Chelsea, Liverpool and City currently seven points clear.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is out now – more information is available at https://assassinscreed.ubisoft.com/game/en-gb/home