Benni: How Mourinho’s Porto Compares To AmaZulu

Author: Lorenz Kohler
 | Date: February 21, 2022

Benni McCarthy says AmaZulu can emulate the iconic Jose Mourinho FC Porto side if they are willing to change a few things about their game.

McCarthy who won the UEFA Champions League in 2004 under Mourinho led Usuthu to their first-ever win in the CAF Champions League group stage when they beat Horoya AC 1-0 on Friday evening at Moses Mabhida.

In one of the standout team displays of the round, McCarthy and his side received widespread plaudits across the continent for their fluent attacking display.

And in the post-match press conference, he responded to suggestions that he’s creating a hard-working group of underdogs like the triumphant squad under his former coach, Mourinho.

“I think the circumstances are different, the experience I had as a player is completely different [from management], as a player I knew the values of what I had to put in the game, [how] to up my game,” he said in response to iDiski Times question.

“Now I’m dependent on players and sometimes the players are not available to play and it becomes extremely difficult for you that can’t go on the pitch and play for them. They have to do it by themselves, so I think that factor is different.

“[Porto] were the underdogs. The only thing I can say to the players is that if we’re willing to work hard, willing to run the distance, we give ourselves a helluva chance because of individual quality, we have – better than most teams.

“But football matches are won as a team not as individuals, we have to work together, attack as a team, defend as a team and if the opposition runs 10kms, we have to be able to run 11kms. 

“If we run more than the opposition, the quality that we have will definitely come out on top. If you make the comparison, that Porto team was a special team. Not with special players it just everyone had an engine in them willing to work for the cause.”

We Don’t Have A McCarthy

South Africa’s all-time record scorer went on to add that the Porto squad was successful because they worked ‘extremely hard’ and ‘ran teams off the park’ but emphasised they their attacking options were a huge difference.

“We were fit! We were fit, we were competitive and when we had our chances, we had clinical players. You had Benni McCarthy firing from all cylinders, Carlos Alberto, who was scoring goals for fun, the Brazilian Darlei who was also chipping in with goals once he came back from his knee operation. You had Edgaras Jankauskas.

“Every player you had, every striker knew if you had one chance, you score. If you don’t score, you don’t get to play again in that team so we were clinical, every single one and Mourinho could turn to anyone. Anyone he puts on guaranteed goals.

“That’s what you want to work on but I’m afraid the mentalities and mindsets are different from Europe and what we have in South Africa at the moment. But the more I’m trying to drill it into my players, the Ntuli’s, Majok’s, Mthembu’s, Majoro, Linda Zungu, the young striker – I want them [to do this] they are well capable of it. “

Despite stating his current options aren’t up to the required standard he’s urged them to work harder, be more professional and put in the hours to develop into the players who can become successful in Africa’s elite club competition.

“It’s just about focusing, concentration and wanting it bad. You need to be able to score goals in your sleep. Unfortunately, South African players don’t want to do things in their sleep,” he explained.

“We rather have a nice post on Instagram, a nice bottle of whiskey or gin – but you sleepwalking while you playing football.

“That’s the difference between players at the highest level and players here, so if I can achieve that, to get my players to score goals in their sleep – we’ll be okay because we have a lot of quality. 

“That’s the difference between Porto and AmaZulu, the levels are completely different – the similarities I do want to have is the work ethic because that Porto team was fire, they loved to work, they love to tire teams out and then the quality takes over.”

Usuthu face TS Galaxy on Tuesday before hosting ES Setif on Friday evening at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Story by Lorenz Kohler (@Lorenz_KO).

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