Just what is going wrong with Jose Mourinho? There has been so much speculation lately regarding his management of Man Utd and quite rightly so.
First thing first, I’m a huge fan. Always have been. I think his management style has been unique through the years. The way he has protected his players, especially in his first spell at Chelsea, was to be admired.
A lot of people say he couldn’t manage a team that didn’t have millions at their disposal and that he is a ‘lucky manager’.
No one can argue with his trophy return; since being at Porto in 2002 he has won 25 major trophies in 4 different countries, including leading Porto to the UEFA Champions League final in 2004.
When he first came to Chelsea in 2004/5, he was a breath of fresh air. Announcing himself as the ‘Special One’, he lived up to his own top billing by winning the Premiership at the first attempt. His tactical knowledge and ability to get players to play for him seemed to be the perfect recipe for success. Successful spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid followed, winning the domestic championship at both clubs.
However, since taking the reigns at Man Utd in 2016, he seems a different person. Even winning the Europa League in his first season didn’t lighten his persona. He comes across as very moody and always seems to be applying blame on anyone and everyone for the shortcomings of the team. Maybe the pressure on him to succeed against their brilliant neighbours Man City, coached by his old adversary Pep Guardiola, is just too much.
His football has become dour and negative, with many pundits pointing out that he always seems to ‘park the bus’ when up against one of the other big Premiership teams. That is not the United way and even the fans seem to be turning.
Ex-Man Utd player Lee Sharpe stated recently, “The football’s not entertaining and what makes it twice as bad is that their two biggest rivals, Man City and Liverpool, do play exciting football. His negative style does not fit in with the expansive football that United fans want. I think he’ll be gone before Christmas.”
Tactically he seems to have run out of ideas. I watched their latest performance against Brighton. The players didn’t look interested and when Brighton went 3-1 up, I was expecting a reaction. Nothing. Mourinho of old would have made positive changes. Not this time. Like for like substitutions, Rashford and Lingard for Pereira and Mata, later on Fellaini for Martial. No change of shape and no real urgency. It was like he settled for defeat. Brighton sat deep yet he still kept his back 4 on. Surely taking one of them off for a more attacking player would have shown a bit more intent. Especially as rivals Man City beat Huddersfield 6-1 earlier in the day.
I was baffled. I don’t have the answers but if I was a Man Utd fan I would feel very let down. No disrespect to Brighton but Man Utd should be beating them. In the press conference after, again he seemed moody. Blaming players for making ‘many mistakes’. Even hinting that the referee was in a hurry to end the game when they got a late penalty to make it 3-2.
He seems out of sorts; he gives off a feeling that he can’t be bothered. I never bought in to the theory that he never stays at a club for long out of choice. However, I have done a little research and it seems that he does this regularly. He was at Porto for 2 and half years. First spell at Chelsea lasted 3 years, Inter Milan 2 years, Real Madrid 3 years. Second spell at Chelsea lasted 2 years and now he has been at Man Utd just over 2 years.
Is his behaviour a way to get himself out of a job he has got bored with? I’d like to think not, but the evidence points that way.
Sacked at Chelsea first time round amongst rumours he fell out with owner Roman Abramovich. Sacked at Real Madrid, amongst rumours he lost the changing room. Sacked at Chelsea again, lost the changing room rumours again. Now rumours he has fallen out with record signing Paul Pogba. A summer spat with Anthony Martial. He made a public accusation that the board didn’t back him in the transfer window. Commenting over the summer that his current squad isn’t good enough and that he is not happy with it. How is that supposed to instill good positivity amongst the players?
Has Mourinho fell out of love with football? Are we looking at the end of a great career for one of the games greatest managers? I really hope I’m wrong. The game needs characters like him and it would be such a shame. For his sake I would like to see Man Utd push Man City this year. They have the squad to do it and they have the manager. Can the ‘Special One’ get his sparkle back and push Guardiola all the way? Personally I hope so.