Following on with our RoM Contributors, here’s another piece written from a Red who isn’t me, which should be fairly obviously a few paragraphs in!

I have one observation I’d like to make ahead of tonight’s game with Inter, and one fairly controversial view on the topic of Mourinho as a future United manager to share with you.

First, the observation. I am scared senseless by tonight’s game. Terrified. We played Inter off the park in the San Siro, but without a goal to show for it we are hugely vulnerable to the “nick-an-away-goal-and-defend-for-our-lives” strategy. If any team is capable of scoring an early goal and then defending it then it is an Italian team managed by TNSSO.

Our defence has been pretty jittery recently. Spurs, Blackburn, Newcastle and Fulham could all have scored more than they did, and there was a concerning combination of individual errors and lack of conviction in our defending.

I haven’t seen Evra run as ragged as he was by Lennon since his first few games for the club. EVDS presented Newcastle with the first goal at St James Park and almost got caught out by Johnson at Fulham – that’s how easy it is to go 1-0 down tonight.

O’Shea was lucky not to be sent off against Spurs. Rio certainly isn’t at his commanding best. Thank God, then, for Vida, who has been flawless throughout.

Onto the Mourinho management point. Scott has made his views very clear on this issue, and his analysis of Mourinho’s track record is entirely accurate. But, but. But Mourinho might be the ideal interim manager, the ideal person to take over for a couple of seasons immediately on Ferguson’s departure.

Finished throwing things at the screen? Still reading? OK then, bear with me.

I will go on record and say that I think United would be barking mad to appoint anyone other than Martin O’Neill. That is my considered opinion which I have held for about 5 years, and I will justify it in a later post if necessary. However, there is an argument to say that nobody is capable of succeeding as Fergie’s immediate successor.

The next manager will inherit a football club (as opposed to a business) that is built around Fergie. Around his personality, his beliefs, his habits, his strengths and (whisper it) his weaknesses. With Fergie’s trusted lieutenants in charge of all sorts of important and secondary roles. The next manager will also inherit a club whose business model (and this is the reality, however much we all hate it) requires success to support its finances.

So on the one hand, there needs to be a period where the club weans itself off Fergie, and learns to function without him in his office from 6am every day. Where the lieutenants take charge of their areas, and the players get used to Fergie not being around. This will be best done without the added pressure of media scrutiny.

And whilst all this is going on, the team need to keep winning, regardless of what is going on around them. They need to for their sakes, for our (the fans’) sakes and for the sake of the business model.

Mourinho’s weaknesses are many. A poor record in the transfer market, no interest in youth players, less than enthralling tactics. Well, he shouldn’t need to venture into the transfer market with the squad we will have, he will have the best crop of youth players for a generation coming through and the infrastructure in place to continue that conveyor belt (no £10m signing of Spurs scouts). And the football United have been playing this season has been on the efficient side of exciting – not hearing too many complaints.

But what he undeniably did at Chelsea was take an already strong group of players and make them win things. At the same time his media antics focussed everyone’s attention on himself and away from his players and the internal chaos at Chelsea – he took all the pressure on himself. Take tonight’s game as an example of those talents continuing – where in the papers this morning did you read a headline about Inter’s defensive crisis? That’s right – in a sentence at the end of paragraph six in particularly small font.

So for a maximum of two seasons, immediately on Fergie’s departure, he might be the ideal candidate. Then we could bring in the guy who will be in charge for the next 20 years (Martin O’Neill) in an atmosphere of considerably less pressure and give him a real chance to make his mark on the club. And if that doesn’t give you comething to discuss to take your minds off the tension of the next few hours, nothing will..

Rich, Penguin United




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