Jose Mourinho is, without a doubt, one of the greatest coaches in world football and when he retires, he will rightly go down in the annals of footballing history as a managerial great. When the self-proclaimed “special one” joined the club back in May 2016, Mourinho said that he’d always felt some sort of “affinity with Old Trafford” and that he had “always enjoyed a rapport with the United fans”. On paper, the appointment made a great deal of sense to both neutral observers and Manchester United fans alike. Of course, it’s been well-documented that things haven’t quite worked out for the Portuguese manager and in truth, Mourinho can be fairly abrasive at times if things aren’t going his way. But do the problems at Manchester United run far deeper than Jose Mourinho?
Replacing Sir Alex Was and Still Is An Impossible Dream
Sir Alex Ferguson, Fergie or SAF. However you know him, Ferguson was an absolute one-off when it comes to football management and it’s unlikely that we will ever see a manager of his ilk again. Although hindsight is always 20/20, replacing Ferguson was an unachievable aim and despite the fact that the great man himself personally recommended David Moyes, this was undoubtedly the club’s first mistake. It’s hard to place any real blame on Moyes. It was clear that he was out of his depth from day one and simply jumped at the chance to manage the biggest club in the world when given the opportunity. After all, who wouldn’t? It has been suggested in some circles that Sir Alex recommended Moyes on the basis that if the appointment was a failure, it would simply make the 26 years he spent at the club look even more remarkable. This is just utter nonsense and the buck stops with the board when it comes to the string of failed managerial appointments.
Recent Transfer Policy Has Been a Shambles
Jose Mourinho has missed out on a number of players since he took over as manager over three years ago and despite United’s recent troubles, playing for the club is still one of the biggest draws in world football. Thanks to recent bumper sponsorship deals with Adidas and Chevrolet, United are still doing extremely well off the pitch and with this in mind, the club is still extremely competitive on the wage front. With this in mind, Ed Woodward and those above Mourinho in the hierarchical structure need to be held account for failing to land some of Mourinho’s top transfer targets such as Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann. Jose has proven time and time again that he can be successful with the right players at his disposal and it’s clear that those in the boardroom have failed him in his regard.
Key Players Simply Haven’t Pulled Their Weight
Success may be relative but after United recovered from two goals down to defeat Newcastle 3-2 back in October, it felt like the buzz around Old Trafford was back. “United are back to their old ways” some fans proclaimed after Alexis Sanchez sealed a memorable victory in the last minute of the game. However, key contributions from Sanchez, Pogba and more recently Lukaku have been too few and far between during Mourinho’s tenure and some players must surely take a long, hard look at their own form. These so-called “top players” were brought in to do the business on the biggest of stages such as the Champions League. Performing against the likes of Newcastle at home is simply not enough – the fact that United are a massive 33/1 with firms such as Betway, as of November 28, 2018, to land the Champions League trophy in May is an indication of just how far the club has fallen over the last few years and Mourinho can’t shoulder all of the blame for this.
Mourinho Can Still Be a Success At Manchester United
After recently qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Mourinho can now focus on turning the club’s league form around. After a disappointing 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace last time out, United must regroup quickly if they are to have any chance of success this season. For Jose, finishing in the top four has to be the aim and if he can put together a successful run in Europe then he will have a platform to build on for next season. Mourinho undoubtedly brings his own problems to the table – the public criticism of players after the stalemate against Palace was indeed a questionable bit of man-management. However, Mourinho is a born winner and in order to let this side of him flourish, you must let him do his own thing. Let’s hope the board learn this before it’s too late.