We’ve all been in toxic relationships – with ourselves if no one else. And not just because we’re morons, though of course that’s part of it, but because occasionally we’re offered hope that we’re on a journey, at the conclusion of which awaits our best self. Over the next 10 months, we will learn whether or not this applies to us and Jose Mourinho.
We were a disgraceful mess when he peeled us off Wembley’s sticky dancefloor, and it’s hard to argue that anyone but him could’ve dragged us from where we were then to where we are now, via two more trophies and some definitive party-pooping. Those are the good bits.
But, on the other hand: How is it possible to have such talented attackers attack so badly? How can it be thought that that a sequence which goes Robson, Ince, Keane, Scholes, Carrick continues with… Matic? How many centre-backs does a manager need and how many does he need to buy? How many times will the same ones be allowed to let us down at crucial moments? Why are some players indulged despite doing nothing for months, and others punished for a single bad half? What is to be gained in taking smug, public joy when talented youngsters underperform? What is the strategy for team-building, beyond “buy the best and most famous player available”? And don’t get me fucking started on the need to take readies off RT.
Yet, every now and again we get a glimpse of old Mourhino, the Mourinho who may or may not have hid in the laundry basket, who may or may not have caused the Icelandic ash cloud, and who absolutely definitely held the ball away from Steven Gerrard, clad in Marty McFly life-preserver. Most notable was the purple patch around Christmas which culminated in a devastatingly masterful rinse of Antonio Conte, but the rest of the time he’s mainly carped, whined and blamed about the cursed life which has forced to manage the famous Man United. How upsetting for a person.
That’s not to say he should be delighted with things that are not delighting. His squad is unacceptable and his bosses are wankers – these two things are linked – and City winning stuff is a nause. But his job is to make the best of it regardless, which means entertaining and amusing whatever the circumstance, not accepting defeat as long as everyone is sure it’s not his fault. I dare say most of us lot are pissed off by the same things that are pissing him off, except we’re spending thousands not earning millions, and can’t just fuck off when we’ve had enough.
So now the time has come: Another season like the two we’ve just had and he’ll have a problem. Because much as we can always find reasons to defend him, celibacy will eventually seem a better option than another hate fuck.
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