When Manchester United hired Jose Mourinho in 2016, flair, elegance and style was envisaged.
The Red Devils must have hoped for something close to the glorious Alex Ferguson days. However, after two and a bit seasons, the Portuguese is battling with the exalted seat. United should count their losses and let him go.
It was anticipated; the handwriting was all over. Mourinho’s third season curse loomed ahead of the start of the 2018/19 season. The 55-year-old rarely reaches treble years. After initial success, the inevitable always happens. Fall out with players often the bane.
Mourinho spent 16 months at FC Porto, sensationally winning the treble before moving on to Chelsea in summer 2004. At Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese enjoyed immediate success, delivering back-to-back league titles. In his third season, however, problems mounted. Despite guiding the Blues to the FA and League Cup double, he was sacked four months later.
At Inter Milan, he delivered another treble, yet ended a two-year reign to join Real Madrid. Mourinho then lifted the Copa del Rey with Los Blancos before topping La Liga the following season. However, a failed third campaign meant he left the Santiago Bernabeu, despite signing a new contract just a year earlier.
Although Mourinho won the Premier League in his second spell at Chelsea, he was sacked shortly afterwards. ‘The Special One’ had crumbled once again in his third season.
The script is the same in Manchester. Mr Mourinho guided United to its best-placed finish post-Sir, Alex Ferguson, last season, albeit the crisis is mounting this term. After six matches, the Red Devils are seventh with 10 points.
Following Ferguson’s exit, United’s biggest downfall was the tendency to drop points against the supposedly smaller opposition. That norm seems to have resurfaced. While exiting the League Cup in the hands of second-tier Derby, the Red Devils have lost points to Brighton and Wolves.
A bulk of that enigma falls on Mourinho’s defensive intellect. The Portuguese tactician’s brand knocks off the creative players.
Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, for instance, are struggling to reach previous heights. Old Trafford faithful are yet to heed the genuine predatory Romelu Lukaku. In his last season at Everton, the Belgian tallied a league total of 25 goals. In a red shirt, however, he buried nine fewer.
Mourinho considers himself learned in philosophy, having studied at college and invoking Hegel when propping up his own self-importance.
‘The truth is in the whole’, he quoted, suggesting that the evidence of his managerial greatness lies in his CV, which includes two Champions Leagues and three Premier Leagues. Yet these are relics of an era in which his approach once triumphed, but now look increasingly out-dated.
Yet Mourinho’s sick man-management skill is a bigger issue. His strenuous relationship with Luke Shaw, Juan Mata and Martial almost ruined their careers. Now Paul Pogba is the target. The Frenchman was stripped of the vice-captaincy role.
“The only truth is that I made the decision of Paul not to be the second captain any more but no fall-out, no problems at all, “ Mourinho said after Tuesday’s League Cup exit against Derby.
“The same person that decides that Paul is not the second captain anymore is the same person who decides that Paul was the second captain. Myself. I am the manager, I can make these decisions. No fall-out at all, no problems at all, just one decision that I don’t have to explain.”
More could follow if nothing is done. United should do the right thing, allowing Mourinho to follow his natural course.
Written by Toby Prince
Follow Toby on Twitter @prinzToby
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