A draw home to newly promoted Wolves, a 3-1 loss away to West Ham, and sandwiched in between a League Cup exit after losing on penalties to Championship side Derby County- it has certainly been a bad week for Manchester United.
Of course, the problems started as early as the Red Devils’ preseason tour. A manager who keeps on complaining about his squad, a Chief Executive who happens to have different ideas of how things should be done, a star player who keeps on inviting rumors with controversial comments- this has been the epitome of Man United’s season so far.
For all the financial success and social media profile the owners and administration rave about the most successful club in England is looking nothing like a big team. The off pitch success and brand of the club may still have been unaffected, in fact it’s growing more than ever, but the style of play that made so many fans fall in love with the club is no longer there. There is no fighting spirit, no togetherness, and no desire to win. As long as the football is concerned dull is the world to describe United.
When it comes to the soap opera like alteration between the manager and players there is nothing dull about that. The likes of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku have come out to question the club’s style of play in public, something Mourinho wouldn’t have been happy about.
An Instagram post has further deteriorated the relationship between Pogba and Mourinho (although explanations showed that it was a misunderstanding). You’ve probably seen the video of the two having an exchange in training.
While lack of wins and the fact that Man United are far behind the likes of Man City, Liverpool, and Chelsea (teams who not only are putting scintillating performances and getting results) is a problem- the difference of opinions in the dressing room makes things a little more complicated.
Tactical solutions or the acquisition of new players will no longer be seen enough to solve the deep rooted problems that lay at the club. Firing Mourinho can’t be a solution all by itself.
What happens when players like Pogba don’t like the next manager either? Will you keep on changing managers until the squad is happy? What type of message does it send for current and future players to refrain from controversial comments? Ed Woodward has said the club still believes in the manager, but they are not showing it. Also refusing to sign players the manager wanted doesn’t exactly say I trust you.
It just seems the Man United officials are more concerned about financial gains, marketability, and the number of social media followers. But what’s the importance of having all of that if it can’t be translated into success on the pitch. That means challenging for the Premier League and Champions League trophies, not being satisfied with a League Cup trophy or a second place finish.
Mourinho’s statement that “no player is bigger than the club” resonates with all fans. But it is also true that the manager is not bigger than the club. Mourinho has gone out and talked about Man United’s history of losing in the Champions League last 16 and ‘Football Heritage’ in a bid to deflect blames from him.
As the weeks go by it is looking more likely that Mourinho won’t be the manager for long. However, getting rid of him doesn’t solve all of the problems.
Man United have made far too many mistakes regarding managerial appointments and player singings after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. The club needs a strategy that will enable it to have long term success with a clear and eye-catching style of play and players who are happy to wear the famous shirt and aspire to become a legend.
Written by Brook Genene
Follow Brook on Twitter @brookge
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