Is Mourinho finished at Manchester United?
With Manchester United relinquishing further points against Wolves last weekend, crashing out of the League Cup on penalties to Derby County and a dust-up with Paul Pogba during training caught by Sky cameras, questions resurfaced regarding manager Jose Mourinho's future.
Resurfaced being the operative word. Last season, United's biggest downfall was their tendency to drop points against inferior opposition while Mourinho also criticised Luke Shaw publicly and benched Pogba.
Losing games against teams such as Huddersfield and Newcastle does not keep you in the title race, regardless of Manchester City's ridiculous form.
This season, the Reds are falling into the same bad habit, dropping points against Brighton and Wolves. Yes, the players must take responsibility but every team's performance hinges on the manager's ability to organise, communicate and inspire.
Throughout Mourinho's United tenure, debate's raged regarding his style. His overtly defensive philosophy isn't the "United way." It's all well and good when you're winning. When the results aren't going your way, fans grow restless. Broadcasters make a point of capturing fan chants at Old Trafford encouraging the squad to 'Attack, attack, attack' and 'shoot'.
Mourinho's tactics hinder United's attacking prospects. Players such as Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial struggle under him. The latter was benched last January in favour of the former. He was on a three-match scoring run at the time.
In his last year with Everton, Romelu Lukaku tallied 25 Premier League goals. One would expect him to exceed that coming into a top-six team of United's calibre. Instead, the Belgian managed just 16, albeit with a further 11 in other competitions. Regardless, his output from directly in front of goal in the league amounted to half Mo Salah's production from the wing.
United lacked any creativity whatsoever for long stretches, last term, speaking volumes about a side containing Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
Jose Mourinho rarely smiles at United. Now, his negative attitude may be rubbing off on his players. Nobody can argue with the fact Mourinho was a great manager. That said, he's not looked the same since his ill-fated final campaign at Chelsea. The charming arrogance devolved into bitter paranoia.
It's worth mentioning, though, the greatest face criticism time and again only to prove their detractors wrong. Sir Alex Ferguson didn't win a title over three campaigns from 2003-06. Arsenal and none other than Jose Mourinho's Chelsea dominated. Many speculated the ageing Scot should call time on his career. He responded by winning three Premier League titles on the trot and a Champions League to boot.
United haven't tasted Premier League success in five years. The Portuguese may already be living on borrowed time. He may have it in him to turn his fortunes around but the question remains, will the United board, pressured by the fans, want to risk another barren season on the off chance Mourinho will change? Or should they turn to a fresh face to revitalise the squad? Recent results and events suggest time isn't on the Special One's side.