Why Manchester United were left with no choice but to sack Jose Mourinho
Background Image Via: PixelBay/Mula Miszczu. Used under Creative Commons
Well, there you have it. Manchester United chose to relieve Jose Mourinho of his duties following the damning 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield.
The Red Devils sit a massive nineteen points off Premier League top spot. We're in December. That's just not good enough. The self-proclaimed Special One can have no qualms, in fact, this sacking probably should have happened back in September when it looked as though United were in reverse, rather than a side on the up.
It all starts with the trophies. Let's be honest here, Mourinho was never going to change his style for anyone, not even the biggest club in the country. His defensive-minded football is all well and good when trophies are delivered, hence why the Old Trafford faithful were relatively happy following a debut season that brought in both the EFL Cup and Europa League. As soon as silverware dries up, fans' patience starts to wear thin...
Last season's FA Cup defeat to Chelsea, coupled with a second-placed Premier League finish, masked the problems that lie deep within United. The club, from top to bottom, is in a shambles. As is always the case, though, it's the manager who often falls on his sword.
While it's fair to say the players have underperformed, it was Mourinho's job to encourage, motivate and aid them on their way. That, simply put, hasn't happened. How many players can you name who have improved under the Portuguese? Jesse Lingard maybe? Chris Smalling perhaps? Possibly Luke Shaw (but only after two years of conflict)? That's as long as the list goes...
I think it's telling that, if you look at this squad with say, a Pep Guardiola or a Jurgen Klopp at the helm, they'd be title contenders. Paul Pogba would flourish under an attack-minded manager, as would the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and several others. Just imagine what these world-beaters would do under an attack-minded coach who loves to work with young players. Someone like Mauricio Pochettino, anyone?
Anyway, let's save speculation for a later date as it looks as though United have a plan in place to employ an interim manager until season's end, and let's get back to bashing Mourinho... You look at his signings, and having spent around £500million on shiny new toys, how many have them can you say have been successful?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was good for a season, as was Eric Bailly and Nemanja Matic. Paul Pogba has been mightily inconsistent, Victor Lindelof average, as for Fred, who's he again? Let's not even talk about Alexis Sanchez or Henrikh Mkhitaryan; both of whom flopped massively. Why would the board give this man more money to spend? When you look at it, the lack of signings over the summer makes perfect sense - although if the club weren't going to back him, they should have relieved Mourinho of his duties on the spot.
All-in-all, the time was right. Has Mourinho lost his magic? Who knows, but towards the end of his tenure upon Salford Quays, he looked like a man who didn't want to be there. No doubt he'll move elsewhere when the next, attractive job opportunity arrives, and he'll be gunning to prove Manchester United wrong.