When Manchester United hired Jose Mourinho, there was only one thing on their mind: returning the Premier League title to it’s ancestral Old Trafford home. From the early days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, it was crystal clear what United wanted.
That’s why David Moyes lasted less than a season in charge and got sacked. Hiring Mourinho was the safest bet for United as the Portuguese had a history of winning everywhere that he worked. He was therefore expected to do the same at Old Trafford.
Unlike David Moyes, Jose Mourinho was highly supported in the market, bringing in exciting signings. Paul Pogba, Hennrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, Eric Bailley, Victor Lindelof all came in with a view to giving the Portuguese the right platform to win the title.
Two years down the road, the title has seen its way to destinations other than Old Trafford. There’s a real sense of disappointment in the red half of Manchester with the title seemingly nowhere near.
In his first season at the club, Mourinho’s troops finished a distant 6th while in his second season, United ended 2nd, though 19 points behind City and never really looked geared up for a genuine shot at the title.
Some of the football they played was completely uninspiring, frequently choosing to sit back, relinquish possession and wait to pounce on opportunities on the counter and set pieces, even at home. The Old Trafford hierarchy knew the type of football the man they were hiring was married to, but nothing like this was expected.
His public criticism of some of his players was something he could have clearly avoided. As a result, the biggest victims of which, Luke Shaw and Mkhitaryan felt totally dispirited and detached.
The Armenian jumped at the opportunity to leave, transferring to Arsenal in January in a deal that involved Alexis Sanchez. Mourinho was reportedly involved in bust-ups with Paul Pogba who was eventually dropped from the starting XI.
Another player to fall out with the manager was Anthony Martial who lost his place to Alexis Sanchez. That has continued this season, with Mourinho publicly critisizing the Frenchman on the club’s US tour.
He told MUTV:
“Anthony Martial has the baby and after the baby is born – beautiful baby, full of health, thank God – he should be here and he is not here.”
Mourinho has now extended criticism towards his bosses. During the club’s, tour of the US, Mourinho expressed his unhappiness towards the club over delayed transfer activity.
“One thing is what I want and another is what is going to happen,” reported the Daily Mirror.
He continued, “I would get two more. If you invest well, is better than to have it in the bank, because the interests are very low.” ” I gave a list to my club [of] five names a few months ago. “
Despite being very clear about the need to strengthen the team more, for some reason, United were not able to make any further additions from the ones they made earlier in the summer.
He was utterly disappointed and made it known to his United hierarchy after his side’s 2-1 win over Leicester on Friday. Speaking to Sky Sports, Mourinho said of United’s transfer business:
“I had my plans for many months and I find myself in the beginning of the Premier League, with the market closed, I find myself in a situation which I did not think I was going to be in.
A vividly unhappy Mourinho continued:
“I think it will be the last time I speak about it. It’s finished, the market is closed and no more talk about it.”
He went on to say the it looks like he was more of a head coach than a manager.
Yes, the Portuguese could not recruit the way he had wanted, but the truth of the matter is that United have clearly stood by their manager in his two years, going into the third. It was during this time that they spent the highest transfer fees on a single player, Paul Pogba and followed that up with another huge money signing in Romelu Lukaku.
Perhaps there is growing frustration at the club, so much so that they are no longer prepared to spend money for the sake of it, just because the manager wants to.
It could also be that they are beginning to realise that Mourinho just might not be the man to return them to the top, contrary to what they had hoped. Despite a low key summer, Jose Mourinho has the players to work with to even win the league if he uses them to their full potential.
Paul Pogba is a World Cup winner and is capable of carrying the team on his shoulders. His performance in Friday’s opener against Leicester City is testament to that. Add Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Lingard, Matic, Bailley, De Gea, Valencia, Fred and others, Mourinho can surely work his magic to steer United to the top of the league come May.
Therefore, other than mourning and lamenting, Jose Mourinho must get down to work, get his team together, fight like mad to bridge the gap between his team and their noisy neighbours and win the league they so desperately desire.
Fighting with players and bosses will not help his cause. It creates a cloud of gloom above the club and if he doesn’t stop it, he will find himself sacked before he knows it.