Having finished second behind neighbours Manchester City last season, much was expected of Manchester United and Jose Mourinho this term. What has transpired though is the complete opposite as the Red Devils have lost 2 of the 3 games played so far and have registered their worst start to a Premier League campaign since 1992.
The signs were there from the beginnings as a lacklustre transfer window was followed by reports of Mourinho’s growing differences with chief executive Ed Woodward. Key player Paul Pogba is also believed to be unhappy with the Portuguese manager’s playing style and has publicly flirted with a move to Barcelona in the last few days.
While it is still very early days in the season and Mourinho has proven title winning pedigree to his credit, it can no longer be denied that the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss is struggling to cope up with the ever so attractive style of play on show at City, Liverpool and even Chelsea now.
Also, this is Mourinho’s third season at Old Trafford. His record while managing a club for a third straight season is notoriously bad and was on display during his second stint at Chelsea where Roman Abramovich was forced to hand him the sack before Christmas, following an extremely poor start to the season.
After Monday night’s humiliating defeat at home against Tottenham, time is now running out for the 55-year-old. Potential replacements have also been discussed in the media and if his recent interviews are any idea, Mourinho looks like a broken man who might now find it impossible to turn things around at United.
A potential sack could well be around the corner and despite his long list of trophies in the past, Mourinho will certainly find it difficult to land himself a new high-profile job if he is forced to quit.
Here, we list down 5 reasons why Mourinho will do well to call time on his managerial career once he is done with Manchester United:
1. Outdated tactics
There are no doubts about the fact that Mourinho’s pragmatic style of football was quite a hit when he first arrived on English shores with Chelsea. He was hailed as a master tactician after an all-conquering season with Inter Milan and got himself a gig with Real Madrid.
It was during his time at Santiago Bernabeu where the signs of decay first became apparent but Mourinho was still a big enough name to be offered a lucrative return to Chelsea and subsequently landing himself the Old Trafford hotseat. The results have since been half decent but it can no longer be denied that the man has been outclassed in terms of style and tactics by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino.
In fact, Mourinho’s style is so outdated that his go-to men in times of crisis are Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera. Judge for yourself!
2. Frequent player run-ins
Mourinho is known as a manager who is never shy of throwing his players under the bus after a bad result. While it was often masked due to his team’s success, the manager has often been accused of indulging in fights with his players. Right from Iker Casillas at Real Madrid to Juan Mata at Chelsea to Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba at Manchester United now, the Portuguese coach has had his fair share of run-ins.
A player and a manager not being on the best of terms with each other is nothing new in football but the worrying aspect with Mourinho is that he also has a history of destabilising entire dressing rooms before eventually leaving for greener pastures. The fights are now becoming regular than ever and taking a toll on United’s shot at glory.
Sir Alex Ferguson also had a number of public fall-outs with some of the stars of his team but was good enough to ship them out and mould title-winning sides without their presence. Whether Mourinho has it in him to follow in the legendary manager’s footsteps at Old Trafford remains to be seen. Signs are that he is not.
3. Inability to recognise and address his own shortcomings
As already stated, Mourinho is often chastised for throwing his players and excusing himself of all the blame after a negative result. The 52-year-old is a serial accuser and taken digs at referees, opposition managers, lack of funds in transfer market and almost everything else under the sun. What he has never done is admit to his own limitations and address them.
The players do need criticising at times but no footballer is comfortable with his own manager directing regular public jibes at him. Mourinho has done that in the past, continues to do so and will perhaps continue with the practice. Ask Anthony Martial and he will tell you that he would rather play under Sam Allardyce than Mourinho right now!
4. No end to the ‘Third Year Syndrome’
It is common knowledge that the third year of Mourinho’s reign at a club is often his last. Whilst being immensely successful in his first two years, his teams somehow lose all form and play like novices when the third season comes around. One of the primary reasons behind this syndrome is the former Porto manager’s tendency to just focus on the present and turn a blind eye to putting together a solid group of players in place for the future.
Again, his success during the first two years put his third year failings in the shade. Europa League and the League Cup have indeed been secured during his time at United but the general consensus is that Mourinho hasn’t lived up to the hype as the Red Devils are nowhere close to challenging City for the Premier League title and the lesser said about their Champions League aspirations, the better.
Mourinho is now in his third year at United and seems to have lost the plot completely. The one time genius needs to take a hard look at himself and his methods and ultimately take a call on his future.
5. Frankly, punditry suits him
Mourinho made his debut as a full-time pundit during the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia and honestly, he was good at it. With plenty of footballing knowledge and experience in his stride, he should give analysis and punditry a serious shot once his time an Manchester United comes to an end.
Given his outspoken nature and no-nonsense approach to post-match interviews, fans will no doubt line up to hear the man’s views as a neutral expert. If he decides to switch careers, which he should, punditry could be the way forward!