Snippet of the Situation: –
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United are currently sharing an ordinary festive period in football. Management wise, the Portuguese doesn’t look at his best and it is perfectly reflected on the performances in the last two weeks. The fact of the matter is they are now way behind in the title race is raising this thing. This all after being considered by many as City’s only challengers to get the league.
Below we discuss whether his previous 3 to 4 press conferences (pre or post-match) during the Christmas games affected players or not. His blame diversion and transfer fee talks of other clubs is certainly weird in a situation where his team had to play 4 games in 11 days.
Firing Line Candidates: –
Well, Mourinho has a history of not leaving anyone from the match officials’ department whenever he loses or drop points. December has been full of that. This goes back to the Manchester Derby when he claimed a challenge on Ander Herrera as a blatant penalty. In hindsight, the critical thing was that the Spaniard has a reputation of diving. So, in the moment, referee thought not enough contact to go down. Whether that decision was to blame for United’s loss to City is baffling to think.
Some of Jose’s tactics in that game was just atrocious. He made his team to sit back in a must win home game against their fierce city rivals. Just goes to show he ain’t trusting players to recover from attacking runs against fast counter-attacking opponents.
Rolling on to the Bristol City game, United lost 2-1 at Ashton Gate with Mourinho fielding his decent eleven. Post-match, the manager said his players were not up to the task. That was fine but his blame for players continued in the game against Leicester. Rightly so, he was frustrated with the way his forwards couldn’t score more to finish off 10-men Foxes.
He labelled his team’s performance as “childish” after Chris Smalling got injured and no one took responsibility to cover for him when Harry Maguire was free far post. Sometimes, in these situations, the manager has to step up and remind his players to protect the injured player. Instead of that, Jose took the media route to blame his players. It might have affected some of his players’ morale. Although, the leader of defence on that day should have done better to communicate. It is a two-way thing when it comes to on the pitch issue.
Transfer spending comments: –
The weird thing came about on the boxing day post-Burnley game. Mourinho claimed that “300m” spending is not enough to challenge Manchester City. He pointed out that the league leaders spend money on fullbacks which are generally paid for strikers. He might not have a valid point in this because the way Pep plays football, the fullback position is one of the most important one.
Kyle Walker has one of the best recovery runs from attacking positions, we haven’t seen Benjamin Mendy yet but he’s good too. So, the fact that Pep demanded Walker and Mendy’s presence in his team for whatever money is justifiable.
Mourinho obviously is frustrated by the high standards set by his Manchester compatriot and is feeling the heat. If we look at Manchester United’s spending spree, they haven’t done bad in terms of competing with City on that note. They have spent a net of 348m Euros in transfers since the arrival of Jose. In the same period, City have net spend of 331m Euros on transfers since the arrival of Guardiola.
Now, if we balance it out, United have spent 17m Euros more than City in the last two summer windows. So, this talk of City just paying money and winning things is true to some clubs but not for Man United and Mourinho.
These comments of deflecting his own and his team’s bad performances are not helping the cause. It is either diminishing his confidence on players or just sucking out belief of players in that United dressing room. It shows that he is not happy with the current crop of players, which on paper is a good squad.
Formation dilemma: –
In all of this, the manager has almost forgotten it seems to get his formation and personnel right. Since the arrival of Pogba post-injury, he has played him in a midfield two with Nemanja Matic. While we know Matic is happy to drop very deep to protect the centre-backs, it is forcing Pogba to be tied in his roles and not go further forward to affect games.
Especially in the game against Southampton, Pogba just sprayed passes to the fullbacks and stayed 45 yards away from goal. That is not 90m quids were paid for. In the absence of Lukaku against Everton, Mourinho did put Pogba in the attacking lineup. The Frenchman reveled in the role. This begs the question as to when Lukaku comes back, will he be playing in that attacking role. It doesn’t seem so that way. This decision looked more like a force-handed one from the manager.
In addition to all this, why is there an alternate option when it comes to picking between Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford? Why can’t both of them play in both wings and form a good bond with the striker. This chop and change always brings instability and understanding is difficult to create. Jesse Lingard has been doing well so he might fight the number 10 spot with Juan Mata. But, oh wait, Mata plays on the right with no pace. This doesn’t make sense at all.
The interchanges almost every game especially between Martial and Rashford is halting both players’ development. Instead of complaining and uselessly speaking about other things which are not in control of him, Mourinho should control what he has and manage the players. He has a good squad with enough funds paid on them in transfers.
We know what Jose is all about, terrific management of players and taking best out of them in tough situations. At Manchester United, with his record of comments and complaints, it looks like he doesn’t wanna do that. He is deflecting on the pitch performances to other people clearly shows he is struggling to find alternatives on the training ground. Whatever the reason is, if this goes on till next summer, we might see a reaction from the United board.
This is going in the direction of what happened to Mourinho at Chelsea in 2015. The complaints, the uncertainties, the deflections of blames, etc. If the Portuguese does continue to work like this, we might not see him as a manager of Manchester United by 2019.
Article by Mizgan,
Twitter – @mizgans