Much has been said about Mourinho’s tenure at United. Some even consider it to be his dream job. Three years into it, the fans are still unsure where the club is heading. The board members are running out of patience as well. Moreover, Mourinho has a daunting task to bridge the gap between him, the board and most importantly, the fans.
Mourinho’s infamous third season syndrome has also kicked in. Many thought that this time it would be a bit different but, history seems to be repeating itself. Although Mourinho has enjoyed a stellar career and has been at the very pinnacle of the game, yet the discord between his teams has plagued his success over the years. This eventually ends with either the sacking of the manager following a string of unsatisfactory displays or the manager leaving with mutual consent disrupting the whole progress he has made over his time in charge. Another manager fills in, with the fear of facing the same consequences and the vicious cycle continues.
One of the many reasons for Sir Alex’s success was his potential to cut off the troublemakers whilst maintaining the dressing room in check, an ability Jose is yet to master.
Finishing the pre-season with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses, and a whole lot of controversies, Jose admitted that only Martial has been fined since he has taken over at United and the other first team players were rested due to the recently concluded World Cup in Russia. There were speculations about Pogba, about leaving the club yet again as winning the World Cup definitely raised his stocks, and it wouldn’t have been a surprise had he left United, considering who he is managed by.
Now, Jose, who is famous for rifts with his star players, didn’t manage the situation very effectively. Martial, who wasn’t selected for the French World Cup winning squad, due to lack of playing time and obviously sub-par performances, was fined heavily for attending to his wife and child. That will surely create animosity between the manager and his players.
The belief has vanished, relationships will also be damaged.
Three months into the season, United have already lost 3 of the first 10 games. To give this stat some context it is worth mentioning that Manchester United lost 7 games in the season 17/18 which is the same amount as Tottenham Hotspur who came in at 3rd position. Halfway through the Champions League group stage, they stand at 4 points from 3 matches and might just get lucky and go through the group stages. That is the current state of the club. Old Trafford, which used to be the team’s fortress, can be heard with boos and chants of “attack, attack, attack”.
While Mourinho is to be blamed for the bland performances and results, one cannot ignore the fact that Ed Woodward and the board of directors didn’t trust him with transfers he wanted.
Yes, this can be countered with the example of Pochettino. Spurs didn’t sign any players this season but you rarely see any of their players moaning about the style of play. This is a big vote of confidence in itself for the manager. Post SAF era, the club is more fascinated by the financial and business side of the club rather the stability in the process of recruiting coaches and players.
Some may argue that finally, Martial is banging in goals because he learned his lesson the hard way. Whatever the reason might be, one thing different from when the season started is the grit and eagerness to win matches. The only way out of this misery for Jose is to win the league or UEFA Champions League, which seems highly unlikely at this stage. Anything less than that will probably be the end of the road for Jose Mourinho.