How consistent is José Mourinho? More to the point, how consistent can he become?

The general impression is that manager of Manchester United is one of the jobs he has always wanted. Depending upon which is your rag of choice, when he was overlooked by United in favour of David Moyes, he either cried, along with a few million fans, or he wasn’t bothered because he had already decided to go back to Chelsea.

What makes the Chelsea story a little far-fetched is; why would he want to go back? He had already taken the team as far as he could and the only thing left to do with them would have been to win the Champion’s League. I can’t see him going back to a club which fired him just for that purpose.

No, I prefer to think that he wanted the United job and Ed Woodward, not for the first or last time, made a massive error in judgement by appointing Moyes. At that time there was, supposedly, considerable opposition to Mourinho in the Old Trafford boardroom.

Three years and two lame ducks later and that opposition had all but evaporated or had been filed in the “ignore” tray.

So Mourinho eventually got his way. Sacked by Chelsea for a second time with the team in 16th position in the league and having fallen out with the players, the timing may not have seemed ideal to employ him as Manchester United manager but hey, beggars can’t be choosers and United, particularly following the appointment of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, had taken on the role of beggars for sure!

The question now for José is; has he still got what it takes? As the title asks, is this a new era or a false dawn?

The evidence of the last year or so suggests that he was beginning to struggle with Premier League management. Was this because he committed the cardinal sin of going back to a previous club? “Never go back” is advice given to many people in many different walks of life. José Mourinho has either never been given this advice or, if he has, he chose to ignore it.

Whatever the truth it proved to be a mistake but not a very costly one. As is often the case with lucky people, Chelsea sacking him, Guardiola’s appointment and van Gaal’s relative failure all coincided to hand Mourinho the United job on a plate, even if he had to wait for a few months before his appointment was rubber-stamped.

At United he has been able to bring in some of the players he wanted and has been given carte blanche to return United to the top. History says that, if he is to achieve his aims, he will do so within two years because he usually leaves after this period. The feeling is though, that if he can get it right with United, he would like to stay a fair while longer.

The early signs are good and suggest that Mourinho is almost back to his best, which he will need to be if United are to get back to their best. Despite three disappointing defeats in a row the team hit back with a convincing win against the current champions 4-1 at Old Trafford.

This is the form that needs to become the norm. Rotating the team for Europa League and EFL Cup games is fine and gives others a chance but a reasonably settled team needs to be found for the Premier League games.

The majority of Manchester United supporters, armchair and otherwise, wanted José Mourinho as manager. Now they have him and a little patience is required for him to get it just right. Providing the fans bear with him there is no doubt, in my mind, that he will get it just right and sooner rather than later.

When that happens Manchester will have the two best teams in England without question.


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