Did Manchester United Get José Mourinho At The Right Time Or Too Late?

Posted: November 9, 2016 in Chelsea, European Football, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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José Mourinho appears to handle failure in the same way as he handles success. The success is well known and has been demonstrated on several occasions. It is usually a sullen look, a half smirk of “I knew we would win it” followed by a disappearing act leaving his players to enjoy the limelight while he sneaks off home to be with his family.

For failure take the same sequence but leave out the half smirk. He has yet to perfect a unique reaction to failure because it is still a relatively new experience for him.

Earlier in his career he didn’t know the meaning of the word. He left Porto for Chelsea on a high having led them to unheard of success winning the Portuguese league and the Champion’s league during his tenure.

He went on to great achievements with Chelsea who he only left the first time, reportedly, because of a rift with Roman Abramovich.

From there he went to Inter Milan and won the treble and it seemed as though his star was on an interminable rise.

Although he would never admit it, taking the Real Madrid job was probably a mistake. He had already proven at Chelsea that he was not impressed with football politics and, to an extent, it cost him his job. To then take one of the most politically complicated jobs in football was never going to be easy.

Certainly a challenge and certainly an attractive name to have on his CV it was at Madrid where his first problems with players began to emerge. When games went against them some of the players blamed the fact that Mourinho himself had never been a top class player and therefore didn’t understand the finer points of the game.

Mourinho retaliated by saying that certain players were playing for themselves rather than either him or the club, a reaction which embroiled him in a war of words with some of his team which he was never going to win. It is always easier to dispose of one manager than four or five players, (as Chelsea were also to prove in the not too distant future). His time at Madrid may have come to an end but it had still been a very successful period for the club.

Mourinho had jumped before he could be pushed and rejoined Chelsea where he immediately won the Premier league title. Everything in the garden seemed rosy and Chelsea were looking forward to challenging on all fronts again the following season.

Unfortunately for Chelsea and Mourinho, fate had not read the script. Again, problems with players began to surface as Chelsea started losing games. Mourinho, after a match with Leicester City, famously stated that the players didn’t obey his orders which would explain why they lost. The players, whilst not saying anything publicly, clearly didn’t agree and there were rumblings of discontent among the squad.

On this occasion Roman Abramovich took the only course of action open to him. Mourinho was out of work again but, this time, it would be for longer than usual as there was no club waiting for him and no immediate prospect of a big club sacking it’s manager to accommodate him.

Many people say the job he always wanted was Manchester United. His obvious love for Chelsea was always overshadowed by the fact that they weren’t a gigantic club such as Real Madrid, Inter Milan or Manchester United. José Mourinho’s ego demanded that he be the manager of the biggest club in England and he finally got his wish when the United board backed down on a previous stance whereby, if the press is to be believed, both Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson were against the appointment originally.

After the debacle of the David Moyes reign, followed by the mind numbing boredom of the Louis van Gaal years, neither of the two knights were in much of a position to veto Mourinho again and he was duly offered the job.

The one big difference between this appointment and the others involving Mourinho is that this one came on the back of failure. He had left Chelsea under a cloud with major doubts about his man-management skills, (or lack of them), being aired by many so-called experts.

The invincible one, the untouchable one, the self-annointed “Special One” had suddenly become human. At Madrid it is almost mandatory that the manager has to take on the players at some stage but not at Chelsea, indeed not at any English club. Were there some cracks beginning to show in Mourinho’s armour?

It is still very early in his career as manager of Manchester United but it seems he is determined to continue having a go at some of his players. Maybe he thinks it will improve them, in some cases the stick works better than the carrot. If it does not work then maybe they shouldn’t be at Manchester United. After all, the manager has every right to express his opinions of players irrespective of whether or not the press and/or public agree with him. If the player himself doesn’t have the strength of character to accept a little constructive criticism from his manager then possibly he needs to look elsewhere for employment.

Whatever transpires one thing is for sure. José Mourinho’s time at Manchester United will not be boring, as some people seem to think, it will not be a failure and it will provide some entertainment as well as trophies along the way.

Mourinho is quietly working out how to manage United. He will make the occasional mistake because that is what he does. He will also win things because that is also what he does, but it is what he does best.

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