Mourinho Has To Concentrate On Manchester United, Not Manchester City Or The Rest

Posted: December 17, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Mind games have rarely won football games. Sir Alex Ferguson once famously got under the skin of Kevin Keegan and his comments were widely attributed to United managing to chase down the twelve points lead Newcastle had at the top of the Premier League at the time.

The same would never happen to Pep Guardiola. He is more experienced than Keegan was, he has won more as a manager than Keegan had. He is certainly more street-wise than Keegan. Yes, he will occasionally rise to the bait but he would never let it affect his team’s performances on the pitch.

So the build-up to the last Manchester derby was, as usual, all about Mourinho. He was so intent on getting a rise out of his opposite number that he got his tactics completely wrong for the game.

In an attempt to influence the referee, he accused City players of diving, he said that only a puff of wind was required in order for them to go down.

As is also usual, Guardiola kept his countenance until after the match which, as we all know, City won 1-2. Answering his critics when the game is over and has been won is admirable but totally unnecessary.

If Mourinho is to concentrate his efforts on the personalities involved in the big games rather than actually trying to win the game by being better on the pitch then he will always have a battle on his hands.

His team has come off worst again in this one, just as it did when he was manager of Chelsea and playing Liverpool in the Champion’s League. Just as it did when he played Barcelona in the same competition, at Stamford Bridge.

So the only possible conclusion to draw from his attempt at mind games is that, in general, they don’t work.

He is a good enough manager to set up a team to win any given game. He is certainly good enough to set them up not to lose. So why does he insist on the mind games which have been proven not to work?

Now he just needs to accept that it is highly unlikely City will slip up and relinquish their eleven points lead. They are not Newcastle United managed by Kevin Keegan!

So the logical approach now is to consolidate second place and make sure that Chelsea don’t catch them and try and win one or two of the cups, (again).

Those would be achievements which would surpass anything he did last season because of the sixth place finish in the Premier League. Yes, he won two ‘B’ trophies so even second place, an FA Cup and a decent run in the Champion’s League would eclipse last season.

He needs to make sure that the teams behind him don’t catch him, not make sure that the team, so far above him, is caught, because it won’t happen.

The message to Mourinho is a simple one. Get your injured players back as soon as possible, buy Griezmann and a defender in the January transfer window. Get the team on the training ground and practice passing the ball to each other, rather than giving it to the opposition.

Forget the mind games when playing Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea or City and just don’t lose those games. Win them and second place is virtually guaranteed, draw them and there is still a good chance, but lose them and second place will go elsewhere.

Forget about every other team until they are due to be played and concentrate 100% on Manchester United.

We agree that it is a hard job but that is why these men get paid so much money to take them on. Only Pep Guardiola is capable and talented enough to make the job look very easy when he gets it right.

Mourinho needs to focus on making the United job look easy. Fergie managed it a few times, so it can be done, it just needs the right application.


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