Who’s To Blame For Manchester United’s Dip In Form? José Mourinho Or The Players?

Posted: December 28, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Firstly, we have to decide if there is any blame to be attached for anything. Manchester United are currently drawing games they would normally be expected to win but this could be described as just a blip.

Every team, at some stage, goes through a downturn in form and the trick is to make sure it lasts for as short a time possible.

It is also true to say that, in most other seasons of the Premier League era, United’s points tally would be enough to see them top the table, albeit narrowly.

Their ignominious exit from the Carabao Cup was the only real black mark on an otherwise relatively impressive season.

Still to contest the FA Cup and through to the knockout stages of the Champion’s League their second position in the Premier League actually sees them punching above their weight.

On paper, United’s first choice eleven are no better than those of Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs but they do have one big advantage. They have Josë Mourinho who is a better manager/coach than those of the other three teams.

Who else would have the second best defensive record in the Premier League, particularly with a makeshift defence such as United have?


With ageing wingers adapted to play at full back, a donkey of a centre back in Chris Smalling and three more who are injury prone in Jones, Rojo and Bailly, there is only Victor Lindelof who looks like the real deal and he is yet to settle into any kind of form.

So Mourinho has worked a minor miracle in achieving the defensive solidity over the last couple of seasons during which he also had to thank, to a very large extent, his goalkeeper David De Gea, who has kept out many a goalbound effort.

In fact it is this defence which is now letting him down, conceding what he describes as s*** goals, something always likely to happen given the players at his disposal.

This is where the question of blame first rears it’s head. Is it the players fault for not being very good at defending, or is it Mourinho’s fault for selecting them and coaching them.


It is a actually a mixture of both. United’s best centre back, Eric Bailly, is injured and unavailable and, as previously mentioned, Lindelof is still settling in so the options are two out of Smalling, Jones and Rojo. Being biased against Smalling we would plump for Rojo and Jones every time but they are both prone to panic defending and rushes of blood to the head.

This means they need calmer heads around them which, in our humble opinion, rules out Valencia and Young. Not only can’t they defend, they are frequently caught out of position and also frequently play the opposition onside. Not a pair to inspire confidence in the rest of their defence.

When comparing United with City, one of the first items on the agenda with Guardiola was to replace his ageing full backs. At least he had full backs to replace!

United have ageing wingers who they have moved to full back. Now we don’t wish to be accused of teaching any of our elderly relatives how to suck the contents of a birds-nest, but if replacing ageing full backs with new full backs works for the best team in Europe, then it may not be such a bad idea.

The midfield and striking positions should not present any problem as United are blessed with top class players in both areas



Pogba and Matić are both quality players as are Rashford and Martial although the latter two can be a little headstrong and need reeling in from time to time.

Upfront, however, Lukaku is spending too much time trying to impress in areas completely alien to his way of playing and Ibrahimović tends to slow the game down whenever he is on the pitch.

In short, the players appear to be trying their best to carry out the instructions of their manager but are falling short in some areas. It is this which is causing Mourinho to ask for another £300 million to be spent on the team.

Having already spent more than £290 million during his short time at Old Trafford then he has to shoulder some of the blame for United’s current bad run. He cannot blame the players for not being good enough which is, basically, what he is saying. He bought some of them and expressed himself satisfied with the outcome of the last transfer window, so he must have been happy with the rest.

He is now saying the opposite and that he needs much more.

So the answer to the title question is that Mourinho has to take most of the blame. Firstly, because he is the manager and the buck stops with him and secondly because he is changing his tune now that City are disappearing over the horizon.

The players, however, have to stand up and take responsibility for stupid decisions on the pitch which Mourinho can do nothing about.

As fans, we know the playing squad needs improving. We just want to see a team capable of winning the Premier League title in the very near future or, at least, capable of giving City a run for their money.


  1. Bernard says:

    Both are to blame. The manager’s attitude is questionable as are some of his tactics. Somehow I feel Mourinho’s heart is not really with United, certainly not long term. The players need to go back to basics such as passing the ball so that it ends up with a team mate rather than the opposition. Shooting for goal. I suggest practising from 12 yards out with no goal keeper in the way would be a good place to start. Dribbling, it’s not necessary to try and beat all eleven opposition players. Sometimes it may be wise to pass to a team mate, which means passing practice. Ibra needs to be moved on, he’s well past his use by date. We definitely need some real full backs. Apart from that everything is fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Geshi says:

    Mourinho has been a winner all his life, so, who are we to question his tactics even though I’d prefer Sir Alex Ferguson’s brand of football. The entire MU squad is just not consistent enough; great one game and horrible the next. Consistency is key in the Premier league which, currently, only Man City have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bernard says:

      Just because Mourinho has won 25 trophies doesn’t mean that he will continue to win trophies for the rest of his career. Nothing lasts forever, just ask Liverpool and now United. He failed the last time he was at Chelsea, having lost the dressing room. Who’s to say he won’t lose the dressing room at United, which he will if he keeps criticising his players in public. The golden rule in any form of management is not to criticise your subordinates in public. This is management 101 in the 21st century. The players will only take it for so long. The other thing is NOBODY likes a serial whinger, which is what Mourinho is, notwithstanding his former successes as a manager.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Luwisho says:

    Mourinho, Lukaku and Pogba are the people to be blamed coz they felt on top of the world with those cheap and simple wins they got at the start of the season.They thought they had already won the EPL.

    Liked by 1 person

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