Firstly, we have to start this little monologue with the assertion that we think José Mourinho is doing an OK job at Manchester United. It isn’t perfect but we don’t think we could have reasonably expected much more out of the first two seasons in charge.

We were happy with the three trophies in his first season, even if none of them were “A list”. We appreciated that the team would slide down the table somewhat in their quest for Europa League glory so the sixth place finish was acceptable, particularly as the winning of Big Vase meant automatic qualification for The Champion’s League.

The following season saw an improvement in league form and finish but very little, if anything, else. Second place was a decent ending to the season but didn’t mask the fact that United were 19 points behind City.

This season has seen Mourinho’s men stutter dramatically from the offset. A scrappy win against Leicester was followed by two defeats before a win at Burnley seemed to restore some order and form.

As is always the case at United, the prophets of doom who masquerade as “supporters” were calling for the manager’s head. They didn’t, as usual, offer up any alternative they just want Mourinho out. Three trophies and a Premier League runner-up in two seasons and that still isn’t good enough for the United “fans” who only really support the team when they are winning.

So, having already looked at Laurent Blanc and Zinedine Zidane as possible, realistic replacements and with Zidane recently telling a Spanish TV station that he will return to coaching “very soon”, we wondered if either of them are likely to pitch up at Old Trafford in the near future.

Zinedine Zidane

Replacing Mourinho at United may be an ambition but he would do well to wait a while

Mourinho’s future, in fairness, doesn’t appear to be in any doubt as far as the board and true United fans are concerned. Yes he has players who aren’t helping the cause, whether that be deliberate or not is debatable but he, as manager, needs to sort it out.

If that means selling prima donnas like Pogba and Martial then so be it. The only circumstances under which Mourinho should leave United at present are if the board or, to be more precise, Ed Woodward, undermine his position.

If they are really keeping players against the manager’s will then he has to resign. If they are really refusing funds to buy the players he wants, despite stating that they have £100 million available to spend, then he has to resign. He cannot remain as manager of Manchester United if he is continually being blindsided by his own generals.

The problem here is that, if he does resign, would anybody be prepared to take over with the same conditions? Would Zidane, for example, be quite happy to keep Pogba and Martial? Would he actually be able to get more from them? He may think so and may be happy to work with them.

The same may apply to Laurent Blanc but they both need to remember that if Woodward wants to keep Martial and doesn’t want to buy an ageing central defender then he will get his way.

These may be players and positions which a new manager is quite happy with but it won’t be too long before a difference of opinion is rearing it’s head and the manager ends up disappointed at not getting a player he requested or still having a player he doesn’t want. It is only a matter of time.

Of course the introduction of a Director of Football, something we first advocated back in 2013 in an article for HITC, would go a long way to solving these issues as Woodward would then be forced take a back seat and support his management team.


Edwin van der Sar becomes one of the first to rule himself out of becoming the first Director of Football at Old Trafford

One man who won’t be taking up the position is former goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar who has ruled himslef out of the running.

Let’s hope this position is filled sooner rather than later and maybe then Mourinho can start getting in players HE wants and shifting the players HE doesn’t want.


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