Just before the international break, fans of Manchester United grew uneasy with coach Jose Mourinho after he questioned everyone affiliated to the glorious club. The Portuguese tactician in his own words said:
“There is something that I call ‘football heritage’, the last time Manchester United won the Champions League, which didn’t happen a lot of times, was in 2008.”
“Since reaching the final in 2011, in 2012, United have gone out in the group phase. The group was almost the same group we had this season, Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati from Romania. Out in the group phase.”
“In 2013, out at Old Trafford in the last 16, I was on the other bench. In 2014, out in the quarterfinal. In 2015, no European football. In 2016, comes back to European football, out in the group phase, goes to Europa League and on the second knockout, out of the Europa League.”
“In 2017, play Europa League, win Europa League with me and goes back to Champions League. In 2018, win the group phase with 15 points out of a possible 18 and loses at home in the last 16.”
“So in seven years with four different managers, once not qualify for Europe, twice out in the group phase and the best was the quarterfinal.”
“This is football heritage and if you want to go to the Premier League, the last victory was ’12-13 and in the four consecutive seasons United finish seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth.”
As painful as this may sound, it is true and a reality check for all Red Devils faithful. No doubt the former Chelsea boss got his tactics all wrong against Sevilla which irked a lot of supporters. It would however be tantamount to absolute deception to oneself to deny that Jose has brought back some joyous moments to the Theatre of Dreams since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Many football lovers do not approve of Mourinho’s approach and tactics but it is worth recalling that not everyone will play heavy metal football or tiki-taka. Jose has his style of approach to games especially the big ones and always finds a way to get things done as he had previously recorded with FC Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
This season, Manchester United currently lies second on the Premier League log and as well as in the games between top six teams with 1.44 points per game with the supposedly ‘boring’ football. United have scored more goals, won more points and are on course to finish highest since Fergie time ended for good. A possible points haul of 82 is realistic for United this season, which ordinarily in other seasons, would have been enough to win the league crown.
Jose currently has a 58.51% win rate as per managerstats.co.uk, with the men in red losing just two games at Old Trafford this season, breaking an unbeaten run of 37 games under Ferguson’s watch.
After watching his antics with the press before the big games most recently, Chelsea and Liverpool – where he took jibes at Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp and the outcomes, the bashing he gave the players after the 2-0 win over Brighton in the FA Cup quarter final, it is safe to say Jose Mourinho is back.
He is back to winning games before they are played, he is back to the reverse psychology we all knew him for in the early 2000s which brought him to limelight although fans may be scared he is losing the dressing room. Paul Pogba – after the Liverpool game, showed the world it is a big fat lie. Luke Shaw’s case – even though Mourinho was harsh in his post-match remarks, is inevitable. The English man has been unlucky with injuries and not put up enough fight to convince the coach as the likes of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Chris Smalling and recently Scott McTominay amongst others did.
Whilst it might seem Manchester United are at the nadir presently, the converse is the case. Jose has improved the team from having a lot of players without fight, without the right attitude, and no results to a fine team that has won three major trophies in his short stint and only needs time to gel and play the ‘Mourinho way’.
The 55-year old said he is not a coward and will not run away. You bet he won’t, rather he would show the world – as he has done in the past, just why he is the ‘Special One’ and give to us all the taste of the old wine to savour.
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