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Jose Mourinho's fears are coming true and it is not good news for Manchester United

Suman Dey
ANALYST
Feature
780   //    21 Aug 2018, 15:15 IST

Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba
Jose Mourinho with Paul Pogba during the Brighton game

What's the fuss?

Jose Mourinho's teams are always built on defence. He believes in the 'do not concede' philosophy which he has mastered and implemented successfully all these years in his managerial career. If you look at his Inter or Chelsea team, their foundations are built on defence. 

When he arrived in the red half of Manchester at a time when the club was gradually entering into the shadows and the aura around Old Trafford was fading, there was a belief among the faithful that under Jose Mourinho, the biggest club in the world will rise up once again from the ashes.

In his first season at United, he won three trophies — The Community Shield, The League Cup, and the Europa League, but the sixth position finish in the league somewhat took the shine away from all those trophies won.

The defence played well throughout while the attack disappointed with a very low percentage of chances to conversion ratio. However, those stats improved significantly in his second season where his side was the third highest goal scorer and the second least conceding side in the Premier League.

Despite those impressive defensive stats in back-to-back seasons, his biggest worry was always the defence.

Image result for smalling and jones
Jones and Smalling have been heavily criticised for their performances

The pair of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling came into the frame during Sir Alex's last few years as United's manager. They were considered as the next Vidic and Ferdinand but those dreams never came true. Jones has been out with injury most of the time and Smalling has been inconsistent in his performances.

Jose bought the pair of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof with the hope of strengthening the United's defence but to his misery, they both are looking like transfer failures.

Lindelof is not being able to adjust to the physical demands of the Premier League and is often being bullied off the ball while Bailly despite his physical nature, looks causal most of the times which made Jose Mourinho bench him in the second half of the last season.

Why Jose was bemused

It is no secret that Jose wanted a central defender in the January transfer market. The visionary and the tactical genius he is, he predicted the possibility of a defensive calamity in the upcoming season and there were rumours that he submitted a probable list of players to Ed Woodward, executive vice chairman, for this summer which included the likes of Harry Maguire, Toby Alderweireld or Jérôme Boateng.

Image result for harry maguire
Harry Maguire was heavily linked to a move to Old Trafford throughout the summer

Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward were at loggerheads during the entire preseason and Mourinho's frustrations were clearly visible in his post-match press conferences after his side's poor display in the ICC tournament.

Why is the downfall inevitable now

United lost
United lost at the Amex for two consecutive seasons

After the transfer market closed and United failed to secure the services of any top class defender, there was a sense of negatively around Old Trafford about how the season will pan out.

Though United won their first match against Leicester at home, the away side was far better and created more chances and could have easily carved out something from that match.

But luck ran out for Manchester United in their second game against Brighton who is known for their compactness under Chris Hughton. Lindelof was bullied by Murray to score the opener for Brighton which was immediately followed by Duffy's goal which rifled past an onlooking David De Gea.

It resulted from a casual piece of defending by Bailly which led to a corner and eventually to the goal. Eric Bailly was at fault for Brighton's third as well. He needlessly dragged out his left leg in the six-yard box and conceded a penalty just to see Brighton increase their lead at a time when United were starting to make a come back.

Bailly's casual approach has heavily criticized by Andy Townsend, who during the game in his commentary even said — having someone like him is very dangerous for the team.

After the game, Ed Woodward looked flabbergasted and might be wondering if he could have been a little bit wiser in the transfer window. For Mourinho, it might well be the start of a string of frustrating post-match press conferences that he may have to bear until he is eventually sacked and replaced by a new manager even before the end of the season.

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Suman Dey
ANALYST
A sports enthusiast and an avid follower of football. Since childhood I was encouraged to play cricket and in no time it became a hobby. Gradually I found interest in other sports also. Football is in my blood and I love the electrifying ambiance that surrounds it. I often watch the pre and post match analysis of a match and try to learn how to analyze a football game. The thing that intrigues me the most is that there are so many things happening behind the scenes that are oblivious to our naked eyes. The technological advancements that has been made are phenomenal. I like analyzing a game from a statistical point of view. Being a data guy myself , I am firm believer of providing insights through facts and data. Though a game is always unpredictable , analyzing it from different dimensions can provide some very interesting conclusions.
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