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Sacking Mourinho is a gamble, but Manchester United are out of options now

ANALYST
Feature
4.86K   //    04 Oct 2018, 09:15 IST

Manchester United v Southampton - Premier League
Manchester United v Southampton - Premier League

When Manchester United signed Jose Mourinho in the summer of 2016 to replace Louis van Gaal, they knew exactly what they were doing.

Everything the Portuguese manager stood for went against the core principles that the club had come to embody during Sir Alex Ferguson's tenure. But what Mourinho did offer was assured, short-term success and trophies, and that was desperately needed after the disastrous Moyes-and-van-Gaal-era.

The mind games, public feuds and falling out with players come as a part of the package, and United knew that as well.

Two years on, many things that fans predicted have come to pass. The short-term success manifested itself in the form of the Europa League and the League Cup, and a 2nd placed finish in his 2nd season wasn't too bad either. Unfortunately, the negative stuff is now coming to pass.

Mourinho's pre-season moaning and groaning about the lack of transfer activity didn't bode well for the season ahead. The blame here rests solely with the board and Ed Woodward.

The lack of a new center-back in the summer left Mourinho short of options at the back,. Defeats to Brighton, Spurs and West Ham showed that he couldn't always rely on De Gea to bail him out.


Manchester United v Valencia - UEFA Champions League Group H
Manchester United v Valencia - UEFA Champions League Group H

In his third season at Chelsea, Mourinho had an infamous falling out with Eva Carneiro, the club doctor. History is repeating itself at Old Trafford now.

The Manchester United squad is reportedly divided into two factions - one for, and one against Mourinho.

It all started when Jose stripped Pogba of his captaincy in front of the entire squad. Relations with the World Cup winner have only gone downhill since then.

Club captain Antonio Valencia recently liked a post on Instagram that was asking Mourinho to be sacked. The right-back later came out with a half-hearted clarification that he hadn't read the text accompanying the post.

Mourinho has a certain style of play that can be devastating with the right players. But thanks to the divided dressing room, it looks like he can't execute his ideas on the pitch.

With the current squad, the only major concern should be a porous defence. The midfield has the potential to be the best in the league, and with Sanchez, Martial, Rashford and Lukaku in attack, scoring shouldn't really be a problem.

The players aren't ready to play for him, or the club. There's no desire to win any more, and the midfield has taken up a static, rigid shape with no intention of the progressing the play.

The board is at an impasse here. While the problem clearly seems to be with the players, Mourinho's inability to motivate them is also painfully obvious.

Like Gary Neville mentioned recently, sacking Mourinho right now would go against every value that the club stands for. But with every passing game, the management is running out of options.

Zinedine Zidane has been circling Old Trafford for a while now. The Frenchman quit his post at Real Madrid after winning 3 successive Champions League titles.

While Zidane has proven that he's a tactically astute manager, he has a rather short track record with a club that had a considerably better squad than United.

Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in his third season after 16 league games. As it stands, it doesn't look like he will last much longer at Old Trafford.

Will sacking Mourinho and appointing Zidane prove to be a huge gamble? Definitely. But things surely can't get any worse, and as contingency plans go, it isn't the worst idea.

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