What can soothe and correct Manchester United's issues?
After Manchester United's 3-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday 27th August 2018, Mourinho is now under serious pressure.
He had lost the prior game away to Brighton and Hove Albion and now has lost to a fellow top four/title contender.
There has been grumbling in the Old Trafford fanbase about Mourinho for a little while. He had won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season and finished second to record-breaking city rivals, Manchester City, in the following season. Though there have been numerous calls for him to go, due to his playing style, which is not attuned to the traditional "United way". This was exemplified by the Sir Alex Ferguson days, and runs back to the glory days of the late Sir Matt Busby.
I'm not a Man United fan by any stretch, but they are a club I respect and admire. They are an institution, not just in a footballing context, but in a British setting, period. I personally think Real Madrid is a bigger club (more Champions Leagues, and the Premier League TV deal skews relative revenues). However, Manchester United, with its many great players, managers, and moments, is a standard of footballing excellence. The late, great Best, Sir Bobby, Stiles, Robson, Cantona, Hughes, Keane, Schmeichel, Neville, Beckham, Scholes, amongst numerous others, are pretty much.
So it's in this context that I take an interest here. It's sad, in some way, to see them suffering now. Yes, nothing is always good - nor bad. And the heights of Sir Alex may have been followed by comparatively weak times. Nonetheless, there must be some means by which United can improve, or at least be more competitive.
So what exactly can be done to correct their malaise? It goes beyond Mourinho, though his presence and actions are a factor. The board, players and even Sir Alex himself need to be called to account here. The "noisy neighbours" are marching ahead in fine style, and their deadly enemies Liverpool are also. Even Tottenham, a non-rival to United in Sir Alex's pomp, has emerged as a better team. And Arsenal and Chelsea - certainly two strong teams in Sir Alex's top days - have slumped in some ways, but are looking to rebuild.
Something then clearly needs to be done, to get Manchester United back to the top.
It's wrong to ignore Mourinho's role in this.
- Style of play is not pleasing, nor attuned to United's tradition
- His comments are often barbed and hostile in some quarters
- He has complaints - often legitimate - of not being allowed the funds in the transfer market
- He feels he is not being given the backing of the board
- He is not getting on with some players - though in some cases such as Shaw, he was indeed overweight
As a non-Man United fan, I'm not interested in his staying, or not, in honesty.
Though I believe he is one of the best managers of all-time. His achievements at Porto, Chelsea, Internazionale, Real Madrid, and Manchester United (where he has had success), stand as a legend.
However, his needs as a manager are not conducive to the structure and club strategy.
He has said that he's just a head coach, and not a manager in the traditional sense, holding control of all footballing matters. Until this changes, he may need to go, or move on to a better opportunity elsewhere.