What has gone wrong at Manchester United?
Jose Mourinho has hit a roadblock and is facing tremendous pressure from the fans following a dismal defeat at West Ham United in the Premier League and draw against Valencia in the Champions League.
While most of the United faithful are standing by his side for now, patience is wearing thin. The Red Devils need a string of good performance otherwise Mourinho maybe gone as early as next week.
One can argue that such a decision may alter the course of a season and the Glazers, the English football club's owners, need to have a legitimate replacement before they do something as drastic as that, in the event it does come that.
United’s struggles post Sir Alex Ferguson have been exacerbated due to their lack of quality going forward against sides that sit deep and defend. We saw this similar theme across David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho.
Neither of them have been able to establish a proper attacking philosophy and this is largely problematic. In the case of Mourinho especially, his insistence to trying to mark out the best player of the other team has cost United more points than it has gained.
In the cases where this tactic has not worked the team has looked out of sorts with several players lacking the attitude or personality to bring United back into the game. On the contrary there have definitely been cases where this tactic has worked, notably Eden Hazard being kept quiet by Herrera, although this is heavily contingent on United scoring the first goal and then defending for their lives.
This is a risky way of going about with a game, as their plan in case the opposition score is playing long balls and crosses. While this strategy maybe effective in certain games because of the aerial threat Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku provide, it is not viable against quality opposition who can adapt on the fly.
Moreover, Mourinho’s new strategy of playing the likes of Fellaini, Herrera and Scott McTominay in a back three in various matches when United are defending is strange as neither of the players have looked convincing in this position. West Ham exploited this very area and their mobile front three caused United all sorts of trouble.
Mourinho undoubtedly deserves credit for providing glimpses of quality in games but in the same breath he also deserves criticism for not being able to prepare his players in case something goes wrong.
The players attitude in certain games just seems off and it is hard to shoulder all the blame on the manager given that he wasn’t able to obtain key targets over the summer. United’s wage bill is only increasing, although the Glazers don’t seem to be concerned as the clubs revenue is still enough to keep the debt controllable.
This is extremely problematic as business minded people are taking the football decisions of the club. If United want to continue at the highest level they desperately need to change this and spend smartly in the January window.
United will be on the lookout for a right winger and CB and it is important that Jose is able to acquire pieces in this area.
The season has been disappointing so far however the emergence of Shaw and Dalot leaves United fans with a faint glimmer of hope. The fans need to back the manager now more than ever and it is paramount that they don't create a toxic atmosphere at the club.
The season can still be salvaged if Mourinho is able to get the much needed three points against Newcastle United and Chelsea. He needs to treat these games as knockout fixtures and ensures he keeps his job at least until the end of this season.