After Manchester United lost to Watford on Sunday in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho looked like a man under pressure again. United with their loss at Vicarage Road experienced defeat in 3 successive games and it dampened their spirits after winning their first three games of Premier League. The outrage was more over the performance of the team in rather than the final result. The result against Northampton stopped the rot, but you can’t really take comfort in beating the League 1 side who aren’t doing so well in their division.
After spending nearly £150m in the summer transfer window, this kind of performance was not expected by the fans. Since the departure of Sir Alex, United seem to be a club in a bit of a bother. David Moyes tried to do a decent job but was not given the time, confidence or the money to spend which his successor Louis Van Gaal was. During Van Gaal’s time, United fans heard more about philosophy than their shots on opposition goal and were left clearly frustrated with the performance of the squad and the style of football employed.
Van Gaal actually ended up worse than Moyes spending a considerable amount of money in between. When the fans and management had enough of Van Gaal, very surprisingly Jose Mourinho was appointed to be the man to take the Red Devils forward.
Mourinho has in the past proven himself to be a manager who almost guarantees silverware. The Portuguese has won a lot in his career, wherever he has managed. At Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid he won the domestic league and the cups and even in his second stint with Chelsea, in the second year, he won the Premier League title again but problems began to surface in his third year.
So far, Mourinho has never been able to manage any club for more than three years in his career. He has enjoyed success with teams which were mostly developed by his predecessors and was extremely lucky to inherit them at their peak positions. The Portuguese had money to spend and splashed the cash generously looking for ready-made solutions and to his credit delivered success each time.
However, when the players of the previous lot, becomes aged, the manager encounters the problem. So far, by courtesy of the sacking or ‘Mutual Consent’, Mourinho, never had to face the situation of trying to build a squad, to take a team in transition and make them capable of winning trophies. His second stint at Chelsea gave him that challenge to which he failed horribly. Taking the team from the top of the league to 16th place in the table when the challenges surfaced was a big indication and after the recent run of 3 losses which the manager encountered for only the second time in his career since Porto in 2002, Jose’s record stands at 14 defeats in the last 32 matches with Chelsea and Manchester United.
While it can be said that this is the first time the manager is experiencing such a slump, we can’t ignore the fact that he has encountered the slump as perhaps for the first time he had to start over with a new kind of challenge of building a squad, something which he has never had to encounter before. The manager was found out when he had to come up with attacking solutions for his team during the games. It is well known that Mourinho leaves his team’s in a very bad shape when he leaves a club (gets the sack). It becomes very hard for his successor to work things out in a dressing room full of negativity and lack of trust. This is because, when things go awry, the manager starts blaming everyone else including his players, but himself.
There is nothing inspirational in the way the Portuguese conducts himself in front of the media with his comments. After his loss at Vicarage Road, the way he condemned Luke Shaw for making the mistake when it was actually revealed that the player was playing through the pain barrier after suffering from the recurrence of an old injury just moments ago Watford scored their second goal left the fullback shocked and shattered.
Even his own players are surprised as to how the manager has started criticising them publicly so early in the season. After having spent, yet again, a fortune on his squad, the manager is struggling to find the perfect balance, and as we know that he is not capable of developing young players out of the academy, he needs to depend on the transfer market to bring in players who are the finished articles ready to perform.
In the attack, Zlatan Ibrahimović is already starting to suffer due to his age and lack of pace, Rooney looks like a player miles away from what he used to be, playing in the midfield along with some problems which needs to be fixed at Manchester United. Nevertheless, at the moment it is looking like the biggest problem of them all is the one who is charged with the responsibility of finding the solution at Old Trafford.