Remember Louis Van Gaal? The surly Dutchman who orchestrated his career downfall at Man United even with the likes of Angel Di Maria and Falcao at his disposal? Similar to the appointment of Jose Mourinho, whose nomination as the manager of Manchester United looked like a great marriage on paper, Louis’s was also a story of much promise.
Post David Moyes, MoUnited fans were clamouring for a man who was suitable to replace Sir Alex. Louis seemed like the hand the glove needed but what came next was even more fitting.
Louis beat Moyes’s record for the worst first 15 games (something that MoUnited came close to breaking), was constantly handling questions by the media as tactfully as a bull in a china shop. All of this led to him wasting a slew of talent, playing them out of position and eventually accepting his fate.
Ironically, Mourinho had gotten the axe for doing the exact same things at Chelsea.
It was like they were destined to meet. Man United under Mourinho was probably written in the stars when he famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford and his FC Porto knocked out The Red Devils at home.
The fans hated him for doing that, but respected this brash young kid who wasn’t shy of the backlash. It reminded them of another arrogant young prick that led them to a lot of glory. So naturally his arrival at the Theatre of Dreams was treated like the homecoming of the prodigal child. Then came Zlatan, Paul Pogba in a world record move and astute signings like Eric Baillhy and Mkhitaryan as well.
And yet, here we are in November with criticisms rife against Mourinho with fans demanding that he be sacked.
But where did it go wrong for Mourinho and the Devils?
Good player bad position
The most heard refrain that has echoed in TV studios with pundits and fans in chat rooms is the bad positioning of players. Now that Zlatan isn’t that effective up front, people are losing their mind as to why Rashford is not playing centre.
Well you’ll have to excuse Mourinho for going with a seasoned Veteran who has championed every side he has been in (except Barcelona) and played that target man role brilliantly. Now unfortunately, defenders have realised that man-marking him is the right way to go and at 35, he is not at his fastest to blaze past them too; leaving us with a conundrum. Should Mourinho drop Zlatan and go for another philosophy of play apart from Long Ball City?
No matter what anybody tells you, or whatever you have read online; always remember that Rooney has, is and always will be one of the most effective EPL players ever. It is a crying shame how quickly the fans (especially National) have turned on him and forgotten what a pivotal figure he has been in English football. His legacy at Man United is cemented and he will go down as one of the legends. He is definitely not past his peak.
Rooney behind RVP was one of the best masterstrokes Sir Alex ever produced and even though Mourinho tried to emulate it this season with Zlatan and Roo, he did not give it enough time to gel. A fit Rooney can walk onto the field for a Real or Barca side; Mourinho really needs to sort him out.
You wanna play long ball, right?
Then where are Valencia or Darmian as right wing back? Luke Shaw does a stellar job every time he is deployed but it is the right of Man United that seems to be lacking. If Mourinho didn’t have faith in both of them, he should have atleast tried to push the board to hand him a suitable candidate. And that too seems quite foolhardy as there is Antonio flippin’ Valencia right there! Waiting!
Stop Blaming Players
For all his career, one of Mourinho’s most likeable team trait has been how he shields players from media scrutiny and takes all the heat himself. He does this for his locker room and has done a good job at it. This term though, we have seen a more frustrating side of him, which we do when he is losing. His treatment and quotes about players like Lindgaard and Mkhitaryan have raised a few eyebrows and furthermore, he has constantly deflected questions when it comes to his failed tactics.
To be frank, he has done this all throughout his career but it is when he fails, that a psychological approach like this back fires. Now he sounds like a petulant child who likes to blame everyone except for holding himself accountable.
Remember, it is the 11 players who go on the field to play the game. At times, there is just way too much blame put on coaches but we don’t live in a sensible era do we? Dear lord no! We live in an era where everyone is a pundit and I somehow have convinced you of the same with merely a 12 year understanding of the EPL.
But trust me there are worse. Like Man City fans talking about legacy and not knowing who Richard Dunne was.
But sacking Jose Mourinho is not the answer. Let’s get this straight: Jose Mourinho, is one of the best coaches in world football and it has been an honour to see him give Chelsea a title after 50 years, teach the world how to break Tiki Taka and basically how to be every interviewer’s wet dream. He is just getting started and I really do wish that people would stop freaking out so much. Especially Man United fans.
Calm down #MoUnited.