When one of the world’s most decorated coaches joined Manchester United in 2016, it seemed a match made in heaven – a coach who wanted to salvage his reputation and a giant club with money to burn.But the next two years have not panned out the way many of the club’s supporters had anticipated.And now the Portuguese boss is a few games away from losing his job.
Mourinho at United
While the past five years of his career have not been as impressive as the previous five, Mourinho is still seen as one of the top managers in the game. He has won major trophies at every club he managed. The same was expected at United.
But he never quite managed to adapt to the standards expected by the club’s supporters. His characteristics defensive style of play was not appreciated, while he failed to get the most out of many top players.
The first Premier League season with Mourinho at United was not the most impressive. The team finished 6th, a position unacceptable for a team of that stature. But he did win the Europa League and League Cup trophies, giving him a second season.
And the second season was a largely successful one. While United did not win a trophy, they finished second to Manchester City and seemed on an upward trajectory. How did they go from that position to being on the brink of firing another coach?
Third Season Syndrome?
One of the major criticisms leveled at Jose Mourinho is that he is not a long term manager. The intense standards he demands from his players, paired with his caustic approach, mean that he is a short term appointment. Eventually, the players tire of his persona and things fall apart.
It happened at Real Madrid and then at Chelsea. Now it is happening at United. And it all began with the club’s summer tour of the United States in 2018. Mourinho was unhappy at the quality of his squad and unraveled from there.
Public Criticism of Players and His Boss
There are only so many times a manager can throw his own players to the wolves before they stop playing for him. And it appears Mourinho has reached that point with United.
When he questioned the quality of his team in preseason, lamenting at a lack of transfer activity, it set the tone for the beginning of the season. Despite finishing second last term, United began the current campaign in poor fashion.
The team are already in a mid table position, far away from sides such as Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. Those teams are competing for the league title, while United languish in 9th position.
Appointing Mourinho made sense for United in 2016. They had money to spend and they wanted the best available manager. He fit the bill. But it has not worked out and it appears he is weeks away from losing his job.
Now the football world will wonder whether Mourinho will ever be the great, swashbuckling manager he was half a decade ago.