Mourinho has finally played all his cards
ON A PLANE home from a Champions League trip in September 2007, Sir Alex Ferguson sent staff to the back of the aircraft to ask the media if it was really true that Chelsea had just sacked Jose Mourinho. For Ferguson, news of the demise of his most dangerous rival arrived like a gift.
Two days ago at Manchester City, meanwhile, home supporters digested news of Manchester United’s defeat at West Ham, and sang: “Jose Mourinho, we want you to stay.”
So this is how life has changed for Mourinho. The great managerial totem of our time has reached a point where he is so muddled, vengeful and failing that his team’s Premier League rivals know that he and his side can no longer hurt them.
It has been heading this way for a while and a personal memory is that of a delayed train home from London last November. United had lost 1-0 at Chelsea and travelling supporters were quick to tell of their tiredness, not with results but with the dead-eyed nature of their team’s Mourinho football.
These travellers were time-served and realistic. They were not the knee-jerkers of social media. They knew exactly what they were watching and how badly it sat with the image they held of their football club.
So as soon as the results turned, it was never going to take long to get to where we are now. The supporters – the ones who matter – are tired of it. And now United’s executives – themselves tolerant of, rather than enthusiastic about, their manager last season – are tiring of it, too.
Mourinho has played all his cards this season. Cunning PR won’t sustain you when your team stop playing, and the defeat at West Ham was set up by Mourinho’s stubborn and confused selection, and rubber-stamped by players who no longer wish, or know, how to play for him.
It is wretched to observe.
The lack of obvious replacements may extend Mourinho’s residence for longer than some would hope or expect, but in the long term it would be a huge surprise if there was any way back for him now. – Daily Mail
Mourinho denied on Monday that his job was on the line, but did say some of his players cared more than others before the Champions League Group H match against Valencia on Tuesday night. See a full report on www.IOL
Asked if he had spoken to the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward following Saturday’s loss, Mourinho gave a tetchy reply.
“That’s a private matter. I’m not asking you who did you speak with yesterday or this morning, who was your last phone call, that’s a private matter. I’m not going to answer it,” he said.
United have struggled this season, collecting 10 points from their opening seven Premier League matches and being dumped out of the League Cup by secondtier Derby County.
They did, however, secure an emphatic 3-0 victory over Young Boys in their first Champions League group match.
PAUL Pogba breezed past journalists as if he didn’t have a care in the world. “You want me dead?” joked the Manchester United star, turning down numerous requests for interviews.
Given the controversy his remarks have caused so far this season, it was probably a wise move.
His tongue-in-cheek quip was accompanied by a mischievous grin and ripple of laughter.
Needless to say, the mood of his manager and teammates would not have been quite so jovial.
They had just lost 3-1 to West Ham in one of the most abject performances from a Manchester United side during Mourinho’s reign.
Jose Mourinho during training this week. Picture: