Often known by his self-made moniker of ‘the Special One,’ Jose Mourinho is in danger of being lumped in with all the other Premier League managerial has-beens.
The Portuguese really has been far from ‘special’ for a while now, certainly pre-dating his time at Old Trafford.
But let’s start there.Take a look at the highlights of this World Cup and see just how many of his current players have really enjoyed themselves at the tournament. Who’ve risen to the occasion and done their teams proud.
It’s almost as if they’ve escaped the shackles and shown exactly what they’re capable of, so if their national team coaches can obviously identify what it is they’re good at and tap into it, why can’t Mourinho?
Does he really have an axe to grind with players at every club he goes to, and can he not adopt different strategies dependant on the opponent (a pre-requisite for a coach at the top level)?
He’s turned Anthony Martial from a world-class forward into a player that seems frightened to come out of his shell – when he gets the chance to of course.
Marcus Rashford is another to seemingly irk his coach. Pace to burn, the confidence of a young man at the top of his game, and yet the Portuguese wants him to play defensively half the time.
It’s a recurring theme from before his second spell at Chelsea.
Things really began to fall apart after the ‘League of Records’ in 2012 at Real Madrid. Credit where it’s due, that was an incredible season the likes of which Spanish football hadn’t seen before and hasn’t seen since.
But maybe setting such a high bar was the beginning of where his problems lie.
Always known as a motivator supreme, suddenly the dressing room were in uproar at his tactics. Dropping Iker Casillas, picking fights with the heavyweights in the first-team…
Performances were never quite the same and a parting of the ways was inevitable.
On the crest of a wave back in west London, he brought the glory days back but then quickly took Chelsea down into the depths of the Premier League.
Players breaking rank and moaning about being played out of position or asked to do a role they weren’t comfortable with, only for Mourinho to castigate them publicly thereafter, became a common theme.
And now, at United, the Red Devils are known more as a team that doesn’t want to lose rather than one who will go out and win the game. With the players that they have in situ, that’s just criminal.
Should he not grasp the nettle this coming season and get out of the need to be ultra-cautious and defensive at all times, then it’s entirely possible that the United hierarchy will decide to dispense with his services.
He’s had long enough and spent more than enough to get United playing as everyone expects.
They’re a special team that deserve a special manager and at this point he isn’t that.
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