There comes a time when a club has to look at what is best for itself and there is no shame in admitting defeat or that things are not going to improve anytime soon.
This is the situation Manchester United find themselves in and blinkered vision and belligerence is not what is needed. It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho is in a predicament at this moment in time and I’m not sure it’s entirely his fault but the problem exists.
Yet, how long do you give a bad situation before it becomes impossible? How many poor results are required before action is forthcoming?
United are already 18 points behind rampant Manchester City and 8 points adrift of a crucial 4th place. They have shipped 25 goals in 15 games, 18 more than their Manchester neighbours and only Fulham, Burnley, Southampton, Huddersfield and Cardiff City have conceded more and those teams are currently occupy the bottom five spaces in the table.
? Jose Morinho's agent Jorge Mendes releases statement
— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) December 7, 2018
There area host of big questions that come to mind when looking at this complex situation, such as why are United spluttering in the league and performing so poorly, when they have an immense wealth of talent at their disposal?
Mourinho himself, has become insular and almost paranoid, which is light years from the character we witnessed, when he first came to these shores and exploded in the premier league in 2004.
Like the introduction of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, the Portuguese magician injected a new vibrancy into the game at Chelsea and seemed fresh and full of ideas. Just like Wenger perhaps, the game has changed irreversibly and Mourinho finds himself behind the curve.
I’m well known for not being a fan. I have found his ways self indulgent and his actions have been more geared towards himself than any club brave enough to employ him.
He has, without question, been an exceptional manager and he has won more in his short career than some achieve in a lifetime. It’s sad and almost predictable that he finds himself in a corner, trying to fight adversity alone and justifying loss after loss with a plethora of excuses.
With sportsman and even great managers, there comes a time where the pace of progress is too fast and they are past their best. One hopes it’s neither, that it’s simply a case of the wrong appointment and that Mourinho has more to give to the game and another club but the shadows that are engulfing him at present, to the delight of many due to his arrogance, are not going anywhere in a hurry.
What we liked and hated about Mourinho was his self belief and ability to elicit a smile, particularly at his press conferences. Now, he appears worn and beleaguered, bitter and hostile perhaps realising that something is missing and that he is genuinely unable to fix.
The great Brian Clough was put out to pasture at Nottingham Forest because he was no longer able to summon the troops and get back to winning ways. For a proud and once revolutionary figure, it must have been impossible to deal with as it was to prevent.
When Wenger was on the rack and on the verge of being removed, I likened him to a veteran prize fighter, trying to have one last taste of glory but susceptible to a sucker punch and in possession of a chin made of China.
Mourinho and United are running out of time this season, mathematically at least, they are still able to challenge a top four slot but their Form and reliance on others to drop points makes it extremely unlikely.
However, it’s not their form that is the major concern. The style of football they currently play is drab and defensive at times, they often seem unmotivated and are plodding through matches without any hint of entertainment. Unfair ? I don’t think so.
I now find myself in unfamiliar territory, actually feeling sorry for Mourinho and hoping that either United begin to start playing to their potential or he, himself, pulls the plug on his time at Old Trafford.
His ego will not allow that, he is a man that will go the course and no matter what, try to reverse the current situation but it’s becoming very, very clear, that something is fundamentally wrong behind the scenes, perhaps the managers attitude to his players or the players reluctance to play for him.
It will make a fascinating unofficial biography because Mourinho only portrays himself in a positive light and negatives are as welcome as an enthusiastic and persistent door to door salesman.
I’ve said it since the end of last season, the marriage of Mourinho and Manchester United was never meant to last and no matter how much the majority of fans still support him, the club need to act.
In September, he actively sought the clubs approval and in October he got it.
Now, Jorge Mendes, the influential football agent and head of agency Gestifute has spoken of Mourinho’s commitment,
“Jose is very happy at the club and the club is very happy with him. He has a long-term contract with Manchester United and is fully committed to the club in building a solid winning project.”
Never have so many had to endorse so few, mainly one, namely Mourinho.
All this support makes me immensely nervous, never mind José. It’s like someone receiving a compliment before being shoved off a cliff and being waved at on the way down.
It’s fast approaching the point at Manchester United where something has to give before the its irretrievable.