The modern football game is changing, the revenue it generates is phenomenal, the fees for players have gone through the roof and the wages are astronomical. That, in itself is fine but when highly rewarded players put themselves above a club because of self interest, something has to give.
The case if Alexis Sanchez and Arsenal go some way to proving the point. He lost interest in playing for his club after contract negotiations broke down and couldn’t get out of the Emirates quick enough.
For weeks he put in half hearted appearances or refused to play at all, going from hero to zero in a matter of months until it became clear that the only resolution was to get rid!
The cloud lifted and suddenly Arsenal became less distracted and began putting together a good run of results. Arsenal had got rid of an irritating and destructive problem and secured Henrik Mkhitaryan in the process.
Fast forward to the present where Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho appears to be suffering the same disjointed dressing room as he did during his second spell at Chelsea. Disaffected players, barely going through the motions, playing for their own ends rather than in the interests of the club.
So, is it Mourinho or the increasing influence of affluent players?
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) October 3, 2018
I suspect it’s a bit of both, with Mourinho unwilling to change his attitude to World Class players that fail to deliver and players deciding exactly when they give 100% or not. Mourinho expects a high octane work ethic and anything short of that will result in a player losing their slot in the first team.
It’s rumoured that some have objected to that particular notion and as a result morale has dipped significantly.
Highly regarded, highly paid players should be able to embrace different tactics and play reasonably consistently during the course of a season. If it’s tactics or the system that are the problem, then it’s the managers responsibility to either change the system or get the players to embrace them.
In United’s case you have to conclude the problem is 50/50 at present. The biggest stars in the World such as Ronaldo and Messi have proved that as big as they are, they can work with any manager and for the team with spectacular results. Neymar, Sanchez and Pogba are an entirely different proposition altogether.
It seems that the precocious nature of a few can destabilise a dressing room quite easily. Sanchez did it at Arsenal, Pogba appears to think he’s bigger than United and Neymar is too big for his sponsored boots.
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) October 1, 2018
If Mourinho is to survive, Pogba has to go. No doubt the Special One ignored the reasons for his departure the first time around, when Sir Alex Ferguson decided he was more trouble than he was worth. Mourinho’s ego may have needed to secure the player in the hope of implementing a change in attitude but that may have been a massive error in judgement.
Ferguson was all about United, If a player started to get too comfortable or got the impression that they ruled the roost, they were sold on in a timely fashion. Ask Paul Ince, David Beckham and Roy Keane, all of which got a little too cocksure of themselves and thought that their services were indispensable.
If Mourinho survives this season, Pogba needs to be sold on so that he can get unity back in the dressing room and dispense with the superstar attitude developing at Old Trafford. Whilst he’s at it, he might consider releasing Sanchez who’s performances have been abject and without invention.
These are the problems of managing in the top flight with superstar players, the emphasis is on the individual and not as a team. Jose may just have to admit to himself that he made a regrettable error, even if it is just to himself.
It’s now going to be a case of one or the other, Pogba or his Manager, both can’t survive.
The dressing room seems to be in disarray and the only way that Mourinho can get back control from the clutches of player power, is to wield the axe quickly.
Mourinho’s excuses for his team are now just fabrications to hide the bigger problems. A series of smoke and mirrors that he hopes cover the cracks in the manager and teams faltering relationship. Time is of the essence if he is to rescue the season and avoid greater chaos.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) October 3, 2018
It’s a theatre but not of dreams, more tension, negativity and intense drama that is dragging Manchester United far below the waterline. It threatens to cost the club dearly in the premiership race and the champions league and failure in both is not an option.
Just this morning I stumbled on an article that had the temerity to suggest that Pogba was the subject of jealousy and that his current difficulties were a result of the media’s dislike of the player. Which is utter bullshit.
The media didn’t force Pogba to take to social media or issue ill advised comments on his team mates. They didn’t instigate the training ground incidents or effect his performance in some strange way. That’s all down to Pogba.