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Is Mourinho’s Third Season Syndrome About To Strike Once More?

United, Manchester United, Top four finish

When Jose Mourinho first walked through the gates at Old Trafford as the club’s manager, he looked like a man with a point to prove. Manchester United were enduring a managerial crisis in their quest for stability following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. His so called “natural successor” David Moyes lasted only 10 months in the role, caretaker Ryan Giggs wasn’t deemed ready to take over full time yet, and Louis van Gaal’s spell was labelled the most direfully boring period in the club’s history.

[spacer height=”30px”]Mourinho, rather ironically, was brought in to change the narrative and stop the rot before it got any worse. It seemed a bold move from United’s point of view. The Portuguese was never really seen as a long-term project – anyone who has been following his career from his days at Porto would agree.[spacer height=”30px”]

[spacer height=”30px”]The Portuguese club offered him his first opportunity to become a full-time manager, and it proved to be an absolute masterstroke. He was an instant hit, winning the Premeira Liga in both the seasons he was at the club, along with the Taca de Portugal, Supertaca Candido de Oliviera. However, it was his role in guiding Porto to an unforgettable Champions League and UEFA Cup double that saw his stock rise rapidly, and after just two seasons, he was off to Chelsea for his first spell at the club.

[spacer height=”30px”]More success was to follow, as he inspired the Blues to two Premier League titles, two league titles and one F.A Cup title across three campaigns. However, a falling out with the club’s owner Roman Abramovich saw him leave the club on bad terms and he was out the door after just three seasons at Stamford Bridge.

[spacer height=”30px”]Chelsea’s loss was Inter Milan’s gain, and Mourinho went on to win two Serie A titles and one each of the Supercoppa Italiana and the Coppa Italia. However, just like at Porto, his most remarkable achievement with the Nerazzurri was their incredible Champions League triumph in 2010.

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[spacer height=”30px”]Once again, a major success led to a major upgrade and Mourinho was handed a job at one of the elite clubs in football – Real Madrid. While a job at Los Blancos is a once in a lifetime opportunity for every manager, it also meant that the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ would once again leave a club after just two seasons, which only served as further evidence that he was a short-term manager.

[spacer height=”30px”]Jose’s time at the Santiago Bernabeu was far from a flop, considering the fact that he won a trophy in every season of his time there. However, it opened the world of football’s eyes to a new side of the Portuguese that it had never been exposed to.

[spacer height=”30px”]For the most part, Mourinho had always maintained a good rapport with the players at his previous clubs – the glowing admiration with which Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke of him when the legendary Swede joined Manchester United is testament to that. However, Real Madrid was a different story altogether.

[spacer height=”30px”]The first two seasons had gone by quite comfortably, and having signed a new four-year contract at the end of the second, it looked like he would finally break his three-season curse. But despite a positive start to his third season, things slowly but surely started to crumble around him. A string of woeful performances on the pitch saw Real fall a remarkable 18 points behind Barcelona, and it led to a series of incidents that exposed football to the toxic side of Jose Mourinho.[spacer height=”30px”]

[spacer height=”30px”]A shockingly public fallout with club legend Iker Casillas was the start of a series of incidents that turned Mourinho into public enemy numero uno. Captain Sergio Ramos was the next target, and attacks on Karim Benzema and the Spanish Press followed suit. Even compatriot and joint best player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo could not escape a public telling off.

[spacer height=”30px”]It was a season from hell, one Mourinho rightly described as the ‘worst of my career’. Shortly after the end of the season, he was gone.[spacer height=”30px”]

[spacer height=”30px”]A two-year hiatus followed, before Chelsea came calling once more. It should have been a fairy-tale return, and it was just that for the first two seasons of his four-year contract. Having seen Manchester United and Manchester City dominate English football for 4 years prior to his arrival, he broke the stranglehold in his second season back at the club and won the Premier League title at a canter.[spacer height=”30px”]

[spacer height=”30px”]Chelsea had lost just three games that season, and everything seemed to be going perfectly so far – bar another fall out with an important player, Juan Mata, in his first season. However, the season that followed echoed his demise at Real Madrid.

[spacer height=”30px”]It began with a shocking spat between him and club doctor Eva Carneiro, and things started to spin out of control from that point onwards. Chelsea had lost 9 out of 16 games by December, and Mourinho began to turn on his players once more. David Luiz, Samuel Eto’o and Eden Hazard were thrown under the bus and after a defeat to Leicester City, he claimed that his players had ‘betrayed him’. Shortly after that, he was sacked and although Chelsea insisted it was on good terms, the evidence blaringly speaks otherwise.

[spacer height=”30px”]On signing for Manchester United in 2016, he begun by brutally alienating Bastian Schweinsteiger from the rest of the squad – a decision he later admitted to regretting as the season went on.

[spacer height=”30px”]From then on, things have consistently gone downhill. He managed to win the Europa League and League Cup in his first season, but went empty handed in the second.

[spacer height=”30px”]It all seems like familiar territory at the moment. Last season, he constantly aimed jibes at Luke Shaw and jumped at every chance he got to criticise a player. Mourinho is about to begin his third season at Old Trafford, and judging from how pre-season has gone, it looks set to be his last.[spacer height=”30px”]

[spacer height=”30px”]United are currently on a tour of the USA, but it has been one of the worst pre-season tours they have ever been on. Mourinho’s toxic side has been out on full display, and was at its peak after a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Liverpool a few days ago.[spacer height=”30px”]

Jose Mourinho Admits Being “In Fear” Ahead Of New Season And Here Is Why

[spacer height=”30px”]Anthony Martial has been the target of some immense criticism from the United boss, and it has made the talented Frenchman want out of the club. He has also taken aim at the club’s academy players, and instead of encouraging them to break through to the first team, he has made it clear that none of them stand a chance and might not even be around by the start of the new Premier League season.

[spacer height=”30px”]Antonio Valencia has been criticised for showing up overweight, Martial has once again been targeted for leaving the club’s pre-season tour to be there for the birth of his child, and his relationship with Ed Woodward and the Glazers has become extremely strained, with the board failing to sign the five players on the list Mourinho handed them at the end of last season.

[spacer height=”30px”]Mourinho looks increasingly unsettled and by the way things are going, he could be gone by Christmas. His third-season syndrome is rearing its ugly head once more and if the new season doesn’t start off the way he wants it to, things could become very toxic, very quickly.[spacer height=”30px”]

    Rey Nath
    Passionate football fan and an experienced writer. Manchester United through and through.

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