After a disappointing first half of the season, Manchester United and José Mourinho have finally decided to part ways.
Mourinho’s position as the Manchester United boss had been under severe scrutiny throughout the course of the first half of the season. Fans were divided in their opinion of the Portuguese manager. Some wanted to see him gone, and criticised every move he made. Some others opined that United must stick with Mourinho, at least till the end of the season.
United’s loss to Liverpool, however, became the final nail in the coffin. Fans took to social media to urge the club’s management to sack him following United’s defeat at Anfield.
The Red Devils and Mourinho have finally decided to put an end to their relationship, as he seems to have remained true to his ‘Third Season Syndrome.’
ICYMI Man Utd parted company with manager Jose Mourinho
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 19, 2018
Let’s take a look at why it was time to change the Man on United’s hot seat.
Mourinho’s refusal to adapt
Mourinho revolutionised the Premier League when he came to Chelsea in 2004. Already a Champions League winning manager at the time, he introduced a new system of football in England and took the Premier League by surprise.
Fast forward to 2018 and José has refused to change his style. The football that was a shock for teams 14 years ago proved futile against managers like Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp. Even lower league teams bullied Manchester United.
Mourinho’s emphasis on defence and his obsession organisation meant that United played most parts of their games without the ball. His team invited pressure by conceding possession.
However, his idea did not work as he would have expected. United, filled with attack-minded players, not only lacked defensive quality but also did not have enough ball-carrying midfielder. The transition from defence to attack was neither smooth nor quick, that had earlier been the USP of Mourinho’s teams, and United started amassing draws and losses.
Mourinho’s ‘tough love’ was a failure in the United dressing room. The ex-Chelsea manager regularly criticised his squad publicly, often singling out players for mistakes.
Mourinho, on numerous occasions, also questioned the dedication and quality of the players at his disposal.
Though players like Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw shook off all of the Portuguese manager’s blows and established their place in his starting XI, others such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba were floored by his punches.
Both Pogba and Mkhitaryan started their second season in Manchester in impressive form. However, a drop in from quickly saw their manager turn on them.
The Armenian’s relationship with Mourinho led to the former leaving United for Arsenal. Pogba, on the other hand, has spent the entirety of the 2018-19 season either under-performing or on the bench.
Mourinho had supposedly lost his influence in the dressing room. Rumours of player-manager feuds were becoming regular. Mourinho throwing his player under the bus in press conferences did his popularity in the dressing room no favours either.
MOST POPULAR MANCHESTER UNITED NEWS
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) December 19, 2018
United’s Legacy and Mourinho
Manchester United is expected to win trophies, and fans expect to see this done with style. The 20-time Premier League winner has been known for its ability to invoke fear in its opponents.
Free-flowing, attacking football was the trademark of Manchester United under Alex Ferguson. The club’s aim was silverware. Being one of the best in the world was what mattered.
This was not the case under José, though. United’s style of play lacked fluidity. Most players looked uncomfortable on the ball. They were tardy while deciding what to do with the ball and lost possession quite cheaply.
Mourinho was adamant to stick to his defensive philosophy that did not resonate with the club’s legacy or supporters.
The manager did talk of silverware. However, in recent times it seemed like a Champions League qualification was enough for him and United’s management.
We can confirm that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as caretaker manager until the end of the 2018/19 season.
He will be joined by Mike Phelan as first-team coach, together with Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna. #MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 19, 2018
After 2 and a half years as United’s boss, Mourinho has finally left the club after a series of disappointing results and it is probably in the best interest of both parties that they decided to end their unyielding relationship.