I’d already begun writing a piece on the ongoing woes of Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, after being beaten by Liverpool. In the context of what followed on Monday, with Mourinho’s dismissal, it makes an interesting place to begin.
Manchester United had just been comprehensively beaten by Liverpool and Mourinho faced the media.
We can finish in the top six retorted Jose Mourinho when asked if he could fix Manchester United. That then became a top four finish but few were convinced that this current group of players under his leadership could achieve either.
As a fan of one of the most famous clubs on the planet, that type of admission was as shocking as United’s diminishing ability to compete in the top flight.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 16, 2018
Mourinho even managed to sound magnanimous after the defeat, which is rare. He stated that his team couldn’t cope with Liverpool’s intensity, which was difficult for ‘The Special one’ to admit and slightly nauseating to listen to. From that point, you knew time had run out and his reign at United would soon be at an end.
Then Manchester United issued a statement that said it had no immediate plans to review the situation which one felt was simply the bullet being polished before it was put in the gun.
I’ve been covering this story since last season and was convinced United would be left with no other choice than to part company and On Monday they did just that.
Liverpool’s 3-1 win over United, showed the obvious gulf in class and the premiership champions elect, exerted endless pressure until the Mancunians snapped.
It was another insipid performance, which was also slightly embarrassing and one where Mourinho finally realised that all his rhetoric was pointless.
He’d exhausted the excuse bank, apportioned as much blame as was humanly possible and deflected criticism off himself, with a mixture of all of the above and still the results and performances didn’t reflect his own self image of perfection.
Mourinho apparently came to training as usual on Monday and was summoned to a fairly direct and short meeting, to be told of the decision to dismiss him.
"Bye guys." ?
This was the moment Jose Mourinho departed from the Lowry Hotel after being sacked as Manchester United manager. pic.twitter.com/dCTdqMEEM5
— Man United News (@ManUtdMEN) December 18, 2018
Mourinho must have known it was coming but the blow must have still been hurtful. Losing a prestigious job at a high profile club, that also happens to be a global concern, must have been devastating.
The three biggest sides on the planet ( United, Real Madrid and Barcelona ) are known all over the globe and I recall a story where a friend of mine went on holiday Vietnam.
He went on a short river trip to the middle of nowhere, stopped, disembarked and headed through the overgrown surroundings. He emerged into a clearing and there was a basic settlement. Out of one of the makeshift structures, came a young boy, dressed in a Manchester United shirt.
That’s the power of the United brand, it’s everywhere, even in places that coverage can’t be seen but it’s a brand that is associated with exciting football and above all winning or at the very least competing.
Mourinho failed on all counts and that’s something that you may be able to manage at any other club but not United.
It’s also been a curious situation because a club of United’s size and with the resources at their disposal should have handled this situation better.
My article at the end of last season mentioned two managers on collision course with their clubs. One was Antonio Conte and the other was Mourinho, so it’s no surprise for me that he’s gone, more of a controlled shock.
Mourinho had a squad of dysfunctional international superstars who couldn’t or wouldn’t play for him and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say to that it’s the worst United team I’ve seen for years.
Roy Keane, who always has an opinion, said that the team has excellent players but that they were not good enough for United and Danny Mills questioned the sense in giving Smalling and Shaw new contracts because he felt they weren’t good enough.
He also touched on the age of some of the squad, with a number entering their thirties, so it appears that whoever comes in has a sizeable job on their hands.
Mourinho will resurface and be re employed but until he deals with himself and his approach, one suspects that this won’t be the last time that we see cover this subject under similar circumstances.