Jose Mourinho is rattled: How the Manchester United boss has gone from hero to zero

ONCE upon a time Jose Mourinho was the new young desperado of football, the irrepressible manager who challenged the established elite with a serious swagger and engaging charisma.

Posted Sunday, March 25, 2018 by

Jose Mourinho is rattled: How the Manchester United boss has gone from hero to zero
Jose Mourinho's side could end up trophyless this season

That was yesterday. Now we see only an embittered old gunslinger, forever firing pot-shots at his critics among the disenchanted supporters of Manchester United and the sceptics of the media.

He has delivered so many barbs. There was sarcasm in saying we were ‘Einsteins’, know-alls who actually knew nothing. There was irony in calling us ‘idealists’ for speaking in praise of the spectacular football of Manchester City as a contrast to the pedestrian play of his United team.

There was disdain in dubbing us ‘stupid’ for being interested in various controversies of the season. And there was unbridled scorn during his infamous 12-minute rant the other day when we were condemned as ‘idiots’.

Other football managers have their moans, of course they do, but nobody is as relentlessly hostile towards the outside world as Mourinho. And nobody looks as rattled just now.

The turning point for so many fans of Manchester United was the craven performance by the team in the home defeat to Sevilla that saw the club knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16.

Rarely, if ever, have Man United played with such lack of conviction and style in such a significant match. And everyone knows the tenor of their display was set by the safety-first, risk-averse strategy of Mourinho.

The response of the manager who used to have such swagger has been revealing. Mourinho has searched high and low for alibis that absolve him of the blame.

Pick and choose your favourites - that Manchester City have spent more money, that Mourinho inherited a horrible mess when he took over at United, that his players are scared and lack personality, that they don’t follow his tactics, that the crowd is too quiet, and that anyone who doesn’t understand this is bereft of intelligence.

The question is: Does he really think anyone is fooled by this truck load of arrant nonsense? Mourinho has been manager of Manchester United through three transfer windows, spending £300million on players and breaking the world transfer record.

He has had more than enough time and scope to acquire footballers with moral courage and the requisite personality for the Old Trafford stage. If they are still “scared to play,” then the manager has spent his money badly.

Jose Mourinho is rattled: How the Manchester United boss has gone from hero to zero
Jose Mourinho has criticised his players in public over recent weeks

He contrasts what confronted him on arrival at United with the superior scenario of Pep Guardiola across town at City. But what Mourinho never mentions is that his rival manager has transformed the style of City’s football in the same timeframe.

City had one season of transition under Guardiola - and they are now flying. United are still mired deep in their transition. Whose fault is that? As for the crowd being too quiet at Old Trafford? Well, all modern audiences are mocked for being a ‘library’ at times, and all managers know that the only way to generate noise is to provide action and entertainment.

If there was ever a week to be silent for Jose Mourinho, it was this last one during the lull of an international break - with the focus elsewhere. He couldn’t keep his contemptuous thoughts to himself. Instead, there was another blast at the fans and media who dare to contradict his self-pitying view of United’s situation.

"I think really at this moment in the Premier League we have one team (Manchester City) who are clearly better prepared than us in the past few years to be first - and we have 18 clubs behind us,” said Mourinho in a TV interview.

"One in front of us. 18 behind us. Of course, in the future we want to have 19 clubs behind us, but this is the reality - and the reality is for people with brain, with sense, with common sense, with knowledge of what sports is, we are in a moment of transition.”

Jose Mourinho is rattled: How the Manchester United boss has gone from hero to zero
Gareth Southgate is refusing to escalate the political tensions between England and Russia

Ah, yes, let’s bash the brainless critics again. Mourinho’s claim that just one team is superior to Manchester United is clearly based on reference to current positions in the Premier League table.

It is a simplistic and flawed analysis. It is wrong. Both Liverpool and Tottenham are far more attractive sides to watch, both have teams with more personality and spirit, and both are being built to an obviously recognisable plan and positive philosophy of football.

You don’t hear Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino savage their players in public. They don’t need to. You don’t see them leave record signings on the substitute’s bench in the biggest games.

Manchester United supporters know all this. They are not fools, and they are surely not happy with the endless verbal insults barked out by their manager. You can already hear a chorus of fans in favour of showing the exit door to Jose Mourinho.

It will grow to a clamorous crescendo if the old gunslinger doesn’t button his lips and concentrate on constructing a football team that excites and entertains the paying public.

Jose Mourinho is rattled: How the Manchester United boss has gone from hero to zero
Trevor Bayliss' position as England coach could be under threat

ENGLAND manager Gareth Southgate is one of life’s natural diplomats, so to hear his swift put-down of Boris Johnson’s wild comments about the World Cup in Russia was illuminating.

"It’s of little interest to me what the foreign secretary thinks about it,” said Southgate in the wake of Johnson comparing the tournament with the 1936 Berlin Olympics that provided propaganda for the Nazi regime.

Quite right too. Johnson is a typical politician who hopes to make capital from treading into sport - and he is a blatant hypocrite.

Listen to his verdict about people who were noisily critical of China hosting the 2008 Olympics.

"I don’t think you will necessarily achieve what you want by showboating and grandstanding,” said Johnson. But isn’t that exactly what he’s doing now?

TREVOR BAYLISS has been quite outstanding in his task of transforming the fortunes of the England limited overs cricket team ahead of the 2019 World Cup here next summer.

Their exhilarating style is now a match for any team. They are ready to become world champions.

Bayliss has been mostly hopeless, by contrast, in the other half of his head coach role guiding the development of the England Test side - witness the pathetic first innings batting in the current match against New Zealand.

Sometimes, the solutions in sport are simple. In this case, England must split the roles, with a separate Test match boss. There are obvious contenders in two of the heroes of the 2005 Ashes series -Paul Collingwood and Ashley Giles.

The change should be made without delay.



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