Why January window will tell all for Jose Mourinho’s future at Manchester United
It has been a tough few months for the Manchester United manager with defeat to fierce rivals Liverpool on Sunday spelling United’s worst start to a league campaign since the 1990/91 season.
The pressure on Jose Mourinho is currently immense with the Portuguese telling the media after Sundays game that he believes they can still achieve a top four finish this season. Slightly optimistic by any fans opinion but not impossible.
As it stands with only seventeen games played, United are already eleven points behind fourth placed Chelsea and a whopping 19 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool.
As you can see above he boasts a sublime record when it comes to silverware and having only been at the helm in Salford for two full seasons he has still managed to deliver three trophies. Pretty impressive for a man coming under such scrutiny isn't it? or is it?
After much debate between our team we agreed that the current pressure is justified and with good reason. Even though he has landed a European title and two domestic cups he still has not delivered the instant glory that he has become so accustomed to throughout his career.
“He has won three trophies in two seasons though” I can hear you scream but ask yourself this. If, in his first two seasons at Real Madrid he had won the Europa League, The Copa Del Ray (which is being generous as it is the Spanish FA cup equivalent) and the Spanish Supercup, would he have been allowed to continue as manager for a third season? We think not, bearing in mind that Real Madrid are the type of club who will part ways if you do not compete on all fronts, a Champions League title alone is usually not enough to save your job.
With this in mind we look at his current reign at Manchester United and take ourselves back to May 2016 when he was appointed manager. Fans and players alike had high hopes and were mostly delighted to see a manager with such footballing esteem back in the dugout. The future was briefly looking bright at Old Trafford and with good reason. We are talking about a Manager who has brought about instant and unprecedented success at ever club he has managed, even those like Inter Milan who were struggling to compete prior to Mourinho’s appointment. We are talking about one of the worlds best.
Fast forward 30 months and, well, it hasn’t quite went according to plan. The instant success that so many had hoped for is yet to show and the current Manchester United squad could not look less like the Champions that the Portuguese is so used to developing.
Can he turn it around?
Well in terms of his managerial career these are uncharted waters for him as he has not managed a side with this many issues to iron out before. Having watched the Liverpool match on Sunday I was astounded by United’s lack of creativity in all areas of the pitch and complete lack of desire to win the ball. Everyone is used to Manchester United showing up and really make a game of it at Anfield, even in recent years, but Sundays showing was probably the worst United performance at Anfield in the history of the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp summed it up nicely when he said that Manchester United wanted to attack but were just pinned back for most of the game and were not allowed out of their own half by a dominant Liverpool side.
A very true statement which is even more worrying than United simply playing a defensive game because Manchester United were outplayed and outclassed in every area of the pitch which is something that nobody is used to seeing. More worryingly is the fact that last season United conceded 28 goals over 38 games. After 17 games this season United have already conceded 29 goals. Surely this is a sign to the board that progress is not on the horizon and he has to go.
My money is firmly on him not being United manager come January but regardless of my opinion he really needs to put together a good run of results and strengthen quite a few areas in the winter window but will the board allow him to invest in a squad he might not be in charge of next season? The clubs activity in the January market could tell a story about the specials ones future in Manchester.