Jose Mourinho ended his press conference by holding up three fingers at the end of a tempestuous post-match press conference in the aftermath of United’s disastrous 3-0 loss to Tottenham at home. It appeared as though the former Champions League winning manager was trying to indicate that he had won more Premier League titles than the other 19 managers combined. Though, all he did was indicate the margin by which his team was destroyed. He walked out of the press conference as if he had commanded the respect of his critics. Instead, he looked like a bumbling fool. Mourinho had watched from the touchlines as his team was humbled by a top six rival.
They conceded three goals. For the second time in a matter of a few days, United conceded three goals. Against Brighton and now against Totteham, his team were a defensive shambles. Nobody in that room was thinking about Mourinho’s Premier League triumphs. The members of the media who were present there only had on thought in mind: How much longer would this go on for? While he was barking about his glorious past, they were fixated on the present; and more importantly, they were concerned about the future.
Nobody is denying that 55 year-old Portuguese manager does not have a stellar managerial. League titles, domestic cups, and three European titles spanning a career that has taken him from across some of the best teams in the modern game. Though, that is all in the past. Wayne Rooney is probably one of the more underrated and underappreciated players in United history. Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Goliath of the game who was won titles with every team he has been with. Bastian Schweinsteiger was a World Cup winning midfielder who had won countless titles with the Bavarian giants, Bayern Munich. Mourinho forced them all out of Old Trafford. He did not care about their respective golden CV’s. Jose was only concerned about what they could provide for Manchester United in the here and now. All three players were on the decline and he took a pragmatic approach when he evaluated their roles in the club. He was able to get past their past success, so why can’t Mourinho find a way to do the same for himself?
He still a few good years left in him – that is if he is able to let go of his glorious past. They way that most teams approach football has changed and he is in danger of being left behind. His outdated mentality of wielding unquestionable authority simply does not fly. Watching him on the touchline is not exhausting, but it feels like seeing a player that belongs in a museum. He’s allowed himself to become a remnant of the past who is confused as to why he is archaic.
Tottenham were taken out of the game during the first half. United had done an excellent job to not give chances away and kept the pressure on their back four. Everything capitulated as soon as the second half began. The momentum that the Red Devils had built during the first period of play completely evaporated. After falling behind in the 50th minute, the game was over from there. It was the surrender of a lifetime. Past Mourinho teams would have never given up like United did last night. Somehow, Jose has been in charge of this club for a little over two years and he could look less in charge of his squad. This looks nowhere near his three Premier League wining sides, let alone the legendary 2009-10 Inter Milan side that won a European treble. So why, oh why is Jose demanding the respect for three Premier League titles he won those many years ago?
Manchester United look like a shadow of the team they once were. As does their manager. He needs to focus on his present and more importantly his future should he want for us to cherish his past. The rhetoric spewing out of his mouth suggests that he has no idea where he or his team are heading. Clearly he has no idea what his best defensive lineup his. He switched from a back four to a three center back lineup where Ander Herrera was the third defender. Luke Shaw – a player he has scrutinized for the duration of his tenure – has somehow emerged as his only defensive mainstay. He had invested £60 million in Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof. Both players seem as though they are on the fringes of the squad. He constantly dodged and deflected questions as he failed to convince anyone (and probably himself) that he knew what he was doing. He complained that when his team won games, nobody was impressed with the way his teams played. Well guess what, they aren’t winning and they are playing like schoolboys.
Deep down, he knows that winning has to be prioritized over the way his team plays. Every one of his previous clubs has proved that. It was a trademark philosophy that had worked for the better part of the past 15 years. Manchester United are accustomed to winning titles through tantalizing football. The tradeoff may have seemed worth it when Jose was first hired. After three seasons of mediocrity under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, maybe Jose would be the man to get this storied franchise back on track. He prided himself on winning and that was exactly the mentality was need to reinvigorate the club. Now, his very being is taking Manchester United down a downward spiral. Reminiscing about the past will not help him or United.