Entering his third year at the helm of Manchester United, manager Jose Mourinho has appeared to have worn out his welcome mat.
At this point, management and fans alike expected the team to be battling for the top spot in the English Premier League, as well as garnering silverware through their other competitions.
With a record of 3-3-1 this season while finding themselves in tenth place after seven games, the British media has also joined the chorus for a change at the top. Aside from a lackluster performance this season, the “Special One” has not helped himself in the current campaign. Here are some of his biggest downfalls thus far.
Publicly removing the captain’s armband from Paul Pogba- While always a managers’ prerogative, those who have witnessed Pogba’s play since that time have seen a sharp decline in his level of play. Tact has never been a strength for Mourinho, but this type of action affects the player and the team as a whole.
Belittling striker Alexis Sanchez during a team practice session- After chasing the Chilean international last year and signing him, Mourinho felt he wasn’t giving 100 percent effort in their matches as well as team practices. What better way to motivate a team than to eviscerate the player in front of the entire squad during a practice session and leaving Sanchez off the roster that week?
“It’s never my fault”- As usual, after a 3-1 drubbing at the hands of lowly West Ham United on Saturday, the post-game interview was classic Mourinho. The team’s loss was due to poor referee officiating as well as his players not being mentally prepared for the match. Surely the manager should shoulder none of the responsibility for his team’s play.
Management Won’t Spend Enough in the Transfer Window- The “Special One” spent a large part of his summer bemoaning the lack of player transfers by Manchester United management. But the truth is that the Red Devils have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on transfers since Mourinho took over, beginning with Paul Pogba’s then-record $125 million deal.
In the last week of competition, the Red Devils drew at home to newly-promoted Wolverhampton, were eliminated in the third round of the Carabao Cup competition by Championship side Derby and lost to the Hammers 3-1. At this point of the season, MU have ten points and a negative goal differential, having been almost three decades since they had such a lackluster start.
Rumors abound that former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has been taking English lessons in the event of a managerial job opening at Manchester United. With most British papers all but predicting the imminent end of Mourinho, why would Edward Woodward and the Glazer family not give the Special One his special walking papers?
In a word, money. Just this past January the two parties agreed to a contract extension that pays Mourinho about $18 million a year through the 2020 season. So aside from the high price Manchester United would have to cough up in order to secure another top-flight manager, they would also be on the hook for some $36 million in compensation due to a former manager.
With matches against Valencia and Newcastle at Old Trafford this week, it is critical for the Special One to have his team show their best form against two average teams. The following week the EPL will be on international break, and one would think that any managerial changes would take place at that time. With that said, how are Zidane’s English classes coming along?