Following their 3-1 defeat at West Ham, Manchester United have equaled their worst start to a Premier League season, by just accumulating 10 points after 7 games. As the current format of the game dictates, a team’s performance (or lack of) is attributed to their manager’s strategies – both on and off-field. It’s no wonder that Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho, is under tremendous pressure to deliver immediate results. However, how come the man who is widely regarded as a master tactician be failing at the greatest football club in the world.
Jose Mourinho has a long and illustrious history with a myriad of clubs across Europe. His first success came at Porto FC in Portugal, when he led the club to its first UEFA Champions League glory. His unusual strategy involved adapting to the opponent’s weaknesses, forcing Roman Abramovich to appoint him as the manager of Chelsea FC. He shone as his role in the club – not only developing talents such as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard but also leading the club to numerous Premier League glories. His specialty was indeed, the knockout format of Champions League, which he managed to win with next club Inter Milan as well.
Following a tryst at nearly every league in Europe, he returned to the Premier League to his former club Chelsea FC. Following an unsuccessful season, he was appointed as Manchester United’s manager in 2016. In his first season, he led the club to EFL Cup and Europa League glories. Manchester United, who had failed to appoint a stable manager since the departure of legendary Sir Alex Fergusson, thought that it would be Mourinho who finally led them to the platform which they dominated for a decade. The future was hopeful for Jose and for the Red Devils’ fans.
However, fate took a cruel turn as Mourinho failed to deliver a single trophy to Manchester United the following season. While rivals Manchester United nicked the trophy with blistering football, Mourinho failed to deliver with his arsenal of world-class footballers. There were incidences of Manchester United players falling out with the manager, but like always, he took the blame upon himself to shift the focus from his players. Nonetheless, Manchester United not only failed to win a trophy but also delivered football that was lackluster in nature.
As the current season has progressed, more news has emerged of his spats with players. Paul Pogba, Manchester United’s costliest signing till date, has failed to recreate his performance that resulted in France winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Even Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean International star, has been a shadow of his former self under Mourinho. Mourinho, known to bring out the best out of every player, has failed in managing some of the biggest footballing stars in Manchester United. In the past, he has built his team on a strong defense, however, Manchester United has consistently been conceding goals to sub-par opponents.
Many believe the pressure of managing Manchester United has taken a toll on Jose Mourinho’s performance. He performed well when there was no pressure on him – which enabled him to lead underdog teams to victory. However, Manchester United has an obligation to perform…and the pressure has gotten the best of him. The question remains – is there one last trick under Mourinho’s sleeve that can help Manchester United turn their season around?