Jose Mourinho has a terrible poker face. You do not need to be a body language expert to recognise that United’s manager is a grumpy man out on tour. He has history of his third season being the one where chaos rains down, the proverbial hits the fan and he makes a barrel load of excuses which absolve him of any blame before an acrimonious departure with not too many people crying over it.
It is only July, a competitive ball has not been kicked in anger yet there are waves of discontent among sections of our supporters. Rightly so. This man, tasked with leading the club back to its former heights, is a picture of despair, disappointment and misery. When the chips are down, like they are after City’s waltz to the title last season, you expect those in leadership positions to show exactly that.
Instead, we have the toys get chucked out of the pram in various ways on pre-season: Knocking the players he has out on tour, griping how United are short to compete and his current team do not stand a chance of winning the title. It is all just ugly. The excuses are coming out again, few would have guessed July to be the date they would though.
It has been coming too…
The most impassioned Mourinho has arguably ever got was defending his own position in a 10 minute rant to rival Rafa’s rehearsed facts. That press conference delivered a new footballing jargon- ‘football heritage’, which challenges Van Gaal’s famed ‘philosophy’ in memorable for the wrong reasons quotes. You seldom see animation from him- he doesn’t have to go all Klopp on us and act like a lunatic- but it sure as hell beats the forlorn, smacked arse despondency that has become his default.
This is a guy who you just want to understand the ethics, history and expectations of the club, but he isn’t mirroring those in his current demeanour. He is still living in the Lowry Hotel: Now it is not mandatory to find a permanent home in Manchester, that doesn’t define your tenure, but it doesn’t strike me as a guy who is wholly content personal preference or not.
Upon joining United, Mourinho talked a fantastic game- requesting United’s fans to etch the previous three years from their memories. This was brilliant, a whole new dawn, the beginning of something a lot had been pining for when Ferguson called it quits.
I put it to you that things have not gone to plan as we had hoped.
Before the wrong end of the stick is received, this is no Mourinho out tirade. For as long as he is the manager of the club I love, he will get my backing.
But, I have very rarely been dreading the start of a new season and have not felt this way for a long time, arguably since Chelsea’s all-dominating side.
United were able to break that spell of dominance but, at the time of writing, you would be hard pressed to see how this United side can follow suit. Especially seeing as the manager has no belief that we can win it, how is that meant to inspire the fans?
Fact is, United may well not win a title for a while yet, I can accept that as long as there is a clear direction in place and we see signs of improvement.
The question is, does Mourinho even see that? If he can’t, what hope do we have?
Let me re-refer you to the history of his third season being the one where chaos rains down, the proverbial hits the fan and he makes a barrel load of excuses which absolve him of any blame before an acrimonious departure with not too many people crying over it.
One wonders whether that’s where we’re heading.