Our team of writers have shared their thoughts on Jose Mourinho’s position as Manchester United.
It’s a hot topic at the moment, every man and his dog has a view on whether Mourinho should be kept or removed of his role at Old Trafford.
Because football is full of opinions and – like an arsehole, everyone has one – I didn’t have to force these views out of any of the writers. This how they feel right now, October 2nd before any smart-arse brings it back to our attention in two-years when Mourinho leads the mighty Reds to European glory…
Without further ado, THE VERDICT… Is it time Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho?
Dale O’Donnell – Editor-in-Chief
Manchester United’s problems won’t disappear immediately after sacking José, but that is the most immediate fix.
The Glazer family don’t give a f**k about progression as long as we qualify for the UEFA Champions League. That model will never register with United fans and we’re going nowhere.
Ed Woodward has played a role in appointing all managers post-Fergie, especially the previous two, and should be nowhere near the recruitment process. The power hungry clown will no doubt edge his way in when the time comes around.
My preference now – for an immediate fix – is to get someone in as interim manager between now and the end of the season. No definite solution until a DoF is found. That should be part of their job. Someone with a good football brain, if we can trust Manchester United of 2018 to do that.
Paul Rowles – Writer
I have never been an advocate for Manchester United sacking managers, a view embellished by two decades of being spoilt rotten by the greatest manager to grace the game, however, the current situation at United is becoming more and more untenable by the day. There are not just murmurs of player discontent, it is in plain sight. To a man, the players put in gutless, spineless, diabolical performances at West Ham. It seemed like the players were trying to ambush Mourinho in front of the watching world. They may well have got just that, though Mourinho’s decisions and tactics did not help his cause.
This is a manager who has led us to our highest league finish since Fergie retired, bagged a couple of trophies and secured Champions League football. That said, it is widely accepted something has to give and, as much as I could, you simply cannot sack wholesale players, the manager is always the one to have his head under the guillotine. The weekend opened up gaping David Moyes esque holes and was our rock bottom under Mourinho. The signs have been there since the summer- lack of player recruitment, Mourinho predicting a ‘bad’ season and his downbeat demeanour stemming from losing Rui Faria. It appears Mourinho, three seasons into the role, still does not know his best eleven and there is no defined style of play which is on view at our rivals or, the way it’s going, former rivals. There has been a lot of money spent under Mourinho too with minimal reward- arguably Zlatan (a free transfer), Matic and Lukaku can be considered success stories.
Should he be afforded the luxury of another week, he has two home games, Valencia and Newcastle, and undoubtedly he needs two wins to save his bacon. We will certainly get another indication of whether the players are angling for a new voice.
Changing the manager is the most immediate fix and, despite Mourinho’s joking, a drop in the ocean for the United money men. It would not take away all our problems though, as they are much more deeply rooted and difficult to remove.
Has the time come to sack Mourinho? With regret, yes it has, but don’t ask me who replaces him!
Jamie Spoor – Writer
I’ve been staunchly behind Mourinho as all the time he’s United manager I will back him and support him, but something needs to change. The club’s a mess and there’s a hierarchy of blame. I think he has to go – he’s a man that looks to have lost all semblance of the plot. The West Ham defeat felt like the point of no return – the formation and selection didn’t make sense, I couldn’t see what the tactics were and it’s clear the players aren’t giving their all. If he is sacked, the new manager would have the same problems but a decision has to be made as this can’t go on.
We’ve got two home games coming up against Valencia and Newcastle, if we can a result from both of these it will help the storm die down a little and might buy him time – he was my immediate choice to replace Sir Alex, a winner and a man with a big enough ego to not be daunted by the scale of the task. I’d have loved him to succeed but it just hasn’t worked out, I think the club needs a complete change in direction and unfortunately, I don’t feel Jose can be a part of that.
I really wanted it to work with jose, he seemed the right appointment at the time with Guardiola across town and Klopp down the road, but this is year three and he’s not done what he was brought in to do, which was to mount a title challenge if not win it. The first season was decent with two trophies and Champions League football but we’ve gone backwards since then and this season it’s all unravelled. The issues in the boardroom have been well documented, but the style of play is non existent, there has been fall outs and the dressing room is broken beyond all repair. Jose’s appointment was divisive enough at the start but now even the most staunch supporter of both him and the team have turned. It’s sad to see, we really need stability and anyone can see the problems are deep rooted but a change has to be made sooner rather than later.
Jimmy Williams – Frequent Contributing Writer
When Louis Van Gaal was dismissed in May 2016 having led Manchester United to an FA Cup victory, the man I wanted to replace him was Jose Mourinho. I was a big advocate for Mourinho at that time and I was desperate for him to succeed. I am still desperate for him to succeed. After winning the League Cup and Europa League in his first season, last season ended with defeat in the FA Cup final and an uninspiring 19 points behind that mob in sky blue. It has to be said that they played the best football of their 10-year history. Okay, I am being facetious now.
Now, we are in season three of the Jose Mourinho tale. ‘Season 3 syndrome’. More fake news that bores the hell out of me I have to say. In his third season at Chelsea, they finished second in the League, reached the semi-final of the Champions League, and won both the League and FA Cups. With Real Madrid, they won the Spanish Super Cup, reached the Copa Del Rey final, and the semi-finals of the Champions League. Is the ‘season 3 syndrome’ tag real or just based on a disaster campaign at Chelsea having won the league the season before? I’ll let you decide.
#MourinhoOut is doing the rounds on Twitter. The performance against West Ham was unacceptable and there is no getting away from that. I fear that sacking another manager will set us back yet again. To those of you that state Zidane will get the best out of Paul Pogba, I ask you this: shouldn’t Paul Pogba have enough about him to get the best out of himself? Isn’t playing for Manchester United a big enough motivation? These ‘top’ players should be playing for the badge and the fans, regardless of who the manager is. Paul Pogba has got away with it for too long. He has undermined Mourinho yet again with his recent comments and I fully support the manager on this one. He is not a captain of Manchester United: not in a month of Sunday’s. It is an insult to the likes of Roy Keane and Gary Neville who gave every bit of their soul on the pitch when representing Manchester United.
At what point are some of the underperforming players held accountable? Jose Mourinho has to get the best out of the players. The players have to show more for Jose Mourinho. The two stories conflict. Where does the truth lie? For me, somewhere in the middle.
I hate to break it to some of you but Jose Mourinho is not the crux of the problem at Manchester United. It doesn’t take a genius to see Utd are short in defence. There is not a top class centre-back between any of them. How have four managers not figured out that Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are not up to the job? Seriously, if that is what we are pinning our hopes on when the going gets tough, we can forget about it.
I’m not going into detail because we all know the score: the Glazers still have their communion money and as long as their pockets are being lined, and Utd are in the Champions League, they will be pretty satisfied with life. Ed Woodward has yet again this summer proved he is not up to it when it comes to recruiting players. Businessmen making football decisions. Seriously?
To echo Gary Neville’s recent comments, why on earth would you give Jose Mourinho a new contract and then not back him in the transfer market? I understand those of you that will say he has been heavily backed and has bought duds. That is a good point in many respects. However, if you give a manager a new contract, you have got to back him until the end of that contract. It’s that simple. To do otherwise is absurd.
I am not on the Jose out bus. Not yet, anyway – I am in the minority, of that I am sure. I appreciate and acknowledge that in spite of my previous points, the buck has to stop with the manager. I am not sure his pragmatic style will ever be in keeping with the ‘Manchester United way.’ Whatever that is. I do not enjoy his demeanour. Further, I don’t agree with his man-management skills. or lack of them, as seems to be more the issue. He does not seem to be the same man as the one we loved to hate from afar a few years ago. Has he lost his magic? Perhaps.
But, while Jose Mourinho is the manager of Manchester United, he has my backing. When he was appointed, he asked to be judged after three years. That is what I will do.
It is not pretty, and he is not perfect. I have called for the head of the manager before to realise that the grass is not always greener. Zidane inherited Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane at Madrid. He will arrive in Manchester to find Jones, Smalling and Lindelof awaiting him.
Jonathan Brook – Writer, Podcaster, Comedian, Jack of all trades
Sometimes in life, you get the right person. The one you’ve wanted for years. The one who you had all your faith in that with them in your life, everything would be incredible.
That’s how it felt when Mourinho arrived at United. After 3 confusing and stuttering years blundering from one bland confusing period to another, we now finally had a proven winner who could return us back to the top table where we belong!
What’s becoming clearer by the game is that the man born to make the biggest job in British football his own is sinking and sinking fast. I feel for the man. He’s working with an arm tied behind his back as the club force him to carry on using the poor signings of previous managers. They fail to push on and secure him the transfer targets he wants to try and push United forward. I’d love to see him succeed at United, his appointment was our chance to achieve great things again, but with such poor backing from our owners, I don’t see him or anyone delivering the success Sir Alex helped us to take for granted.
Gavin Parry – Writer
I have never been one to advocate the sacking of a manager after an indifferent start to a season. However, this season has a very different feel to it completely.
Worst of all is the fallout with the players, which now seems beyond any repair at all. Don’t get me wrong, the players aren’t blameless in this at all. They either lack ability, determination, attitude or appetite for the fight. The board haven’t helped and this club isn’t in the best shape right now, there is no plan in place at all. I think Jose’s position has become untenable and it would be in the best interests of the club if he went sooner than later.
Matthew Henderson – Writer
I think it’s come the time he needs to go. I’ve tried and tried, found excuse after excuse to back him, but there is nothing else left out there to justify what is happening. You want to stay positive and believe that things will all turn around but there’s just nothing to go on at all. He’s alienating everyone at the club, and even the most ardent supporter is now turning.
West Ham was the breaking point for me. That was a game where he needed to go out there and just attack, attack, attack, but instead, he played 3 attackers and stayed firmly in his comfort zone. Teams lose matches, but for a team to lose a match without even trying to win it is criminal wherever you are. We go into the Valencia game fearing that it will end in defeat and leave any hopes of a European run in the bin with the chances of winning the league.
Since the summer, he has encapsulated everything that made me not want him in the first place. His battle with Woodward, his demeanour in the media, his feud with Pogba and even harking as far back as signing Sanchez just to one-up Guardiola and City. It’s the actions of a bitter man who maybe saw his powers diminishing. I can’t see an end to this malaise under Mourinho, whether the next man can combat the other issues at the club is to be seen, but the only thing I feel for sure is Jose ain’t the one.
Mike Knight – Writer
It would be churlish to suggest United’s problems start and end with the manager as anyone with half a brain can see the rot is deeper rooted.
Nevertheless, Mourinho is and has always been entirely the wrong man for the job. Specifically, the Mourinho who emerged from his spell in Madrid. The swaggering arrogance replaced by a man bearing grudges for imagined slights and determined to set himself as an antagonist against the rise of furious attacking football. A footballing equivalent of the great Roman general, Gaius Marius in his final years: A great hero of the people hallowed out to be replaced by a bitter, vengeful, paranoid avatar.
After the dourness of David M***s and Louis Van Gaal, United needed a manager whose initial task would be to get fans enthused and excited by a Manchester United again. Entertainment would be the priority after three years of floundering as the pale shadow of a decent United side. Instead Ed Woodward, in his continued incompetence, allowed a toxic situation to develop by hiring Mourinho. A manager who now plays primarily negative football and thrashing around like a wounded, mindless beast has now set himself in opposition to his own players.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of how players have conducted themselves, Mourinho has shown no desire to work with his players to turn things around. He’s become more concerned with salvaging his own reputation. The post-match interview demonstrated a man who didn’t care about the job or the club.
In his final season at Chelsea, he left the defending champions languishing in 16th, in a relegation battle with a shattered squad. This is a harbinger of United’s future if they don’t move on Mourinho now. The squad isn’t perfect but it is capable of much better than what we’re seeing.
James Westwood – Writer
Mourinho’s time at United is up, after just over two years and constant reports of unrest behind the scenes. He is not the same man that charmed everyone in England with his bravado and charisma when he first arrived in English football back in 2004.
At 55-years-old, he has been left behind by his peers at the highest level and seems unwilling to change his style of play despite the obvious flaws in his approach at Old Trafford. Watching United play has become a chore rather than a privilege and the attacking talent within the squad is being stifled by his negative, laborious preferred style of play.
The Red Devils are going backwards under his stewardship and the players have lost respect for him, most notably Paul Pogba, who looks the most likely to win their ongoing dispute given the short shelf-life of managers in the Premier League these days.
Woodward, pick up the phone and call Zidane, NOW.