The fall-out continues. Mail email@example.com
Cynic Mourinho is making me fall out of love with United
I leapt up and kissed the screen – in 1979 – United had just equalised against Arsenal in the Cup Final, I was watching in the basement of the Student’s Union in Belfast, at the height of the Troubles. United supporters were from both sides. We loved the team. By the time I had sat down Arsenal had scored and won the match. I was devastated.
Last night I watched a United team that could not even try to win against a Championship team. They were not just beaten they were outplayed.
Then the cynic says they were unlucky. Is that his defence? Really Jose? That’s it. Not that you cannot motivate a team to try and win the Excuse Cup again, or that your tactics are ruining young and old players alike. You come on all handsome and smart, looking like a really class act, then you open your mouth.
I hated Moyes football and think he is a bit of an idiot, my senses were dulled to sleep by Van Gaal, but the cynic is making me lose the love that has been there since I met George Best when I was about eight. It is more than the football, it is his attitude and demeanour. It is not good enough. It is not United.
Man United need continuity next time
I think it’s far too soon and far too reactionary to be talking about getting rid of Mourinho, but it does raise an interesting point about the selection of his eventual successor. As Gary Neville alluded to last week, United’s recent (post-Ferguson) transfer business has been a bit of a disaster. We still have loads of Ferguson’s squad playing a regular part (De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young, Carrick, plus Lingard and Rashford, though neither of those were really Ferguson players); Fellaini and Mata from Moyes’ tenure; Romero, Blind, Rojo, Shaw, Herrera and Martial from van Gaal; and obviously the ones that Jose has brought in.
We have had three managers who have had very different ideas about player recruitment, so we’ve now got a mish-mash squad, not really suited to one style or another. If we go with a different style manager again, as a result of the current complaints about Mourinho’s style of football, then we are going to be setting ourselves even further back. When the time comes to replace Mourinho – and it isn’t now, in my opinion – we have to make sure that the players available to him fit into his desired style of play. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be signing new players in the future, but we’ve got to start planning further ahead than just the current season.
I wholeheartedly agreed with the signing of players at or near the peak of the powers now; Mourinho’s first job was to bridge the unprecedented chasm that had formed between us and the rest of the big clubs – we had fallen way, way behind – but that is only a short term plan, and is not sustainable. After three Jose transfer windows, we have made up ground in the league and, though we are still some way off the high standards being set by City, we are faring way better than at any other time since Ferguson left. The problem is that Mourinho doesn’t seem to be able to find a way to beat the big sides, though we have (last night excepted) been able to get results against the weaker teams. When he does leave – which I believe will be of his own accord, and sooner rather than later, with PSG his likely next destination – we need to find consistency. We need a manager who can take a lot of what we have now, trim the wheat from the chaff, and bring a bit more cutting edge and ruthlessness against our rivals.
It would be rash to remove Mourinho because of the team’s current form, midway through a season in which we’re probably breaking par. Better to wait until an obvious upgrade stands out from the crowd. If I was on the United board then I’d have half an eye on David Wagner at Huddersfield, though it is still early days in his Premier League career. He is doing an excellent job and has quite successfully implemented a similar style to Mourinho with a comparatively meagre operating budget, and unlike Sean Dyche seems to have a bit more gravitas (for want of a better word) about him, so I feel like he might get a better response from the egos. We’ll have a better idea of his capabilities at the end of the season, but I definitely wouldn’t be ruling him out as a candidate.
We cannot afford to flip-flop to a passing, possession-based, Barcelona/City-style manager, because it would require an incredible investment to even begin to implement – the squad we have now are nowhere near that. We are better off sticking with Mourinho, at least for the rest of the season, and seeing where that gets us. Even if he doesn’t swan off to PSG when Emery inevitably gets sacked for not winning the Champions League, he rarely stays longer than three years anyway, and another season of being bettered by Pep will just about finish him off I reckon. We probably weren’t going to win anything major this year, which I suppose is part of the problem – the resignation that despite spending a truckload we’re still lagging behind the best – but changing managers now isn’t going have any effect on our fortunes this season. Just be a bit wiser next time and go for a bit of continuity instead of radical changes.
You will not miss Jose when he goes
Jose Mourinho did an amazing job at Chelsea. He instilled a winning mentality at the club which we are still benefiting from 12 years later. The trophies that he helped us win are some of the greatest achievements in the club’s history, but his post-match interview last night is a timely reminder of why I was not remotely upset to see him go, and it’s the reason United fans will feel the same when he leaves.
He has done a good job at United. Not great, but good. But over time that attitude grates on you as a supporter, and clubs like Chelsea and United don’t need to inspire additional hatred from opposing fans.
Congratulations to Bristol City on a superb achievement. What a fantastic cup run! I look forward to meeting you in the final.
Adam H, CFC
…Mourinho claims Bristol City were lucky. If that is what he believes luck is then he has been very lucky in his life as a manager. Moreover, he goes ahead and puts blame on some of his players.
Personally, I think it has just hit Mou the only trophy he can lay a hand on this season is the FA Cup (He should be praying the FA Cup specialist aka Wenger does not prevail this season) and the frustration is showing.
Until the end of the season expect more of such remarks.
Ian (Bristol fans invading the pitch was not over celebrating, Right?) Nairob
Man United not in such dire straits
First time writer, long time reader. Are other United fans complaining this morning being serious? This is what is wrong with football recently, expecting Football Manager style results all the time. Just a few points to make:
1. Last season we finished 6th, in truth no where near Champions League places. This season we are currently 2nd.
2. Like Gary Neville said the other day on Sky – our recruitment since Fergie left has been awful. At least under Mourinho we have signed players who ‘should’ be deciding big games (Lukaku, Pogba, Miki, Ibra).
3. Bristol City were a class above last night. Completely deserved it and clearly wanted it more. Their first goal was utter class, love seeing a worldy regardless of who scores it.
4. It is Mourinho’s second season. We have had several years of bang average football recently. Last season we won the Europa League and League Cup. This year we are still in two cup competitions and we are second in the league. No one would be calling for Fergie’s head at this point in a season if in the same position.
Are we playing the best football ever seen? No. Are we a massive improvement on last year? Yes. If we can finish second this year and have a decent run in the Champions League and FA Cup I’d be reasonably pleased. Then expect a full title challenge next season. If we are still miles off City (or whoever is top, assuming it’s not us) next season then a decision would have to be made, but at the moment it’s about progressing as a team. Mourinho is doing a decent job.
Dale Lamb (Last day off before Xmas – spending it wisely achieving unrealistic goals on fm18)
Ted, Manchester is bang on in this morning’s mailbox. I wrote in after the red card, jokingly, suggesting that Bellerin had seen it coming and put his leg in that weird position to limit the damage. It never got published but the premise was Pogba does this all the time – he overstretches and puts himself in the position where it looks like he’s stamping down with his studs. I don’t think he’s necessarily doing it deliberately but if you watch his gait, particularly when sprinting, he has a very long legged technique. He’s also not very fast so when he knocks the ball a yard too far he ends up combining a stretching leg with a tackle and 9/10 he nicks a toe on the ball bit 1/10 he gives away a free kick. Some of those 10% will be yellow cards and some will be red but all could be avoided in my opinion.
He is also very petulant, evidenced after the red card a few weeks ago and again last night when he got his yellow. He might be United’s MVP but if he can’t keep his head then he won’t play enough games for it to matter. I’d be interested to hear from a Juve fan if this was an issue over there?
Also, can we stop comparing stats against subsets of the league. Oh he only scored .8 goals against the bottom 3.5 teams in the 5 week period between September 10th and October 28th. He’s SHIT! It’s a 20 team league and it’s played over 38 games. Whoever is on top at the end is the winner. End of story. Same goes for players – no-one remembers how many Shearer scored against the combined top 5 in 1995 do they?
Alex, (interesting that Leicester and Burnley are never considered in these ‘top 6’ teams – vaguely recall them doing well over the last couple of years), Ayr
From a Bristol City fan
It’s so difficult to try and explain how it feels to witness something like that, but this is the best I can do: as a Bristol City fan, you often have to comfort yourself with, “oh well, maybe next time.” All those games where we didn’t quite find that last minute goal; last season’s run where we just kept losing; the seasons where we’ve missed out on promotion. The final thought is always, “maybe next time it’ll be better.” Last night, Next Time finally arrived. A moment you couldn’t have imagined possible happened to us, and it’s what makes being a football fan so addictive, so frustrating, and frankly, so f*cking beautiful.
Jamie (FFS everyone, we’re called Bristol City, not Bristol).
P.S. There was a kid sat in front of that fell asleep, and managed to snooze through Korey Smith’s goal. Can you imagine?
More on Phil Neville…
Clement’s been sacked. I’m not here to argue whether it was a good decision or not but… What is Phil Neville?
Tammy Abraham may not have set the league alight, but he’s scored four goals. But he’s a terrible signing. Because he’s young?
And I know Sanches hasn’t lived up to expectations but he’s not a playmaker. So he’s not going to replace Sigurdsson’s creativity. He’s box to box. More like Fer.
And then he decides to berate Swansea for not having a goalscorer. For 10 minutes, he complains about them not having a goalscorer…And how they need to sign a striker.
I think it’s pretty obvious they’re lacking creativity (and a left back) but not according to India’s go-to pundit, philly.
Sood CFC (anyone but Pulis) India
Jibbing into Northampton
I met up with a few mates for beers the other night and we talked about football ’til closing time as you do. One fella Ian is a Man City fan, home and away for 50 odd years. He was talking about a league game at Northampton Town when City were in the third tier.
Tickets were very tight, he didn’t have one but drove to Northampton anyway. I’ve never been to Northampton for football but apparently their old ground had a pub next to it which my mate Ian reasonably thought would be a decent place to ask around for a ticket. It wasn’t happening though, nobody had spares but he was told not to worry, if he stays in the pub, he would see the game.
He trusted the locals but at a minute to three he was getting a bit nervous although the boozer was still full. Then, bang on 3pm, the landlord rang the bell, lifted the end of the counter, opened a back door and everybody walked through, into the bleeding ground.
How good is that? I’ve not heard of a more enjoyable way to jib into a ground.
This week’s Unofficial Weekly Awards. Any seriousness is your own
Premier League Player of the Week – Raheem Sterling
It’s beyond obvious to say that no one should ever have to go through what he did. However, that Sterling dealt with that and then took it all out on Tottenham Hotspur deserves every praise. He’s a delightful player.
Football League Player of the Week – Jack Robinson
The QPR man scored his first ever goal with a header, before adding his second ever goal with a long-range shot.
European Player of the Week – Sergio Floccari
Although I watch a lot of ice hockey, there are players I lose track of from time to time, before finding myself surprised that someone is still going. This happened in football when I saw that Sergio Floccari, who last registered with me when he left Atalanta for Genoa in 2009. He’s now at SPAL, and scored in their win over Benevento.
Non-League Player of the Week – Kieran Preston
Unfortunate to be on the losing side after a fine display of how effective a sweeper keeper (in both aspects) can be.
Best Goal – Abdoulaye Doucoure
A laser-guided thunderb*st*rd.
Best Save – Kasper Schmeichel
Made a point-blank save on a Christian Benteke header by spreading himself wide. Couldn’t help being reminded of someone.
Best Tactical Move – Roy Hodgson
Having told his star/only striker to take the boos on the chin and learn from it, he was rewarded with a fine performance from Christian Benteke, aided by Wilfried Zaha rocking a free role.
Worst Tactical Move – Eddie Howe
Not the only team to concede a lot of goals, but with every week there is more evidence of what Liverpool do. Howe’s lack of pragmatism, and his players constantly leaving the game wide open for their opponents, cost them. Even Crystal Palace only lost 1-0, for heaven’s sake.
Premier League Loanee of the Week – Ivan Toney
Wigan’s man on-loan from Newcastle United scored in their convincing win over AFC Wimbledon.
Dick Move – Richard Keys
No, not those screenshots. Your Key to Tosh believed he was not going on an “anti-foreign” rant while doing precisely that, and patronising lots of clubs.
Misconception of the Week – Aden Flint
Bristol City’s eye-catching centre-back stands 6’6″ tall and as such is often described as “an aerial threat”, presumably because being taller than everyone else makes it easier to head the ball. However, according to Transfermarkt, he’s had 11 goals since the start of last season, and only three have been headers. And yes, I have chosen that cutoff so it fits my argument.
Quote of the Week – Ian Holloway
The wacky japester told Channel 5 he’d jokingly suggested the anti-doping control officers should test Jack Robinson, taking the edge off one of the finest days of Robinson’s career to date.
Inevitable Managerial Decision of the Week – Paul Clement
Sacked by Swansea City leaving them bottom of the league. It wasn’t his fault the club sold his best players, but as he made a prestigious reputation as a coach, he must surely take some of the blame for his players’ underperformance.
Mailboxer of the Week – Rosh, MUFC
For failing to understand that not only has Ederson proved capable of making fine saves, but that the best goalkeepers/defences work symbiotically to take away chances. Therefore saves are not the be all and end all of judging a keeper’s worth.
Dembele of the Week – Siramana Dembele
Clearly worked his Porto charges hard as they delivered a 3-1 win over Marítimo to stay top of the table on goal difference.
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven