Jose Mourinho, Manchester United’s wild goose chase

Date published: Wednesday 14th March 2018 9:43

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‘Struggling to comprehend the disgrace’
Struggling to comprehend the disgrace of a football match which took place last night. These two easily winnable games against Seville were one of the kindest draws we could have had with a clear route into the quarter final. In both games we were utter dross, lethargic, uninspired, terrible. This was an absolutely huge opportunity to take Man United back to where they belong and we limped out of the competition in the most pathetic of manners. The team is inconsistent and incoherent, fluidity and cohesion between the attacking players sparks into life from time to time before disappearing again, sometimes for several games at a time.

It’s even worse when you consider the time scale of things. That tie against Seville was two years in the making, many more years if you consider we haven’t reached the quarter final since Moyes was in charge. Since then we’ve been a club trapped in comparative mediocrity, over awed by the shadow of itself, fighting to get back to its former glory. This was a simple and easy opportunity to begin to do so – we shat on our doorstep and shot our selves in the foot simultaneously.

These years of Man United mediocrity have culminated in this two legged tie against Seville and what a culmination it was. No fight, no spirit, no talent, no nothing. Just anxiety and cautiousness and nervousness and lethargy and way too much respect for a team we could have walked all over. The names we’ve got on paper contrasted with the consistency and cohesion of performances we deliver, is simply not good enough.

Mourinho was hired to get us back where we belong in both the league and the champions league. Last year he spectacularly failed to deliver in the premier league but got a get out of jail free card by winning the Europa league. We should have finished in the top 4 but we couldn’t and managed to win the Europa league to get into this years champions league. Now we’ve improved massively in the league but are being blown away by a Man City team who have had similar investment from a manager who’s been there the same amount of time.

If we had managed to get into the quarter finals I would have had no optimism of getting past a Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Juventus. In fact, I would have been happy to get that far and that happiness is probably testament to how much lower the expectations are at Man United these days. But the quarter final of the champions league can’t be scoffed at after years of underperformance and being out of the competition. It would have been an important step in the right direction.

But we couldn’t even get that far and put in two absolutely terrible performances at this vital stage of the Man United rebuilding process. At least Tottenham went out fighting against a world class Juventus side, both teams swinging punches until the final whistle, playing like their lives depended on it for every minute of both ties. Man United can’t say the same.

This was the culmination of two years of Mourinho: we hired him to get us back to this level, we accepted his shoddy performance in the league last year as he managed to win the Europa and get us back into the champions league, and it was a long old road leading us all to last night at home against Seville where we didn’t even show up.

I’ve been talking about this seasons champions league since the middle of last season as we chased Europa league “glory”

What a wild goose chase these last 2 years have been!
Seb, MUFC

 

Jose, you make it hard for me to love you
I was hoping to have calmed down this morning but I’m still bloody livid at Jose and his cowardly tactics, all the goodwill he built up with the wins against Liverpool, Chelsea and Palace has been washed away in a deluge of turgid anti football.

When will he realise it’s not enough to just grind out a result? especially against a team ripe for a beating, pushing Rashford on the right so he can play Sanchez on the left, playing Fellaini instead of McTominay was waving a white flag, we should be going out there and battering an average Sevilla side not setting up to not get beat. His comments after the game will not sit well with United fans either, if we got knocked out after at least playing football I wouldn’t have minded that happens, what I can’t countenance is the bloody awful shitshow served up last night.

On a slightly different note WTF has happened to Pogba? one of football’s most exciting prospects turned into Carlton Palmer in 2 months, not sure if it’s Jose’s doing or the lad has given up, either way it needs sorting, along with Sanchez Pogba has been one of the poorest performers at United in the past few months unlike the much derided Lukaku who again was United’s best player last night.

Sort it out Jose, I’m not a Jose out guy but FFS you make it hard to love you sometimes.
Paul Murphy, Manchester

 

You get what you play for
You get what you play for. You will get results like the ones against Liverpool and Chelsea but ultimately if you play that negatively you are walking a thin line.

0-0 vs Seville (1st leg) – Parked the bus and nobody was sure if it was a good result.

2-1 vs Chelsea – Negative first half but dug themselves out of it second half.

2-3 vs Palace – Negative and dreadful first half, started to play at 2-0 down,fortunate last minute wonder strike.

2-1 vs Liverpool – Scored two long ball goals and parked the bus.

1-2 vs Sevilla (2nd leg) Negative, slow, ponderous and paid the price. Never looked like taking the game to inferior opposition.

If you look at the results above all of them could have gone the other way. The margins are so fine when you play this way. Utd could have lost to Chelsea, Palace and Liverpool and scraped through past Seville but my point is, if you don’t attack (especially against inferior opposition) you are always walking that fine line to defeat, as we saw last night.

Some Utd fans are waking up to Jose’s negative football, results against Liverpool, Chelsea and Palace have just been papering over the cracks.
Jimmy (Jose has been bus-ted) Spain

 

AN ACTUAL OPEN LETTER!
Dear Mr. Mourinho,

You don’t know me and probably don’t care who I am, but I want to share something with you.

Yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in fifty years of watching Manchester United play… I didn’t bother to finish watching the game.

We United fans think our club is special with its history and the legacy it lays down for future generstions. Regardless of how low, menial or depressing our own lives are, there is always a game to look forward to. The prospect of a barnstorming finish to get the heart racing, a piece of sublime skill that you try to replicate in the park later, or the passion from the players and the fans, which makes us love the club.

Today I witnessed a bunch of overpaid, disinterested strangers deliver an insipid, gutless performance. Frankly, i see more passion, and skill, in my coed over 30s league.

You may say that is the price of success but there is more to it than that. This is not a soulless corporation we are talking about. It’s about dreams and memories, not just to us fans of today, but future generations. Do you really want your legacy to be the manager who tore the soul out of the club?

Up until now, I have been a staunch supporter of yours and urged others to give you time, as United is a difficult club to handle. But now I, along with many other fans, realize that, faced with the choice between the United way and the Mourinho way, there is only one loser.
Adidasmufc

 

Jose curbs my enthusiasm
Long time since I wrote in as to be perfectly honest all my enthusiasm for United and therefore football in the wider scope has been strangled out of me by Mourinho’s style of football and the way he conducts himself.

He is so far behind what other top level managers are doing and how they approach the game its scary. It is the type of approach that the British managers who are scraping about at the bottom of the league adopt in order to avoid relegation.

Scholes nailed it on the head last night. He approaches every match with conservatism and caution and when he gets a result the pathetic approach is swept under the carpet. When it doesn’t work………….well its swept under the carpet again because its Mourinho.

I can see us doing an Arsenal over the next few seasons where the owners keep him in place to guarantee Champions League football without ever being truly competitive for the major trophies.

Hopefully time is catching up with him and the people who make the decisions realise but I am not holding my breath.
Plato – MUFC

 

Jose cares only about Jose
The press conference tells you everything you need to know. José does not care about the club, it’s traditions or even his players. Football is a career to him not a passion. He’s not motivated by a love of the game, attacking football or developing youngsters. He’s motivated by instant results, money and ego.

That’s why he gets booted out every 3 years after players grow tired of his shit. A toxic individual who has no place in the beautiful game.
Sean, MUFC

 

Manchester United’s defending is f*cking awful
That was genuinely one of the worst games I’ve ever watched, the fact I paid to watch it makes it even worse.

Where to start with a performance that bad. Fair play to Sevilla the best team won over two legs. However as with the second half against Liverpool we created our own problems through passive defending.

No doubt the mailbox will be full of people derided the team selection, and they’re right, but for me the wider issue is the way we defend.

We completely allow the opposition to retain position through a lack of pressure, with the intent of closing the gaps around our box, squeezing the pitch, and hoping for a misplaced pass followed by quick transitions towards their goal.

However we were so deep when Sevilla had the ball, that whenever we did win it, the wingers were stood next to the full backs and Lukaku was completely isolated, watching ball after ball fly over his head, in what could be optimistically called ‘hopeful’ passes.

The best teams no longer play like this, preferring a high press, with the intention of either winning the ball in attacking areas or forcing a long ball out from the defence through pressure from the forwards.

I can understand starting games on the front foot, and then reverting to ceding possession and strangling the game when you’re two nil up at half time. However to start a game of this importance in this manner in the hope of nicking a one nil win, after refusing to even attempt to score an away goal in the first leg was a dangerous tactic, and quite rightly we got punished for it.
Big MUFC (Manchester)

 

SLAM
The £1.5m Sir Alex Ferguson got from Juventus for Pogba is starting to look like a good bit of business.
Nick J

 

Thank you Sarah Winterburn
Thank you Sarah W for taking my exact thoughts and transplanting them into your article. Mourinho is killing this team. In years past I’d have been angry watching that performance but last night’s could not evoke anything other than apathy and relief that we were not going through to get an absolute hiding from Barca/Real/Bayern/City.

The thing that worries me most is that I believe that unless United go on a horror run of results, Mourinho is safe as houses for as long as he wants to be there. United have too many talented individuals to do horror runs. The team will win more games than they lose despite Mourinho’s team selections and tactics. Most United supporters for the last couple of years, post Moyes and VG, sensed there was a real upturn in fortune. Huge money was made available and it was obvious the powers that be decided to spend big in order to regain their seat at the big boys’ table. But with an anti-football manager at the helm, a man who does not tolerate disobedience or diversion from the defensive minded game plan, this money is now looking like it’s being misspent.

His arrogance used to be an accepted part of his character because he was a winner but nowadays his behaviour is childish and embarrassing. Going off on an unprompted rant against De Boer is a classic example when he was there to answer questions about football. He is no longer winning either and is proving inept at the most basic requirements of football management. I’m not going to go down the “fair play to Sevilla” route. They were awful and will be slaughtered in the next round if they draw one of the big guns. To be behind in the possession statistic after half an hour at home against an ordinary team who we HAVE to score against is unfathomable.

What’s next for United I don’t know but there are a few positions that badly need reinforcing in the summer. My fear is that unless we develop a more positive style of play that we will either end up buying the wrong players or start 2018-19 with the likes of Young (one good game does not a player make), Valencia and Smalling as first choice.
Mick, Dubai

 

Maybe La Liga is ok, hey?
I have a theory on why Manchester United got knocked out the Champions League by a team sitting fifth in La Liga with a negative goal difference. The theory goes like this – “the fifth best team in La Liga is better than the second best team in the English Premier League”.

It seems the majority opinion if that Manchester United blew it and this was a shock. But what if the only reason it’s a shock is that we underestimate just how good La Liga teams are?

Sevilla are no minnows if you look at their European record. They haven’t won a domestic title in a lifetime, but who would in a league that has both Real Madrid and Barcelona in it? Would English clubs win titles if they were in a super league containing Real/Barca? If we think they would succeed what do we base that on? The head to head record between English clubs and Spanish ones certainly doesn’t suggest so.

Obviously we are dealing with hypotheticals here. But here are two reasons to support my view the EPL is overrated and La Liga is underrated:

– Ferguson’s Manchester United dominated English football but the contrast between their consistent domestic success and regular European failure is stark. Yes there was the odd moment of glory, but there were utter humiliations too (I see your thrillingly close 1999 final win and raise you an utterly lopsided 2011 loss. I also remember what El Loco’s Bilbao did to Man Utd). In fact, it’s arguable the lessons Ferguson was taught by losing in Europe served him well in staying one step ahead of the curve in England.

– English players rarely ever move to La Liga. We often bemoan English players for not going abroad to get more game time, but the reason might not just be the players being unwilling to live abroad. It could simply be that when La Liga teams (and German Teams, and French Teams, and Italian Teams for that matter) look at English players – they simply don’t see anyone they think is worth buying. There are exceptions, like Owen and Beckham, but they are so rare it hardly makes a compelling argument that Europe’s better clubs are interested.

The most obvious objection to what I’m saying is that Manchester United’s players cost much more than Sevilla’s and therefore the market suggests they are better and this was a Man Utd failure rather than an expected result. This view seems reasonable but ignores that cost doesn’t equal value (If transfer value was an indicator of quality, then England would be a genuine contender at international tournaments) and also ignores that a champion team is better than a team of champions.

Not sure if I’ve convinced anyone here, but I think it’s at least “plausible” that we should have expected this result.

To head off a potential strawman against me about the relative competitiveness of the leagues, I’m saying La Liga is a better standard of football than the EPL, I’m not saying it’s a better entertainment product.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide

 

It is true
I may be drunk and just got home, but it just came up as Mark Hughes for Southampton on my feed thing. Good God. It’s all true, isn’t it. It really is completely true.
Rich, Cambridge, WBA


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