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Old 6th November 2017, 12:26   #1
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Default José Mourinho And The Battle For The Soul Of Manchester United

José Mourinho And The Battle For The Soul Of Manchester United

Bobby McMahon
Nov 5, 2017 @ 07:45 PM 1,239

After making a successful start to the season the bloom is now off the rose for Manchester United and manager José Mourinho.

After starting the season with six wins in the first seven Premier League games (scoring 21 goals and allowing 2), Manchester United has now recorded just a single win in its last four matches (scoring 2 goals and allowing 3) and is eight points behind Premier League leaders and bitter rivals Manchester City.

Upon a closer look at the schedule, it becomes apparent that the start was more of a mirage rather than a precursor of good things to come.

The present positions in the Premier League of United’s first seven opponents are 18, 19, 12, 14, 15, 13 and 20. The last four games have been against teams in the top ten positions - 5, 10, 3 and 4. Reality has hit United between the eyes.

The latest setback came with a 1-0 loss away to Chelsea. It was a game in which Manchester United was largely anemic going forward and outplayed for large stretches of the game. The only goal was scored by striker Alvaro Morato – his first in seven games – and the win brought much-needed relief to a Chelsea side that has also struggled in the last few weeks.

Any game between Chelsea and Manchester United is going to be intense but this one had an extra edge given José Mourinho’s two previous spells in charge of Chelsea.

Recent history was not on Mourinho and United’s side going into the game. Over the last 15 years at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea has beaten Manchester 10 times, drawn 5 and lost just once and the defeat came in a match in which Chelsea finished the game with just 9 men.

The latest stumble by United will only serve to intensify the criticism of Mourinho’s defensive tactics and his team's results away from Old Trafford since he arrived in the summer of 2016.

In 24 home Premier League matches, Manchester United has only lost one – a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in September of 2016. This season alone, Manchester United has won all five home matches while scoring 15 goals and conceding none.

Contrast that form with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses away from home.

What is more damning is Manchester United’s away record against the five teams considered to be its rivals.

In seven away matches under Mourinho against Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, Manchester United has lost 4, drawn 3 (all scoreless draws), scored a single goal and conceded 9.

Add to the mix Mourinho’s transfer spending over three transfer windows and you have to wonder how long Manchester United fans will put up with the attitude of playing not to lose rather than playing to win. (Mourinho has spent $405M (€349M/exchange 1.16) on new players while collecting $68M (€58M) for a net transfer spend of $337M).

The selection of Mourinho as Manchester United manager in 2016 ran counter to the club’s ethos and it was something only considered on account of the struggle endured since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2013 season.

The only cogent argument for hiring Mourinho was that he was a winner and a proven collector of trophies. Wins in the Europa League and the League Cup last season offered confirmation of that view although for a club of Manchester United’s stature the two cups could also be viewed as little more than a down payment on something of more significance.

As it stands at the moment Mourinho needs to deliver a Premier League championship and/or a Champions League win this season to muzzle his critics and the fans discontent.

Neither looks likely.

Trouble with the tax man

Last week José Mourinho became the latest soccer celebrity to face a Spanish judge over accusations of tax return improprieties.

The charges were not dissimilar to others brought against high profile players in the last year or so and relate to payments Mourinho received for his image rights.

Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes seems to be a consistent thread running through a number of these cases.

The Spanish prosecutor claimed that Mourinho had used offshore companies in Ireland, New Zealand and in the Caribbean to conceal $3.8M (€3.3M) in earnings.

On leaving court Mourinho announced that he had made all required payments and that the case was closed. However, a court spokesperson did not agree and later contradicted Mourinho’s version of events.

As far as the court is concerned the investigation remains open and Jose is still under investigation.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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