From ‘The Special One’ to ‘The Sacked One’, Jose Mourinho has once again fallen victim to his own third season syndrome. This marks Mourinho’s 3rd sacking, first with Chelsea in his first spell, and another at Chelsea in his 2nd spell ending in the 2015-16 season. With a record of 7-5-5 through 17 games and accumulating a goal differential of 0, Manchester United have parted ways with the Portuguese manager during his third season at the helm of the club. The Red Devils sit in 6th place with 26 points after matchweek 17, remaining closer to 14th placed Newcastle United than 4th placed Chelsea. After finishing a distant 2nd to the mightily impressive Manchester City last term, United now finds itself 19 points adrift of their city rivals already.
Jose Mourinho took over the reigns at United from Louis Van Gaal in 2016 and immediately led the club to its greatest year of success in the post-Ferguson era. In the 2016-17 season, Mourinho led United to 3 trophies, beginning with the Community Shield and finishing the season with the League Cup and the UEFA Europa League, guaranteeing United’s passage to the Champions League. Where exactly did it go wrong for Jose Mourinho?
Manchester United this season have endured their worst start to a campaign in the club’s history, prompting Mourinho’s exit before Christmas. United could not bare Mourinho’s presence at the helm of the club anymore that they now face a $15 million buy-out fee just to get his toxicity away from the club. Why would Manchester United’s board want to pay so much to release a manager of his pedigree from the club?
Starting with their performances obviously, Manchester United are a large step off of their prior season’s performances. Through 17 games in the league this season, the club has already conceded more goals than they have through all 38 games of last season. Much of that boils down to an inefficient rotation/selection of CBs and the inability to find his strongest CB pairing for the most difficult fixtures. The poor form of David De Gea since the World Cup has done Manchester United no favors either. The defensive style of Mourinho in an attacking-minded club in the form of United always seemed incompatible.. 3 seasons later and now we see that even the defensive lacks along with the attack. The inconsistent form of Romelu Lukaku, lack of trust in top-goalscorer Anthony Martial and dreadfully ineffective performances from Jesse Lingard, United look like a failing club from top to bottom
Away from the field, Mourinho was no stranger to creating rifts between the manager and player, most evident in his feud with club-record signing Paul Pogba. What started out as a match made in heaven upon his arrival, the relationship became strained after Pogba was reduced to bench duty on occasion. Following United’s loss to Frank Lampard’s Derby County in the FA Cup, training the next day resulted in a viral video showing Mourinho commenting something as Pogba walked by. The French midfielder stopped and starred in stunned fashion as the Portuguese manager then walked away, highlighting that the relationship between the manager and the club’s most expensive player was fractured, much like the club itself. This feud has taken away from other problems just as big that have damaged the interior of the club. Open criticism against players Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (before he left) only showed the media that he aimed to look at problems in players, not solve them. Along with all of that the failed transfer of Alexis Sanchez (the highest-paid player in the PL) highlighted the unnecessary and ineffective transfers that did not build United’s weaknesses (exactly what got him kicked out of chelsea the 2nd time around).
Jose Mourinho remains one of the most decorated managers in world football history but has a history of failing in his 3rd season in charge at any club. As a manager who led Porto to the Champions League title, Inter Milan to a famous Treble, 3 Premier League titles with Chelsea, a La Liga title with Real Madrid a Europa League title with Manchester United, along with league cups everywhere along the way, is it possible that his failures have canceled out his greatest successes?
Where will he end up next?
By: Andrew Diefenderfer