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José Mourinho Will Bring Success To Manchester United, But It’ll Likely Be A Short Reign

His man management rarely hints at long-term thinking, but José Mourinho is clearly a man with a plan. During his time in Milan and Madrid he often spoke of how he would one day return to England and, even further in the future, manage his beloved Portugal.

This constant talk of the ‘Great Return’, plus his shameless hero worshipping of Sir Alex Ferguson, led many to believe that once Ferguson stepped aside, Mourinho would be his only logical replacement. This theory had obviously has Mourinho convinced too as it is reported that he wept upon hearing that he would not be offered the United job in 2013.

The stories of United and Mourinho in the intervening three years are well documented but what is so fascinating about his appointment in the summer of 2016 is the seeming inevitability about it. It is as if, having wasted three seasons, the United board have finally caved in and given the Ferguson’s old job to man they should have awarded it to in the first place.

So where did the reluctance to give him the role in 2013 come from? Why, even after all his vast success, is there still a feeling that United hierarchy will be nervously watching the season unfold rather than sitting back and enjoying the trophies that many believe Mourinho guarantees?


Part of the reason is his temperament and his record of creating conflict. Mourinho gives huge loyalty and respect to the players he rates and expects the same thing back from them, preferably with added interest. However, the players who he has decided do not fit exactly into the required mould are cast aside, often brutally. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Juan Mata appear to be the latest casualties of his ruthlessness, which often seems to target the highest profile players as if to make the point that nobody is safe if they do not conform to his wishes.

The obvious advantage to this tactic is, in the short term at least, it quickly creates a driven, ruthless and loyal group of players who will stop at nothing to win trophies; even Mourinho’s harshest critics would struggle to dispute that he is able to get teams collecting silverware astoundingly quickly.

The glaring downside is that creating conflict and discarding those not considered worthy is not conducive with sustained and stable success. Mourinho has never even come close to creating a dynasty and his major successes have usually been followed by periods of bitter infighting and, eventually, him moving on to pastures new.

10/5/2005 Premier League Football Manchester United v Chelsea Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson embrace Photo: Offside / NI Syndication

Mourinho’s other perceived weakness is that the football he plays is not an attractive brand to watch. The fans of certain teams, such as Newcastle United, West Ham and Manchester United, feel that they deserve to see scintillating, edge-of-the-seat football, with wave upon wave of attacks on the opposition goal.

The old adage of being careful what you wish for is not often heeded though, and the number of clubs who reach the holy grail of sustaining Premier League status over a prolonged period, only to sack the manager who achieved it for a perceived poor style of play (Alan Pardew at Newcastle United, Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers immediately spring to mind) before then falling into lower league obscurity should be a lesson to all fans, chairmen and board members.

Mourinho doesn’t care whether his football looks nice so long as it results in a win. Sometimes he ignores the distant future in favour of short-term success but given the turgid and unsuccessful football that has been dished up at Old Trafford over the past three seasons, it seems unlikely that United fans will complain too much if they win the Premier League playing football that might generously be described as “efficient”.

Ultimately that’s why Mourinho has the luxury of planning his career so far in advance; he wins wherever he goes. It is often fleeting and rarely endears him to those around him, but the key point about winning ruthlessly and efficiently is that it’s still winning. United are not about to begin another dynasty, and they likely have a bumpy few years ahead but they will soon be winners again, and Mourinho will have another success story to add to his list.

Charlie Boscoe, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.