Manchester United fans will almost unanimously agree that Louis van Gaal’s reign was one of, if not the worst in Premier League history.
And so, if it was really that bad, how can we be content with anything less than rapid and significant improvement under new management? How can we abide by baffling decisions simply because it’s “early days”?
Any manager worth his salt can surely identify the immediate problems plaguing the squad and fix them. But José Mourinho’s short time at the club is best described by paraphrasing Groucho Marx.
“Management is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
Manchester United did not have a problem in regards to strikers, far from it, in fact. They had arguably the best young striker in the game and none other than the 2015 Golden Boy to back him up. Instead of building the team around Marcus Rashford, he dispensed with him. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a man who many would claim has never proven himself to be a genuinely good player in a league where Bebe or Kleberson couldn’t flourish, was brought in.
Not only is he the first name on the teamsheet, he’s in absolute zero danger of being substituted. He offers nothing whatsoever to the team, best illustrated by the fact he’s been gifted two gilt-edged chances in the past week, both in the air no less, and botched them both.
Even when he was at the top of his game, his sloth-like pace is completely against the counter-attack system the Special One favours. All this while that magical lad from Wythenshawe plays as a glorified wing-back.
The real mark of Sir Alex Ferguson’s glittered era was a remarkable thread of common sense. If players stopped being good at football, he stopped playing them. How revolutionary. How Marcos Rojo can continue to be considered good enough for Premier League football is just bizarre. How he makes the cut but Cameron Borthwick-Jackson doesn’t is mind-boggling. The deadwood, the aforementioned Swede most certainly included, is sinking the ship and her captain refuses to act.
In the two most important games this season, José has got his tactics spectacularly wrong. Assuming that’s the best he can offer, what evidence do we have to suggest he’s still a truly great manager and a man worth entrusting with the most important period in Manchester United history?
Wayne Rooney had past success. That didn’t end well. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal had tremendous success elsewhere but the game evolved, the circumstances changed and they were no longer up to scratch. If the higher-ups at United treat the Portuguese boss with the same apathy and leniency that Mourinho’s predecessors afforded Rooney, they could be left with a team – and more importantly to them – a brand, in tatters.
The simple fact is that he presides over the best and most expensive squad in the league. Kevin De Bruyne or Mesut Ozil would be nice additions but his charges are more than capable of lifting the trophy come May.
Or rather, they were. His ineptitude has cost them a place in the title race.
The former Porto man could succeed at the Theatre Of Dreams but there’s nothing to support such a claim. His job is rightfully in no danger as it stands but if a hungry City side humble them further on Wednesday evening and no unstoppable win streak follows, one has to wonder; where do we go from here?
Rory Murphy, Pundit Arena
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