Can Mourinho Fix United?
I don’t think firing top managers early in the season is ever a good thing.
Mourinho has not got the results that everyone expects from a team like United – it’s the club’s worst start to a league season in 26 years, after picking up just three points from their opening three games. When Jose was appointed, everyone at the club wanted trophies. He has brought some but now they naturally want more to relive the greatest years like Sir Alex did in his legendary time at the helm, where the side not only won games, but played attractive football as well.
Over the years, Mourinho has always been about one thing only – winning trophies. He’s not been known for playing the most beautiful game, but the most effective one. That is fine because you would think “who cares?” when you’re in that moment of lifting the trophy at the end of the season. But things have changed and the neighbours aren’t the same team that United have cast a shadow over for so long.
City are the new team to watch and have successfully brought in the superstars along with a world-class manager that is devoted to making his side the mean team in Manchester. The City brand is slowly building into the global brand that United have built over the past few decades.
Football is more than just winning on the field because it’s a capital gain business. That’s a game that Man United have played better than anyone in recent years, with so many big brands wanting to associate with the club when they have been winning trophies, and their revenues have kept growing as a result. But City are starting to catch up.
The Skyblues aren’t going to overtake the empire that United has built in a couple of years – United are the richest club in the world ahead of Real Madrid, Barca and Bayern, while City are ranked as the 5th richest club today, and according to Forbes United’s operating profit was almost 50% more than any other club in the world last season. But City are growing fast and their platform of having a team around the globe is helping them understand the market better and faster.
Now that Mourinho isn’t winning games, the pressure is on both the field and also behind the scenes for the brand. I always said it; Mourinho is a great manager and his best times were at Inter and Chelsea (first time around) because he had great strikers and always three top wingers that had pace and could score goals. This set up worked perfectly with his approach of sitting deep, and he could overpower teams that were trying any type of tactic against him. That has changed because it seems like on the past few occasions he has been struggling to find the perfect right winger to create the balance his team needs. That’s why he was trying to bring Willian over from Chelsea.
He has always been in control of the press but in this last conference they got under his skin too much, and that’s not the Mourinho I know, who juggles the press and his team so that he can stay calm and relaxed. He maybe doesn’t have all the players he wanted, and City and the big rivals Liverpool are both looking good, but I still think he has enough to get his team going.
He just needs to make them play like a team again – a team that are hard to break down defensively rather than one with the open style of play that people want to see. He needs to stop focussing on things happening outside the training ground, because the more you focus on something else the less likely you are to see the real problem.
I strongly believe he can turn things around. It will take some work, but he has enough experience to weather the storm.