Those of you that follow me (not many I know) will know that I have been very much in the ‘Mourinho-In’ camp for some time. Whilst many, including our very own Mark Goldbridge, have pitched up tents over in the ‘out’ camp, I have remained across in my field, like an old man at Glastonbury a week after the festival has finished.
I can’t put my finger as to why I have been so stubborn. I very much wanted rid of Moyes and Van Gaal. So, why when the stats are telling me that this is the worst United side post-Fergie, am I so keen for Mourinho to stay at the helm? Is it because I feel he has been harshly treated? Is it because I actually feel entertained by him (by HIM, not his football)? Is it because I feel that the players are letting him down so badly? Honestly, I don’t know.
With that said, even I was dumbfounded by the starting eleven which Mourinho chose to field on Saturday. Playing a team that could well see themselves playing against Luton Town next season, we fielded one of the weakest starting lineups we have seen, and I remember a team which included Gabriel Obertan and Darron Gibson.
It was just bizarre. A five man defence which consisted of Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay against a side which had only hit the back of the net ten times all season, and two of them were penalties. Out went Anthony Martial, easily our best player of the past few weeks, in came Lukaku, although this is thought to be down to a slight injury scare ahead of the Arsenal game this Wednesday.
And it was predictable. 2-0 down after 20 minutes and once again chasing the game. Admittedly, the 20 minutes that followed were decent, with goals from Lukaku and Herrera levelling the scores. After that though, nothing. We should’ve been able to build on that. Marcus Rashford was replaced by Martial, despite being our best player up until that point, whilst Lukaku managed to stay on the field until the 88th minute, despite nearly causing himself serious damage by tripping over the ball.
I’m not going to sit here and claim for one moment that Mourinho is trying to get himself sacked, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that he is far from happy at the club. I thoroughly back him up when it comes to the lack of summer business, despite being heavily backed over the past three seasons. With that said, we finished second last season and should have been throwing money around left, right and centre in the bid to close the gap on City. Instead, we ended up with Lee Grant whilst being outspent by Fulham.
However, I refuse to believe that this squad can go from being the second best in the country to one that grinds out draws against Crystal Palace and Southampton, whilst West Ham and Brighton make us look like relegation fodder.
Something clearly isn’t right. Pogba is a big issue, with Mourinho allegedly describing the World Cup winner as ‘a virus’ after Saturday’s game. I am not a big fan of players not playing for their manager. These are professional footballers. If they don’t agree with the manager, or don’t like the manager, then that’s tough luck. They are paid, and paid well. to play for Manchester United. If I didn’t like my boss, or didn’t agree with a decision, does that give me the right to go into work and do a half-assed job? No, I’d be rightly sacked.
Pogba gave the ball away a staggering 25 times on Saturday, whilst failing to create a single chance. At this moment, we need leaders and Pogba is failing us. Maybe it is time for Mourinho to go, I’d almost concede that now. That, however, will not solve the problem. The club is broken throughout, from top to bottom. Some people truly believe that if we were to remove Mourinho tomorrow, we’d bring in Pochettino and we’d be champions by May. Why would Pochettino even entertain a move to Old Trafford? Answer: He won’t.
Strap in kids, we’re in this for the long haul.