Tag Archives: manager

Mourinho’s BIG Obsession Continues To Fail

Jose Mourinho has an obsession with height. In Matic, Fellaini and McTominay he boasts the three tallest midfielders in the Premier League at 6 foot 4. And it doesn’t end there. Paul Pogba is 6 foot three, Michael Carrick 6 foot 2, and Ander Herrera is no shrinking violet at 6 foot. So why is Mourinho so obsessed with height and is it one of his biggest – pardon the pun – weaknesses?

The short answer – done it again – is yes. Such a strange height obsession is a weakness when the tactics implemented are for a club with the traditions of Manchester United. Manchester United are a club intrinsically linked with fast attacking football and whilst it may be stereotypical, tall players tend to be slow and not as good on the ball as their smaller counterparts.

In fairness, Paul Pogba is an exception to that rule. At 6 foot 3 he’s fast, athletic and displays brilliant close ball control that allows him to dribble and move the ball very quickly. In Paul Pogba, Mourinho has the perfect example of height and the required ability to implement whatever system he’s trying to inflict on Manchester United at the moment. A system that is still up for debate and confusion.

However, in Fellaini, Matic and McTominay, the three tallest midfielders in the league, Mourinho doesn’t have players who are fast or good on the ball. Good players in their own right, they don’t obviously fit the mantra of fast flowing football United fans want to see. Time and time again this season they are bypassed by smaller quicker players who can move the ball, and themselves, quickly between the midfield lines. Time and time again the ball from midfield to attack has been so pedestrian that by the time flair players like Martial and Sanchez get the ball they’re facing an opposition that isn’t stretched and has themselves well organised.

So why does Mourinho stick with this approach? What is the advantage of playing giant midfielders who slow down the play?

Physicality for one. Mourinho likes his team to be physical and there can be no doubting that Fellaini and Matic especially are more than capable of facing up to a physical contest. But what else do they bring? Aerial dominance? You’d think being the tallest midfielders in the league this would be their biggest asset and the sole reason Mourinho loves height so much. Weirdly it’s a false dawn.

Aerial dominance is what Mourinho appears to be going for with his midfielders but the areas this is utilised isn’t where Manchester United fans would even consider warming to this long ball approach – the oppositions penalty box. Manchester United rarely score from corners for one. So this height advantage Fellaini and Matic bring is redundant. Not to mention Pogba, Lukaku at 6 foot 3 and Chris Smalling at 6 foot 4. It’s bordering on inept that Manchester United have such a massive – done it again – height advantage yet they’re so poor at scoring headers.

So if Mourinho is picking all this height and it’s not for scoring goals what’s it for? You got it! Defence.

Mourinho loves the defensive side of football. And with tall midfielders stood in front of his tall centre backs he knows that any team that wants to throw longs balls in to his box is going to struggle to make an impact. Which in theory totally nullifies a way the opposition can attack his team. Of course it totally blunts Manchester United’s midfield as a fast dynamic midfield but when your focus is on not conceding goals fast attacking footballing isn’t the priority.

So there you have it! Mourinho’s height obsession explained. Is it one you agree with? Is it actually that effective? Join the discussion on our YouTube channel where we discuss more about United’s current style of play and whether Mourinho will ever change

Anthony Martial set to finally secure a regular starting spot?

When Jose Mourinho became manager of Manchester United, many predicted that Anthony Martial would flourish under his guidance. However, after a stunning first season which saw the French striker score 11 league goals and a last-minute winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, Martial has struggled to become a regular starter for Mourinho.

There seemed to be more indication that the 21 year old wouldn’t be in Jose’s plans when he was left out of the starting line-up on United’s first game of the Premier League season. With Manchester United 2-0 up thanks Lukaku’s debut brace, Martial was subbed on. The young forward just had little over ten minutes to try and impress Mourinho, but he only needed eight. Played through by Mkhitaryan, Martial slotted the ball past Hart. Then, a few moments later, Martial provides an assist for Pogba’s goal.

Over the course of pre-season the player has finally been showing signs of consistency. The only way he can truly show Jose that he can help build towards Premier League glory for United, is if he is picked to start by Mourinho. This is the only way that he can now prove he can provide quality consistently.

If Manchester United’s Frenchman can provide consistency on the pitch, along with other players, then United should have a real chance of securing the Premier League title this season. Fans will be hoping the forward will start the Swansea game this weekend and that he has impressed Mourinho with his latest chance.

Do you think Martial can replicate his debut season for Manchester United? Will he be a regular starter throughout the season? Leave you thoughts in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!


Jose Mourinho WAS Given Manchester United Option Three Years Ago

Jose Mourinho WAS reportedly given the opportunity to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford when the Scot ended his reign at Manchester United three years ago, according to the Daily Mail

It had been thought that David Moyes was the man sought out by Sir Alex Ferguson to follow in his footsteps, but the Daily Mail claim that it was indeed Jose Mourinho who was thought to be the man to pick up the pieces following Ferguson’s departure in 2013, a view shared by many a Manchester United fan at the time.

Mourinho, who tenure at Real Madrid was also coming to an end, was allegedly involved in a two-way meeting with Ed Woodward in the back of a car with the Manchester United executive vice chairman having flown to Spain to try to convince him to take over at the 20-time English champions. However, Woodward saw his advances scuppered after Roman Abramovic had already convinced his former boss to return to Stamford Bridge at Chelsea.

With United diverting their attention to David Moyes, it is thought that Mourinho was interested in the job at Old Trafford, a belief that has long been rumoured following the alleged meeting between him and Sir Alex Ferguson during their Champions League second round tie where Ferguson informed Mourinho of his plan to retire at the end of the current campaign. However, with no offer forthcoming, Chelsea swooped to get their man following the unpopular temporary reign of Rafa Benitez. Spanish journalist Diego Torres famously claimed in his book “Prepárense Para Perder” that Mourinho was furious when he was seemingly overlooked for the job over David Moyes, but these latest reports seem to rubbish those claims.

As we know, Chelsea went on to regain the Premier League title within two years of Mourinho’s appointment, whilst United suffered their worst period of the Premier League era under Moyes and Louis Van Gaal respectively. Three years on, United finally have their man as they look to bring back the glory years to Old Trafford.

A new era at United

In the first ever ‘DevilCast’ by The United Stand, hosted by The Drawty devil, panelists Kevin Ashford & Paul Gardiner discuss the arrival of Mourinho + the possible fate of many of United’s players. This episode includes special guest, Shane Higgs.

Ryan Giggs can be United’s Guardiola – says Bryan Robson

Ryan Giggs can be come Manchester United’s next manager at the end of the season, according to former United captain Bryan Robson.

Despite Jose Mourinho being tipped to succeed van Gaal, Robson believes Giggs, who has been van Gaal’s assistant, would be a perfect choice.

Robson had this to say:

The thing for me is that Van Gaal was always going to be a three-year contract with Ryan working under him so that they could see whether he was ready to step in.

Ryan was a great player for this club, he loves playing football the United way, he’s done all his badges and for me he’s in the right place at the right time.

People say it’s too big a challenge, too big a jump. But I don’t agree. Look at Pep Guardiola, he came through the ranks at Barcelona as a player and then as a young coach and then they trusted him and he stepped up. He was tremendously successful.

It’s the same with Ryan. He knows what this club is all about and the fans would be totally behind the club if they made that decision and totally behind Ryan.

Read the full article on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

Do you think Ryan Giggs would succeed as manager of United? Let us know in the comments below.

GUEST BLOG: Diego Simeone a possible successor to LVG

Atletico Madrid Manager Diego Simeone is currently being linked with Manchester United if Louis Van Gaal gets the sack. This man is arguably one of the greatest managers in Europe. His win rate as a coach is 55.1%, his draws being 22.3% and his losses only 22.6%.

He usually plays a 4-4-2 formation which Alex Ferguson has used back in the day when he was managing the Red Devils. However do not get your hopes up yet because the Argentinian man has been linked with the likes of Chelsea as well, who are performing shockingly in the Premier League this season. In my opinion I would love to see Diego at this club turning things around and playing attacking football which we would love to watch again.

Another interesting fact is that Diego Simone has never managed a team in the Premier League and if he comes to Manchester United and starts his English management career there I think he would win a lot of trophies and sign key players. Manchester United really do need a new manager because most United fans are sick and tired of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy. In my opinion I think Diego Simeone is a much better manager than van Gaal even if van Gaal has won a champions league and Simone hasn’t.

We have also been linked with Antoine Greizmann so this could possibly mean if Diego Simeone comes to Manchester United he could indeed bring the French goal scorer along with him as the Red Devils could do with a striker right now. Other key players at Atletico Madrid such as Diego Godin who we have been linked with in the past could come to old Trafford and also a Spanish youngster named Oliver Torres who has been labeled as the next Xavi Hernandez.

Tell me what you think in the comments below!

By Shakhai
Follow me on Twitter: @Shakhai

Antonio Conte emerges as possible LVG replacement

Squawka have reported that Manchester United could make a shock move for Italy coach Antonio Conte in the summer.

It is understood that Conte is not keen on renewing his contract with the Italian national team which expires after the Euro’s in France. This has put many European clubs on alert, including Manchester United.

Conte, 46, has had success as a manager most notably with Juventus. He won three Serie A titles and two Supercoppa Italiana cups with the Italian giants.

However, there would be a disadvantage should Man United employ him in that he has not had any experience playing or managing in England.

Chelsea are also reported to be interested in securing the services of Conte while Roma have already made contact.

If you would like to read the full report on the Squawka website, please click here.

Do you think Conte would be a good fit for Man United? Would you rather have Conte over Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Mourinho: why “the special one” is the only one

With 2015 coming to an end, it would seem that the long awaited prophecy that Jose Mourinho would one day be appointed as Manchester United manager will be fulfilled. Ever since his Porto side won at Old Trafford knocking Manchester United out of Europe in 2004, the charismatic Portuguese has looked destined to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor.

With the Red Devils struggling for form and identity under the rigid Louis Van Gaal, the personality and more importantly the track record in both England and abroad of the Special One may be exactly what Manchester United are crying out for.

With Jurgen Klopp now at Liverpool and Carlo Ancelotti going to Bayern Munich next summer the managerial merry-go-round at Europe’s leading powers has cleared up as we go into the Christmas period. Should Manchester United choose to sack Louis Van Gaal, their options are running out quickly. Why the move has not happened already is a mystery to many with the problems piling up at Manchester United like the presents under a Christmas tree – should you be so lucky.

It is true that Manchester United have the most clean sheets in the Premier League and that stat has been thrown out a lot in defence of LVG but ever since that faithful night in Wolfsburg the so called unbeatable defence has been beaten again and again. Sadly this sacrifice has not come with the award of more attacking football and goals for Manchester United fans to feast on. The feeling summed up by the fact that captain Wayne Rooney has averaged a mere 0.3 goals per game under the Dutchman. And to add insult to injury Manchester United’s brightest attacking spark this season, Anthony Martial, spent more time tracking Norwich left back Martin Olsson, than he did in the oppositions box, despite scoring a goal.

United manager Louis van Gaal's job is in danger (Source: The Guardian)
United manager Louis van Gaal’s job is in danger (Source: The Guardian)

For LVG, many of the problems have gone beyond the 90 minutes themselves and most noticeably involve team selections. From the constant switching of positions of players like Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Anthony Martial to leaving certain players out altogether, in particular Spanish speaking players, like Victor Valdes and Ander Herrera, very few would feel settled under the former Barcelona manager.

Players such as Angel Di Maria and Javier Hernandez who are now doing well at their respected clubs have made their negative feelings very clear towards Van Gaal. The other main concern many have with Van Gaal is the constant selection of Marouane Fellaini and in particular Wayne Rooney. Both have been consistently selected despite a string of poor performances in comparison to fan favourite Ander Herrera and Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin.

On the eve of Christmas and possibly Van Gaal’s most important game during his reign at Old Trafford, captain Wayne Rooney has come out in support of the manager saying “We are working hard, we are fighting with the manager to try and get the results and turn this season around.” It is clear that at least some parts of the dressing room are behind the manager. Ironically it was been widely reported that Jose Mourinho had lost the dressing room at Chelsea in recent months. So why is it a perfect fit?

Well it’s not. No manager that is still in the game can say that they, like Sir Alex, have won the Premier League, Champions League, plays attacking football and promotes youth. The one near exception being a certain, Arsene Wenger. But Jose does tick many of the boxes, most importantly a winning mentality. He has won league titles in Portugal, Spain, Italy and England. Unlike Van Gaal he has achieved this in recent years and not in the 90’s.

It has been said that Jose does not play attacking football. This is not entirely true. It is not the swash buckling football we have seen down the years at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ but it is a style based on power, pace and moving the ball up the pitch quickly. Sides like Leicester have shown this season that tika-taka, for all its worth, is not the only way of doing things in
the modern game. In fact in the season Real Madrid won La Liga under Mourinho, Real Madrid outscored Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side when they were arguably at their strongest.

Jose Mourinho celebrated winning the Premier League with Chelsea in 2015 (Source: Eurosport.com)
Jose Mourinho celebrated winning the Premier League with Chelsea in 2015 (Source: Eurosport.com)

When Mourinho is at a club that demands attacking football he can deliver. While his style at Chelsea has shown that with no pressure to play in a particular manner, he will play a defensive game, but his time at Madrid has shown that the ‘Special One’ will adapt his natural defensive philosophy. It goes without saying this is a far cry from the man he may potentially replace. Fans can only hope that Mourinho would also be willing to adapt to the idea of bringing through youth in the same way Van Gaal has. Fingers crossed the club will receive the rewards of Van Gaal giving players like McNair, Valera, Periera and many more chances in the first team. Whoever the manager may be next week, month and season.

Like Van Gaal (to a point) and Sir Alex before him, Mourinho would bring a personality to everything he does from shouting on the touch line to finding new ways of making other managers lives a misery. Mourinho is one of the villains of football but, maybe that is exactly what the red devils need to regain their fear factor. A game against Manchester United has become an opportunity that many feel they can take advantage of. As Thierry Henry recently said on Sky Sports, the big teams in England need to stand up for themselves and take control of the league. And for this, Mourinho is perfect.

If he could bring the mentality he had at his previous title winning sides to Manchester United from now to the end of the season it may actually be enough to win the league with nobody in the league currently showing any sort of consistency. The big question is will the board take that plunge?

By Diarmuid Gillingham
Follow me on Twitter: @Diarmuid_MUFC