Well, 2018/19 hasn’t gone according to plan thus far. Manchester United have won just one of their three opening Premier League matches.
A three-point return isn’t enough, particularly when you look at the fixtures-at-hand. The 3-0 drubbing at home to Tottenham probably wasn’t a fair result on the balance of play, but sometimes, it happens.
The problem at United at the moment is that, as soon as the team go a goal down, they tend to capitulate. I put that down to confidence and overall team morale. Things look desperate at this point, particularly defensively. Pundit Martin Keown reckons that has something to do with Mourinho’s man-management – and the fact that he’s often far too harsh on his players…
Mourinho does have a tendency to absolutely rip his stars to shreds within the media. Whether that’s a deflection tactic or not, it just doesn’t get the confidence flowing within that specific player. At times, it’s bordering on bullying, just ask Luke Shaw…
“One of Mourinho’s main problems is that sometimes he is too honest,” he told the Daily Mail.
“He honestly felt in the summer that if Manchester United did not buy more players, the group would not be good enough to win the league. Results have endorsed that view
As a player, it is much easier to get through a difficult period with the support of your manager.
“The United fans have shown Jose the way forward. Even after a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, the supporters were applauding him.
“Mourinho has to give that same level of support to his players.
“When Victor Lindelof hit that backpass from which Tottenham almost scored, you could see his manager spinning away in disdain on the touchline.
“Going forwards, Mourinho has to fight the temptation to do that when his players make mistakes.
“He needs to ignore the media. He doesn’t need to keep reminding us about what he has won. It is as if he is pointing to his past successes to prove that he is not the problem.
“This is a new Mourinho. I want to see him prove how good he is by turning this situation around.
“He needs to focus on winning matches, not arguments.”
It’s not often I agree with Keown. He is absolutely spot on here, though. Lindelof the perfect example. He looks like a man who has never stepped foot on a professional field in his life; that comes just a month or so after having an absolutely wonderful World Cup.
Football has changed, Mourinho has to adapt with it. I look at Sir Alex Ferguson. He constantly adjusted to an ever-changing game, that aspect of his management was massively underrated. If things are to turn around under the once world-class Portuguese coach, he has to make a change. Pretty quickly, too…