Leave Mourinho alone


The (once) special one is now under fire in his current job as Manchester United coach. There are rumours that Jose Mourinho will be fired and possible substitutes, such as Zinedine Zidane, were already thrown into the media debate.

There are a number of reasons which explain the growth of these rumours. It started with expensive player transfers and a trophyless Manchester United last season. It went through a struggling summer when the Portuguese coach complained about not getting the players he wanted, which made his relationship with Ed Woodward and some of his players sour (at least in the media). Finally, the difficult start of the current season also fuelled the “#MourinhoOut” debate.

But there is more to it. His own standards created by his past successes make us – media and fans – much more critic and rigorous with his current performances. He has virtually been the meaning of instant success regarding football coaches. Hence, probably there was too much expectation around him.

If it was another coach doing what he has done, would people be as harsh on him? Is his squad one you can ask for major titles such as the Premier League and Champions League? I’m not so sure about it. Especially if we look into squads like Man City, Liverpool, Spurs (Premier League) and Real Madrid, Juve, Barça, PSG and Bayern in the UCL.

Reportedly, if this was another club Mourinho would have left already after being refused the players he requested for. And this situation is quite silly. Let’s see: Man Utd executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, refused to attempt to buy some players because they were too old and they didn’t fit, after having renewed Mourinho’s contract by halfway of last season (showing faith in the coach). Is this a good decision?

We could say Man Utd was once a club made from its academy, but those times were definitely different. Nowadays it surely is quite a challenge to win a major title with most players coming from its own academy. Probably Barcelona must be the most recent example of a team doing something similar. But still it is increasingly rare and difficult.

The competitiveness of football leagues and cups became so global that it made football that way. Taking this into account, and adding that Man Utd must have financial power for more, the decision of the president is questionable.

Nevertheless, Mourinho is taking on this challenge and he actually deserves respect, as he asked for in a rather peculiar fashion. Not only due to his past achievements but also because he knew and still knows this wouldn’t be an easy job. He took a destroyed Man United after the glory days of SAF, and two other coaches who were thousands of miles away from filling Ferguson’s shoes.

Summing up, there are some more logic reasons why the Red Devils should keep the Portuguese coach:

  • Further instability: as Sir Alex Ferguson says: “there’s no evidence that sacking a manager brings success. But there’s evidence that Arsène Wenger, myself and Brian Clough could bring success with long-termism.”
  • Expensive buy-out (renewal): this year Man United renewed Mourinho’s contract until 2020 with the option of a further year. If he was to be fired, it would definitely be an expensive move for the Red Devils.
  • Dangerous precedent: if Mourinho is fired, he would be the 3rd manager fired in 5 years for United. Besides, he has been more successful than the two managers who came after him combined.
  • Results haven’t been optimal, but they have been good: one EFL Cup, one community shield, one Europa League and bringing the club back to the UCL. Furthermore, a 2nd place in the Premier League last season, which was the best possible for that squad, and with enough points to be champion in earlier seasons.
  • No better option right now: even though Zidane is being mentioned to fill this role, there is no proof he could outperform Mourinho in this job. Zidane was very successful at Madrid, but he is still yet to prove himself elsewhere. Besides, most top managers are already on contracts with other top clubs in the premier league.
  • Unrealistic to compete with Man City: right now, Manchester United doesn’t have the resources to compete with the blue club from the same city. The Premier League champions have a very complete squad, a great coach as well, but they also have this very well built network of clubs and players around the world with the “City Football Group”. It is just at a whole other level currently.

What we may conclude from this situation is that people are doing a storm in a teacup when it comes to Jose Mourinho’s position in Manchester United, due to several reasons. So, why don’t we just leave him alone and see if he proves his worth with time?