When the draw for the last 16 was announced in December this was probably the team Mourinho had in mind. It was also a team that Mourinho hates playing against because all the pressure would be on United. Mourinho is an underdog manager, he revels in having a plan and not playing on the front foot. Honestly speaking they would’ve maybe performed better against a Juve or Bayern. In the two legs against Sevilla that was obvious to see, they had no set way of playing when they have more possession of the ball. On Friday Mourinho went on a 12 minute speech of nothingness like when your friend explains how he lost a fight which you witnessed for yourself. Man Utd were poor, the team looked hesitant and the team has no chemistry.
4 shots on target over 180 mins isn’t good enough for a team with players of the calibre such as Sanchez, Pogba and Lukaku. It would be crazy to say that these players go out there on the pitch to play in the manner they have played in. Missing chances is one thing but not attacking with purpose to get an away goal riles up fans. Sevilla players were probably surprised as to how poor the “biggest team in the world” were at keeping the ball. So when the return leg happened and Fellaini replaced Pogba and McTominay it must send a message to the whole stadium in regards to how the team is approaching the game. With these tactics you live very little room for error, losing with this approach opens yourself to more criticism than other teams.
When looking back on previous teams Mourinho has managed there are a few things which he has always made sure to achieve. A set starting 11 which had a clear identity, a solid defence and winning trophies. This has transcended from his Porto days with Costinha, Deco and Carvalho all the way through to his second spell at Chelsea with Terry, Matic, Hazard and Costa. He is ruthless with his ideas and always constructed a strong squad with players who knew their role in the team. Fast forward to now and it looks like he doesn’t exactly know his best starting 11 which has impacted chemistry in the team. They are second in the table however it’s hard to explain how good they really are, they rely on individual moments and counter attacking to win games which has gotten them to this point but to win the league they need more than that.
So if their isn’t a great football style the one thing Mourinho guarantees over managers who play better football is winning big trophies. 2 Champions Leagues and League titles in 4 different countries is a major achievement. He did well to win two trophies last season however this season they are miles away from competing for the biggest trophies with the investment made. Having Pep in the City provides a what if scenario for United fans when they are playing the best football in the country. If they don’t win a trophy this season and finish second after being knocked out by Sevilla, can this be considered a successful season ?
Through all this the fans have been mixed on Mourinho and his tactics. Some of his substitutions have been booed and tactics produced groans from the stands. This isn’t the life a United fan wants, winning two trophies should see you beloved by fans. But his ideals contradict the club’s, he either doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to. It’s only a matter of time before this experiment is over and a lot of fans are counting down the days already.
Will Mourinho be the manager next season? Can he survive with playing negative football? Are Man Utd a top team?
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