We all know how the Jose Mourinho three year story unfolds but this time around, it seems Pep Guardiola did not read the script and Jose may need some ad libbing to win the league, potentially in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Mourinho almost attempts to dictate the media and get his own narrative across. He does this by giving his prediction and his own assessment of his team the way he wants everyone else to judge him. Most managers do this to an extent but the media is attracted to Jose’s words like a magnet, some pundits more than others of course.
In the first season of his second stint in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho referred to his side as a “little horse that needs milk and needs to learn how to jump” to lower expectations from the media and fans.
That is part of the plan. Jose does not set out to win the league in his first season. He builds a team for the second season and with 100% certainty believes he will win it then and so far has done so every single time.
Again at Man Utd, there was something similar where he claimed time was needed to transform Utd into a title winning side and labelled it a transition season where really the target for both Mourinho and Guardiola should have been to win the league and failure to do so was underachievement from both men.
This season, however, the plan was clear right from the off as Utd did their business early finalising a ridiculous deal for Nemanja Matic with two weeks to go till the first gameweek. Mourinho was practically mocking Chelsea on this particular signature claiming he was surprised the deal could go ahead, and calling Matic the best player he’s ever worked with.
Mourinho was living it large, his confidence simmering. After consecutive 4-0 wins, he boasted of having let his “horses run freely”, lauding his own attacking football and the plethora of attacking options at his disposal. He walked with that same aura as when he first arrived in England. It was the first time he was able to be happy since that torrid spell at Chelsea but it seems none of this was to last.
At Chelsea, I believe Jose Mourinho was genuinely in it for the long haul but as he learnt the hard way, Roman Abramovich is just not into that kind of a relationship. He got punished for a poor transfer window in which he failed to upgrade his title winning side, something he now knows he must do in future.
During that shambolic spell, Mourinho let out his anger on his team, the Chelsea players publicly shaming them in a rarely seen move. This, he also learnt the hard way, your players can and will get you sacked. Now at Man Utd, you see the freedom he gives his superstar players – the Ibrahimovic, Lukaku and Pogba’s.
Instead, he is criticising the fans. Gary Neville praised him for this with some ridiculous reasoning but this is just Mourinho getting the frustration out of his system. At Chelsea, it was the players that turned against him. To the fans he was untouchable, but what he may not realise is he is not to the Utd fans what he was to the Chelsea faithful and while he says Lukaku should be untouchable, he himself no longer is.
These frustrations are a third season thing, after the title has been won, but now the pressure is on and Mourinho is fearing Pep’s presence as this campaign is not going how he had planned.
However, the Man City juggernaut could yet stumble. Without any injuries and only 11 games in, the December fixtures between the two sides could sway things.
Mourinho defends against the good sides, taking a point and three where his striker can put away that solitary chance in the game. This is where Lukaku is not good enough. Mourinho has had the likes of Diego Costa and Diego Milito who could make something of nothing but it seems Romelu is unable to do that yet and may not be that type of striker at all.
The question as to whether one point against the top sides is enough will be decided by how Man City continue to do and will only be answered come the end of the season but one thing is for sure: this season is not going to Jose Mourinho’s plan, as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are out of his control.