Jose Mourinho is now in his second season as Manchester United manager after years of chasing the job. However, he hasn’t been fully settled in the post and continues to be linked with other clubs, despite being relatively safe in the position. There are reports that the United board are worried their manager is eyeing up a summer switch to PSG due to fearing that the current Europa League champions will be unable to compete with Manchester City in the immediate future. Sky Sports report that the 54-year-old remains committed to the club and plans to spend the international break scouting for future targets.
It isn’t helpful to have speculation regarding the manager of a football club, especially one of Manchester United’s size. They will be expected to challenge for major honours and any distraction is a hindrance to that. Mourinho has done a solid job at Old Trafford to date, but it is impossible to escape the direct comparisons with Manchester City and his long-time rival, Pep Guardiola. United are currently behind their local rivals by eight points and that is a big gap at this stage of the season. The Citizens are playing great football and have the potential to become the best team in Premier League history. It is easy to see why the United boss would be worried about them, but he should have more self-belief in his own management ability.
Mourinho managed to beat Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona to La Liga during the 2011-12 season and they were widely regarded as the best club team to have ever played the game. It seems odd that the Manchester United boss would be backing away from a similar challenge in England unless there are problems behind the scenes regarding recruitment. That would be unlikely considering the amount he has been given since taking the job. If it is correct that he is considering a move away at the end of the season, it would be a blessing in disguise for the club.
Manchester United are a club with a deep-rooted tradition of playing exciting football and under Sir Alex Ferguson, they would be great to watch and were famous for their use of out-and-out wingers. Mourinho is more functional and he prefers to play the percentages rather than opt for a free-flowing style. This is particularly noticeable in the big matches. In his seven away matches against the rest of the top six as Manchester United manager, he has failed to win once and his team have scored only one goal. Considering the cost of their playing squad and the attacking talent within it, this isn’t good enough.
A common theme of Mourinho’s management is self-destruction in the third year, which usually results in him losing his job. It was most evident during his second spell at Chelsea and it resulted in the Blues missing out on European competition altogether. Considering the rebuilding process – that he is meant to complete – at Old Trafford since the retirement of Ferguson, they can’t afford to suffer a similar fate. For that reason, it might be beneficial to part ways with their manager before this happens.
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal both failed after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, which resulted in Manchester United falling down the league table. They have only finished in the top four once since the greatest manager in their history stepped away in 2013. Mourinho has now brought them back to being title contenders, but he lacks the imagination and the nerve to go toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s Manchester City. If they are to win the league title ahead of their rivals, they need a manager that is willing to take risks and play attack-minded football in the big matches. The current manager isn’t that man and a change this summer could be the best for both parties.