Rumour has it Manchester United are on the verge of offering Jose Mourinho a new contract – just six months after the Portuguese first arrived at Old Trafford (and, you know, twelve after he nearly got his title-winning Chelsea side relegated). Several questions spring to mind, but we’ll keep it family friendly: just what are the Red Devils thinking?
It’s a bold move, but one that you can understand, sort of. Mourinho has repeatedly stressed his project at Old Trafford is a long-term one, and while an in different first half of the season has left their once promising title bid on life support, United are beginning to turn the corner. Just incredibly slowly, that’s all.
The Red Devils are now three for three, having beaten Spurs, Palace and West Brom in the last few weeks, and for the first time since his arrival in the summer, they actually look like a Mourinho side. The back four – which, admittedly, still seems rather sketchy on paper – is at least well-drilled, while Michael Carrick, at 35, is proving he can still do a job mopping up in midfield. It’s solid, organised, hard to beat. It’s Jose (without an utter tool like Pepe or Terry manning his defence).
— Devils Latest (@Devils_Latest) December 7, 2016
That’s one argument – the other is that Ed Woodward has completely lost the plot. This can’t be true, though, because it would imply Ed ever had the plot to begin with. Replacing Sir Alex was never going to be an easy task, but United’s choice of managers since he left has been nothing short of abysmal. Nobody thought Moyes was up to the task – not even his own family – and it was reputation that got Louis van Gaal to the Old Trafford hot-seat.
What makes them think Mourinho, once revered as the world’s best coach but now a pale, grey-haired imitation, will do any better? He may be starting to grind out some results, but it’s far too early for talk of a ten-year stay in Manchester – particularly given how quickly Moyes and van Gaal were shown the door when results didn’t go their way.
Mourinho, incidentally, is faring no better than either of them in terms of results at the same stage, and which is more he is supposed to be the manager who delivers instant success. Why else would he make 35-year-old Ibrahimovic his lead striker at the price of upstarts Rashford and Martial?
Maybe United chiefs have simply been seduced by the Portuguese’s charm. The way he relentlessly trolls Arsene Wenger (that’s one upside of keeping Jose around, actually: they will probably never lose to Arsenal again). The way he kicks water bottles when decisions go against him, and then sulks in post-match interviews as though he’s just been told he can’t have any sweets until he’s finished his vegetables.
Yeah, that’ll be it.