Generally, I don’t subscribe to the hype compounded by the press regarding managerial mashups. However, even a reasonably cynical man could now not ignore the avalanche of (conflicting) reports following Jose Mourinho’s “mutual agreement” departure from Chelsea, that oddly, coincided with United’s atrocious form in December.
Louis van Gaal’s outdated philosophy simply didn’t take to English football, with his unorthodox ‘jack-of-all-trades and master of none’ approach that he’s developed the squad around not bearing any fruit. As a manager, and not only at United, his methods tended to be un-popularly ineffective. Bayern Munich and Barcelona papered over his cracks with their underlying quality, yet they too eventually got fed up and ushered him out.
Throughout his career, he has been the man to set up the next guy. Now with United in transition, it’s all falling apart with his failure to grasp the English game. Adding even more salt to the wounds, fans have to watch as Ranieri is spear-heading Leicester’s title run utilising United’s old bread and butter: 4-4-2.
Whilst we cannot forget the spirit of this grand club and its astonishing history with youth development, the board needs to choose between falling into Liverpool’s cast or striking a delicate balance between superstars and youthful inexperience. Interestingly something that Sir Alex still preaches at Harvard.
I believe Mourinho is the answer. Daniel Taylor’s article a few weeks ago for The Guardian, brilliantly encapsulated the somewhat misguided stance on the Special One’s managerial style and emphatically extolled his inherent virtues:
“The allegation, for example, that Mourinho preaches a boring, anaemic style of football. This one is trotted out all the time whereas, in reality, in a dozen seasons at Porto, Chelsea, Inter & Real Madrid his teams were the leading scorers on seven occasions and figured outside the top two in the goals-for column only once – in 2013-14 when Liverpool & City both scored more than 100 goals. In three years in Spain his team twice outscored a Barca side routinely described as the most beautifully constructed club team that ever existed. Madrid accumulated 121 goals one year, a record for La Liga, and scored five or more on 11 different occasions that season. Boring?”
Bournemouth and Southampton have more goals scored than us this season. It’s something United have sorely missed since the likes of Ronaldo’s departure & the days of the best scoring partnership in Premier League history: Cole and Yorke (53). A player who can slot 20+ goals in a season, with flair.
If Mourinho comes to the club, we could attract a better class of player & hopefully someone to form a formidable partnership with the likes of Martial, Rashford and Memphis. In my opinion the club is desperate for a right-winger and there don’t seem many better youth prospects out there than Kingsley Coman, a 19-year-old who has played for PSG, Juventus, Bayern & even France. Bale would be the obvious choice but I feel Coman would suit this “Louis Lads” youthful feel to the squad. A team that can develop together over time, once again becoming a force to be reckoned with. Good luck prising him away though.
The endorsements from famous ex-players and top-flight pundits rooting for Ryan Giggs all seem to indicate familial nepotism, as he is fiercely under-qualified to take the post. Whilst the appointment would undoubtedly be quintessentially poetic, it doesn’t guarantee success. Guardiola and Enrique both undeniably inherited substantially stronger teams to aid in their ascensions.
With five games and 15 points remaining in this dismal campaign, a four-point gap and an inferior goal difference, it seems the countdown to Mourinho’s appointment (which started pretty much as he left Stamford Bridge) only seems to edge closer with each passing poor performance.
To claim fourth, United need to win every remaining fixture (Palace, Leicester and Bournemouth at home, with Norwich and West Ham away) and hope that our cross-town rivals at least lose and draw one. The same goes for Arsenal. Looking at their run-ins, you could see them dropping points but unfortunately the same cannot be said for United.
Villa on the weekend couldn’t have come any sooner, with every team relishing the opportunity of facing them in the business end of the campaign, but we certainly made hard work of it. False dawns and mercurial performances have been characteristic of van Gaal’s time with the club, due to his questionable team selections, substitutions and overall tactics. United may have secured a victory over Villa on the weekend but it was a limp, dull performance which we’ve become so used to seeing and it may finally be time for his bestie – Ed Woodward – to realise he has to rip the band-aid off.