Off the back of three consecutive losses both Man United’s players and Mourinho have come in for some deserved criticism, with particular focus being on Wayne Rooney from the fans’ point of view.
Following that, on Tuesday night there were a substantial number of stories across different newspapers all offering insight into Mourinho’s management style at United, so much so that it is obvious a leak has happened.
You can see from The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Mirror posting similar stories at a similar time that whoever has been speaking has made his feelings clear.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 20, 2016
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) September 20, 2016
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) September 20, 2016
Needless to say, Neville isn’t impressed and so he shouldn’t be:
Leaks already after one bad week! Embarrassing!! https://t.co/VS6lViGywD
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) September 20, 2016
At the same time, it looks like United briefed their own stories about the belief which the club has in Mourinho and what he is working towards:
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) September 20, 2016
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) September 20, 2016
I’ll be honest and say I find it very coincidental that leaks from a source with inside information and a brief from United came almost in unison. Either it is a coincidence or there is something strange going on behind the scenes. Maybe United were informed of the leaks by the press who were chasing a response by the club – of course, this is all speculation.
Maybe the stories were released a bit earlier and United’s PR machine kicked into gear to quash them. That’s a possibility but even that in itself is unnecessary – United shouldn’t have to be responding to things like this, especially so on in Mourinho’s tenure.
There’s also an interesting angle to take on this – there is a direct comparison drawn between Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson‘s coaching methods. If this did indeed come from a player, then it would have to be somebody who worked under both managers for that comparison to be made? In that case, the list is narrowed down to only a few who it could be.
This is a far from ideal start but the real issue isn’t whether Mourinho’s abrasive nature is offending some players (good, they need it after three years of mediocrity), it’s the fact somebody was willing to already speak out against it. That’s a big concern.
We all knew Mourinho came with his baggage but few expected anything like this to happen so early. Hopefully it’s nothing more than a bit of drama in the papers but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the concept of somebody already leaking unhappy stories.