Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson insists Jose Mourinho must change his ways, criticising the Portuguese for running the club as his personal fiefdom.
Mourinho, following a positive start to life at Old Trafford, has been quickly plunged into the spotlight following consecutive defeats to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford.
The 53-year-old has been lambasted from all corners for a variety of reasons: some have criticised his failure to drop Wayne Rooney; some have argued, even after nearly two months in the job, he still doesn’t know his best starting XI.
Speaking in the wake of United’s 3-1 defeat to Watford, Atkinson claimed the Special One needs to change his ways in the interest of rectifying the side’s recent slump in form.
“There’s nothing wrong with being fiercely protective of your players, but that doesn’t mean you have to antagonise everybody else,” he said.
“I don’t think that approach would work at Manchester United because it can lead to the club becoming claustrophobic.
“It is a global brand and you cannot run it as your personal fiefdom.
“Jose has an engaging personality and it would be a shame if he got sidetracked by siege mentality and taking on the world.”
That ‘us against them’ siege mentality is something engrained in Mourinho’s managerial style. Not only does it inform the side’s attitude as a whole; it informs their robust, no-nonsense style on the pitch.
But this approach, whilst undoubtedly controversial, is not the root cause behind United’s current quandary. No, Mourinho – aside from his treatment of young English talents like Luke Shaw – doesn’t need to change anything. He needs to simply employ the same dynamic, cutting edge style, and find a settled, balanced starting XI capable of carrying out his demands. Having picked six different starting lineups already, this is something that remains a work in progress.
Once Mourinho finds his desired combination, however, United fans will then see the true strength of this side.