Former Liverpool defender and pundit Jamie Carragher believes Jose Mourinho will not be Manchester United’s manager this time next year.
The 55-year-old went into the summer under considerable pressure having failed to secure a trophy in his second season at the club.
His side’s pitiful defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend has contributed to the notion that the Mourinho project ultimately falls apart in its third season.
And Carragher, writing in a column for the Telegraph, has claimed the Portuguese is unlikely to last the season at Old Trafford.
“But if Mourinho leaves United at some stage this season – and I do believe they will have a new coach a year from now – what big job can he expect next?” he said.
“Of course he will still be one of the world’s most esteemed and coveted coaches, but his next club position would have to be in the tier just below the current elite. He would have to go somewhere seeking to rebuild, trying to catch-up, rather than one where the foundations are in place and he can target the world’s most expensive players.”
“For all the success, one task has eluded him. He has never managed to emerge unscathed from a slump. Wherever he has been there has been an upward trajectory – league titles or European Cups arriving – and then it rapidly deteriorates and ends.
“At Porto and Inter he left on a high, but everywhere else the first bad spell led to his dismissal. He could not turn it around before critics spoke of ‘third season syndrome’ (although most managers would love Mourinho’s third seasons. At Chelsea he won the League Cup and FA Cup in his third season).
“Nevertheless, Mourinho will be in new territory if builds a title-winning team at Old Trafford from this point.”
This is a notion held by most who take even the slightest interest in the Premier League. Not every Mourinho season has been “bad” per se – he won the FA Cup in his third campaign at Chelsea, and reached the Champions League semi-final and Copa del Rey final at Real Madrid – but they have, crucially, always been worse than the past two campaigns.
And the defeat to Brighton was stark evidence of that very prospect occurring once more at United. The flimsiness at the back – hardly ever a problem in his first two seasons at Old Trafford – was a sign of worrying regression, and was not too dissimilar from the chaos which unfurled at Chelsea in 2015.
Mourinho does not just have to contend with the task of improving this team despite a decided lack of investment. He has to contend with the weight of history as well .