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There was a time where Jose Mourinho was considered one of the greatest managers in the world.
His accomplishments with Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan are the stuff of legends, while his brilliant manipulation of even the toughest media narratives became the dominant headline of each and every week across the world. He’s won every trophy imaginable at the club level, with a Champions’ League title, league titles across multiple countries, and countless cup competitions adorning his trophy case. No one can deny that if he retired today, he’d easily be considered one of the most brilliant managers to ever grace the touchline.
However, in his most recent stint with Manchester United, it seems like the realities of the modern game are finally getting to The Special One.
It all began last year, with his epic collapse at Chelsea. After winning the title at Stamford Bridge, following the longest tenure at the top of the table in Premier League history, Mourinho crashed and burned. Just 16 games into the season, Mou lost 2-1 to eventual champions Leicester City, causing Chelsea to slip to 16th place, which is purely unacceptable for a club used to European football every year.
Thus, Mou was promptly fired by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, and began his campaign for United’s soon to be vacant manager role.
From the second he got to United, it appeared Mou was up to his old tricks. After all, he flubbed out in his third year with Real, Inter, and Chelsea the first time, only to have success elsewhere, so why should this be any different?
Mou brought in a bunch of big money signings to improve a disappointing United squad, headlined by the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Eric Bailly, giving United fans hope that this could be the year they finally turn things around. With United sitting in seventh place through nine games, with a barely positive goal differential (+1) to their name, I’m sure those same fans have lost a bit of hope in Jose.
Contemplate this: in his last 27 games in the Premier League with Chelsea and United, Mourinho is a paltry 8-5-12. That winning percentage of 29.6 percent is a whopping 36.3 percent below his career average of 65.9 percent.
Considering the massive spending spree he went on this off season, it’s hard to believe anyone around Manchester United is particularly happy with that record. However, after taking a 4-0 beat down at Stamford Bridge this past weekend, the patience is growing increasingly thin among the United faithful.
Faithful followers of Mourinho know one of his greatest skills throughout his career has been buying the right players. Fans can look to the signings of Didier Drogba, Wesley Sneijder, and Cesc Fabregas as just some examples of his buying prowess. However, these latest United signings haven’t provided the same spark. Bailly has been inconsistent, Pogba has been dreadful, and Mkhitaryan can’t even seem to work his way into the starting eleven. Quite frankly, if Mourinho can’t even buy the right players, what makes him an elite manager?
Granted, there is certainly still time to turn this around, and United have started a lot better than Chelsea did last season, but something about Mou seems to have lost its luster. Never regarded as a tactical genius, Mou was always brilliant with the media, and seemingly infallible when it came to buying players to cover up his teams’ weaknesses. Now, it seems he is little more than a quote machine, feeding the global soccer public with their daily dose of snarky quips. United fans will have to hope that he can turn around what has otherwise been a very lackluster season for Mourinho.