Following Manchester United’s sixth straight game without a win on Saturday, the calls for the firing of manager Louis van Gaal rang louder than ever. Just a few days prior, Chelsea fired Jose Mourinho, leading to many rumors that it was only a matter of time before United fired van Gaal, and hired Mourinho.
Within days reports came out that Mourinho had rejected the managerial role at Italian club AS Roma as his eyes were set on Manchester United’s potentially soon-to-be open position.
But buyer beware: Mourinho and Manchester United is a match that should never be made.
Manchester United are one of the most historical and prestigious clubs not only in English football but in all of European football. That’s not to say Mourinho doesn’t belong at prestigious clubs. He’s won at one of the two biggest clubs in Spain and one of the biggest clubs in Italy. Plus, he helped turn Chelsea into one of the biggest clubs in England in the Premier League era.
However Mourinho’s recent history suggests that he’s a manager who comes in, transforms the makeup of the squad, wins a league title, and then crashes out in his third year at the club. That’s not the kind of manager United need.
United are currently falling down the league table, making a league title highly unlikely. It will be their third straight year without a league title, matching their longest title drought of the Premier League era. Despite fans getting restless for another league title, that doesn’t mean United should bend to fan pressure and jeopardize their club just for a league title under Mourinho. The risk is too great.
Manchester United have won the league 20 times, the most in all of England. They don’t need a manager who can get them number 21 and then possibly flame out. They need a manager who can restore them to being perennial contenders for the title year after year. They need a manager who can win them numbers 21, 22, 23, etc. With Mourinho’s past history, he clearly isn’t the guy.
There’s another big reason the Red Devils should not go after Mourinho. The makeup of their squad doesn’t fit with Mourinho. Currently, Manchester United’s most expensive player is Spanish midfielder Juan Mata, is a player they only have because Mourinho exiled him to the bench at the start of his second stint at Chelsea. Mata had been voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year the year before, and is still one of United’s most creative players. Why bring in a manager who you immediately know will clash with one of your most important players?
Right now one of the biggest arguments Mourinho has going for him is the same thing van Gaal uses: his resume. Excuse me if I’m not all that impressed with Mourinho’s resume.
Mourinho made himself the hottest managerial candidate in Europe by winning the Champions League with tiny Porto. That was impressive. He then moved to Chelsea, where he won back-to-back Premier League titles before flaming out and leaving the club in September. That season without him, Chelsea went to the Champions League final. He then moved to Italy, taking over Inter Milan where he led them to one of their best seasons ever, winning the treble in a pretty weak Serie A. When he flamed out in Italy, he left Inter Milan far worse off than he found them.
The club has yet to recover.
Mourinho then moved to Real Madrid, where he got them over the hump of their rivalry with Barcelona, taking arguably the most talented team in the world and winning exactly one league title with them. When Mourinho left the club, they won the Champions League the following season. He then returned to Chelsea where after one league title he left them in 15th place.
There next question about Mourinho is his player judgement. He likes to operate with a small squad, which may help short term, but has hurt him over and over again long term. It’s the exact opposite of what Manchester United’s strength always was: squad depth.
Operating with a small squad caused Mourinho to sell a lot of players, Many of them have come back to burn Chelsea. Since taking over for the second time at Chelsea, Mourinho sold Mata, Kevin de Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, David Luiz, and Romelu Lukaku. On the other side, he brought players such as Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa to Chelsea. Both of those players had a good first year before falling off the map in their second season. Meanwhile de Bruyne, Mata, and Lukaku are still starring for other Premier League clubs, and David Luiz scored the goal that knocked Chelsea out of last seasons Champions League.
You can’t deny that Jose Mourinho wins wherever he goes, but he’s a manager who takes all the credit when he wins, and blames the players when he loses. That type of arrogance is off the charts and won’t fit at a club like Manchester United. Even if he does win once, the damage he’ll leave the club in when he leaves simply isn’t worth it.