Manchester United Is A Victim Of Its Own Success And Mourinho Can’t Fix It

Manchester United is set to announce Jose Mourinho as the next manager taking over from Louis van Gaal at the start of next season. At least, that’s what Bedy Moratti believes after letting slip the little secret during an interview in Milan. Jose Mourinho was having lunch with the Moratti family at the Italian capital.

Since the emergence of this news, everyone now widely expects Jose Mourinho to replace Louis van Gaal at Manchester United in a change that is geared towards bringing success back to the red half of Manchester. Manchester United is the most successful club in English football with 20 league titles, two titles better than Liverpool.

It is good to note that Liverpool has not won the league since 1990, a year that ultimately marked the end of their successful footballing era. It would appear that Liverpool’s 1980s success may have been the source of their eventual downfall in the 1990s and to the 21st century. Now, there are fears that Manchester United could be headed for a similar downfall if it can’t get the right manager this time. So, is Jose Mourinho the right candidate to replace Louis van Gaal?

First, let’s look at what failed David Moyes and Louis van Gaal at Manchester United

Replacing Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to be a difficult job for Manchester United. Louis van Gaal’s tenure at the club has been nothing but disaster, especially during the 2015/2016 season.

Based on the current points per game run-rate, Manchester United could easily end the season with less than 60 points, which would reflect a new low for the club since gaining only 48 points in the 1989/1990 season.

David Moyes failed to command respect from players and members of staff at the club, and this was primarily the beginning of the end of his reign. When Moyes was appointed, he was asked to keep some of Manchester United’s first team coaches at the club, including Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan.

However, after taking over, he decided to appoint his own team, unwisely disregarding the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson. Retaining, at least, one of them would have been a huge boost during his time at the club.

What followed next was a complete loss of trust from senior figures at Manchester United, including players and staff. Once that happened, the end result was clear. Moyes was never going to succeed at Manchester United.

His replacement Louis van Gaal, however, did appear to command respect from players and staff thanks to his outstanding CV. Nonetheless, his arrogance and stubbornness appear to have yielded the same outcome as the Moyes’ era, in which case, the Dutch trainer faces an inevitable exit from Manchester United.

Louis van Gaal’s biggest mistake at Manchester United was his insistence on a certain way of play and training methods, which did not appear to resonate well with players. Louis van Gaal signed a 3-year contract to be the manager of Manchester United, upon which hid duties were to return the team to the Champions League and win the Premier League.

Given the demands on paper, it was pretty clear that Louis van Gaal did not have the time on his side to implement a new playing style or training methods at Manchester United while being expected to turn things around. Manchester United’s success is built on fast attacking football. That style of play is what has made it the brand it is today. Therefore, to come to a club like Manchester United expecting to overhaul its identity was never going to work. It will never work, and the reason why is very simple. Given the club’s size and following, anything outside its traditions will always attract more pressure from all stakeholders.

A few weeks ago, Adidas revealed that the kind of football being played at Manchester United is not entertaining. Earlier this week, the sportswear apparel giant posted a t-shirt with the initials “Duty to Entertain” alongside the “Red Devils initials” and the Adidas logo. This was widely seen as a dig at the current Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. On the other hand, fans attending matches at Old Trafford have often jeered the team when it appears to be playing slow, sideways-passing play. When that happens, fans have repeatedly chanted “attack, attack, attack,” which is Manchester United’s footballing identity.

With all this pressure coming towards the players and the manager while on the field of play, it is hard to perform well. However, that’s exactly the kind of pressure any new manager coming to the club with a goal of implementing his own style of play, rather than adapting to Manchester United’s traditions, will face.

Is Jose Mourinho the right candidate for Manchester United hot seat?

While Jose Mourinho possesses the right Premier League and European experience, his style of play and recent history count a lot against him. Jose Mourinho is a disciple of Louis van Gaal after serving under the Dutch tactician in Barcelona.

Mourinho likes to implement his own methods and style of play in every club that he takes over. Early reports suggest that he will be given a three-year deal at Manchester United, which in my opinion, is not enough to implement a new style of play and expect to deliver trophies.

On the other hand, the current Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s style of play is perfectly suited for Manchester United. Tottenham Hotspur is currently second in the premier league table and appears to be a joint favorite to win the league now. While Manchester United’s legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson was recently quoted saying that the White Hart Lane-based club has the best manager in the Premier League, it would be almost impossible to price him out of the London club in the near future.

Nonetheless, given Manchester United’s spending powers and tradition, nothing can be ruled out as of yet. News that the job has already been handed to Mourinho appears to have put away any chance of bringing on Pochettino to the theatre of dreams.

[Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images]