When Jose Mourinho got sacked the majority of the fans agreed with the decision because back then, as when any decision is made, what we had to go on were the facts of the time . Hindsight, however, is a wonderful thing and it’s at times like these that we call to question if we did the right thing…
Jose arrived in the summer of 2016 and after spells under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal his record instilled an air of optimism. Some fans, of course, had mixed views on the appointment and my own barber summed it up perfectly for me when he called it a “necessary evil.” We all knew his history – the run-ins with the media, opposition fans, outspoken views but we were also fully aware of his ability to continually win silverware and having only an FA Cup to show since Sir Alex retired that particular element was most appealing.
At the moment there are a lot of comparisons being made between the current form under Ole and the final few months with Jose in charge. They are too similar for my liking but I still think it’s an unfair comparison. Mourinho was in charge for five transfer windows, spending nearly £360M on 11 players. His departure came in his third season so all the players were familiar with his managerial style. The fans too, had also become overly familiar with the defensive style of football he was playing.
His treatment of players became very questionable – Luke Shaw was hung out to dry on most occasions and when he played well Mourinho shamelessly declared that it was Shaw’s body but Mourinho’s own brain that had lead to it.
Numerous public arguments with Pogba included a heated conversation on the sideline, a training ground confrontation which was apparently in relation to a social media post and a declaration in a post match interview that he would never captain the team again.
Mourinho was clearly frustrated that the club hadn’t signed a central defender in the summer of 2018. Ten days before his sacking, at the Fulham post match press conference, he said “saving money for January?” when he noticed no water on the table. He knew the writing was on the wall and was making his point.
The players had downed tools, no question about that. Pogba had been left on the bench for Mourinho’s last three league games in charge. There was a distinct possibility that he would hand in a transfer request in the January. Opposition fans were signing Mourinho’s name as they enjoyed the situation Man United was in.
The traditional attacking style of the club was nowhere to be seen – the team had stopped playing for Mourinho and was devoid of confidence. The biggest marketing cash cow at the club was on the brink of leaving and Jose was publicly calling out the club’s decision makers for not backing him in the previous transfer window.
So a decision had to be made…
These days, the majority of fans still feel it was right for him to go, all things considered, and he recently acknowledged himself that he “probably deserved to be sacked.” With the benefit of hindsight, however, his tenure will no doubt be looked back on in a more favourable light and his calling out of the shortcomings of the board respected even more.