So it’s a done deal. Louis van Gaal has been fired and is now but a managerial memory at Old Trafford. People will say, ‘Remember when Man United couldn’t buy a goal?’ (except for Anthony Martial of course). His few backers will say ‘At least he was better than Moyes”’. True or not it’s time to move on. He has done his part to the best of his ability. A considerably greyer Jose Mourinho’s rights issues have been cleared up and Chelsea no longer own any part of the man, except maybe his heart. If rumours are to be believed, he has finally arrived at his dream job. He will change for the biggest club in the world. It won’t be completely true but there is more than likely something to both stories. The immediate story is the irony that comes with this appointment.
Results are the Jose business. That is his forte. If it meant barricading the goal with all eleven players to win a match (especially against Man City manager Pep Guardiola), he would most certainly go to those lengths to achieve the desired result. The man believes in winning, often times at the sacrifice of what purists would call beautiful football, or just football really. However, this is not to say he can’t get a team playing attractive football, or football. We saw it at Real Madrid when he had the typical galaxy of stars to call upon including one of the two best on the planet, at Inter Milan when the mood was right, and at Chelsea for the first half of their most recent winning season. One area of overlap with Man United tradition is certainly brilliant counter-attacking football and Man United need to resurrect that part of their heart and soul after it was almost sucked dry by the van Gaal philosophy.
The fears are that after David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, Man United have now gone for the man they used to chastise and taunt about his proclivity for ‘bus parking’. Moyes brought dull football and went giddy on the idea that United were a crossing team. He was addicted and possibly, in watching United tapes watched one on a loop of Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney crosses and instructed his team to cross the poor football into submission. Goals would magically come and the team that crossed more was the better on the day. That logic was succeeded by van Gaal’s idea that being philosophical, strange in playing everybody except David de Gea out of position, and dull would be the best way to go about his job. Of course, doing the opposite would certainly work. Somehow van Gaal must have heard he was coaching the Spanish national team or that Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were somehow the entire team.
Making light of two really dull and uncharacteristic coaching spells aside, Man United have taken a punt on a proven winner who is by reputation everything the club is not. These will be very interesting times indeed.
Will he change?
Much of the intrigue and appeal of Mourinho is his personality. Even his most devoted critics begrudgingly accept that his entertainment value is off the charts. His interviews are also gold, sometimes for the wrong reasons. The concern will be whether he can realise that he can’t follow his modus operandi of taking credit for successes and blaming his players for failures at United. There are too many influential figures behind the scenes who will make his tenure another nightmare if he crosses the line.
Other more than interesting points will be to see what he does with Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Memphis Depay, and Andreas Perreira, the more favoured young players during the van Gaal era and JUAN MATA. His appointment promises to be media and comedy gold for so many reasons.
Will he change? Will he adapt? What changes will he make to the squad? How will he deal with the tough, tricky decisions on players that are already there in the squad? What will happen in the Manchester Derby? Can Man United afford another erratic Jose?
Can they take any Mou?