It should come as no surprise that Manchester United limped out of the Champions League on Tuesday night. In a recurring script, Jose Mourinho has set up his team for failure and thrust the blame at everyone and everything except himself. Some of the cursory excuses are to blame the players, to blame luck, to blame small moments in games, to blame the pitch and to blame every factor he can spin into a funny quotable.
Who is to blame is Mourinho himself.
More concerned with disrupting the flow and focus of more innovative and progressive around him with childish mind games, Mourinho has long become a caricature of himself and threatens to lead Manchester United along a path they would scarcely have envisioned when they hired a man thought was the best manager in the world at the time.
No Way, Jose
For all the funds he has been entrusted with, his football remains archaic, basic and unimaginative. If he expended half as much energy as he did putting down managers who actually aspire to play football that stands for something then United would be easily disposing of opposition on the level of Sevilla. This is not to say Sevilla are weak, but over two legs there was no excuse for such an uninspired and insipid performance.
There is no one to blame other than the manager.
Jose Mourinho has a formula for winning.
- Spend big
- Load squad up with runners, tall men and a few difference makers
- Get players to buy into his ‘philosophy’ of winning justifying the means
- Get into his rival managers’ heads with witty and/or petty remarks
- Play negative, uninspired football, but be solid at the back and win through overworked difference maker(s)
- If step 5 fails then blame it on someone or something else
It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that he’s made a living off this very formula. Credit is due. He’s tremendous at getting a result and managing a scoreline. In that regard, he’s possibly the best. What is most infuriating to supporters of clubs he manages is the aftermath of Jose. With no attacking philosophy or style to speak of, his brand of football stifles the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. It inexplicably alienates others such as Daley Blind (it’s like we suddenly forgot this season that this man is talented at picking a pass) or Luke Shaw. Their work is made that much more difficult when tasked with providing moments of inspiration in a system designed to suck the life from opponents rather than accentuate the qualities of his weapons.