How do you solve a problem like Mourinho?
Brought to You from our Guest writer Sean Canning
With it being the festive season Sean Canning’s thoughts turned to his favourite film, “The Sound of Music” and one of its more famous songs, which got him to thinking about replacing a singing nun with a moaning manager….
Last weekend saw Pep Guardiola’s Man City side take a huge stride in their quest for this year’s Premier League crown, the citizens opened up a 11 point gap on their nearest rivals and neighbours, Man United with a 2-1 win at Old Trafford. All this means, barring a collapse of Devon Loch proportions, it will be the blue side of Manchester that is celebrating come May next year.
Unfortunately for both sides, the national newspapers have been filled more with headlines relating to the aftermath of the events in the tunnel and dressing rooms rather than the actual game itself. “Milkgate” threatens to overshadow what is a pivotal moment in the 2017-2018 season and possibly Pep Guardiola’s most significant victory since taking charge at the Etihad.
Don’t let the game’s scoreline fool you dear readers, City outclassed United in every department. But it was in midfield that the difference in class was most evident. As always the conductors of the orchestra were the mercurial Silva and De Bruyne. Two players that have flourished under Guardiola’s tutelage and will surely feature in player of the year polls at the end of the season. They switched wings at will and were able to pick out the potent city attack with metronomic passing. Ander Herrera had seemingly been tasked with the role of man-marking De Bruyne in particular. A role he had performed with a great deal of success against Eden Hazard in last season’s victory over Chelsea. Sunday was different however. He seemed unsure whether to stick or twist when it came to following DeBruyne and was ultimately left isolated. He wasn’t the only United midfielder to struggle however, as Mourinho’s decision not to pack the midfield in Pogba’s absence ultimately came back to haunt United as they looked a bit narrow at times and bereft of ideas.
The blame game
The United manager’s comments afterwards were what we’ve come to being accustomed to over the years. With Mourinho pointing the finger of blame for the defeat firmly at match official Michael Oliver, Guardiola’s guffaws when this was put to him in his post match interviews told its own story – he’s heard it all before where Mourinho is concerned. It’s always someone’s fault…It’s just that someone is never him. But it’s not just his opposite number that is exasperated when it comes to Mourimho’s post-match moaning; everyone is fair game in the aftermath of a defeat: the referee, the fans, the team physio etc.etc.
Change the record Jose. All this was compounded by his decision to enter the City dressing room and castigate them for being “disrespectful”….celebrating a victory over your arch rivals? On their own patch? Why, it’s completely preposterous! This is the same Jose Mourinho who earned Sir Alex Ferguson’s ire when he was manager of Porto in 2004 and they scored against United in the Champions League at Old Trafford, Jose’s sprint down the line would have left Usain Bolt in his wake. Let’s also not forget his power slide in a Real Madrid/United game some years later…his selective memory would make Bill Clinton blush.
Where do we go from here?
Despite United’s defeat on Sunday, they are still in a relatively strong position in the league and they have secured a favourable draw against Sevilla in the next round of the Champions League.
The side are in visibly better shape than when the Portugese supremo took over from Louis Van Gaal last year and he has undoubtedly improved the consistency of the team. But their relatively successful season to date belies the disquiet amongst the Old Trafford faithful and their perceived departure from the “United way” of playing football as well as Mourino’s questionable methods of dealing with the media. However, football is a results based business and should Mourinho manage to bring some silverware to the theatre of dreams then unsavoury comments in the press not to mention off the field spats will be a long forgotten storm in a tea…or even milk cup.
This article was brought to you from Playnbrag
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