Why Mourinho Will Win the Old Trafford Power Struggle

Old Trafford power struggle

After securing just six points from their first four league games, Manchester United are left chasing the pack already. The Red Devils languish in tenth place behind their rivals Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City. The on-pitch pains are the least of any supporters’ concerns though. Off the pitch, the Old Trafford power struggle dominates fan conversation.

This battle is between Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward (and indirectly, the owners). With a banner reading ‘Ed Woodward A Specialist in Failure’ flown over Turf Moor during United’s last game, it is clear who’s side many fans are on.

Here is why Jose Mourinho will win the Old Trafford power struggle and turn United’s season around.

Jose Mourinho Won’t Lose Old Trafford Power Struggle

Fan Support

As mentioned in the introduction, it seems many fans of the club are on the Portuguese veteran’s side. This has been evident throughout the season. In all four games thus far, United fans have been heard chanting Mourinho’s name.

This obviously bodes well for the United manager, as it was a lack of fan support that ultimately catalysed the end for both David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal. It was the 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, though, which affirmed the fans’ affection for the manager.

Despite a 3-0 thrashing, the biggest home loss of Mourinho’s career, the United manager was seen applauding the fans after the match. This show of affection lasted for two minutes, and it saw the fans he was facing applauding him back.

This was recognition that the diabolical performance from United was not his fault. The fans know there are bigger problems at the club, and this was proven with the banner at Turf Moor in United’s last game.

This support from the fans and use of a banner to criticise Ed Woodward proves many fans are on Mourinho’s side. If the United boss is to win this power struggle, he needs the most important faction of the club in his corner.

Recruitment Strategy

It has already been well documented that Ed Woodward could not acquire Mourinho’s preferred targets this past summer. This past window, United were linked to high profile names such as Alex Sandro and Toby Alderweireld.

Ultimately, however, these moves never materialised. The blame for this lies solely with Ed Woodward and the owners for not stumping up the cash required. This is not the first time the board have been to blame over transfers either.

In the summer of 2017, Mourinho requested the signature of Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan. The move never happened, and this was again due to the owners not willing to meet Inter’s price tag.

Failures in both of these transfer windows culminated in the aforementioned banner flown at Turf Moor two weeks ago. It is quite clear the fans have recognised that the results aren’t favourable as Mourinho doesn’t have the players he wants.

Instead of Alderweireld, the Portuguese veteran has to persist with the likes of Smalling and Jones in central defence. These players are simply not fit to wear the shirt, and this won’t change.

In Alderweireld, United would have purchased an excellent, experienced defender to command their back line. Instead, the Old Trafford outfit are persevering with awful players just because their owners won’t pay for replacements. This is truly a sad state of affairs for the self-proclaimed ‘biggest club in the world’.

The fans have now recognised the club’s awful recruitment strategy. This will only help in Mourinho’s battle against the board.

The Players

The vast majority of Manchester United players seem to be on the manager’s side. With the exceptions of Anthony Martial and perhaps Paul Pogba, most of the players seem to be supportive of Mourinho.

This bodes well for the Portuguese veteran, as if you lose the dressing room, it ends very quickly for any manager. This has been evident throughout modern football history.

Mourinho will need to keep the players and the fans on his side in the Old Trafford power struggle to stand a chance of getting his way with the board.


The coming months will be telling for Mourinho’s future at Manchester United. The banner at Burnley was a turning point for many fans of the club. It was the first moment since Ferguson left where fans of the club have openly expressed disdain for how the club is run.

As long as he keeps up his rapport with the fans, and maintains a good relationship with his players, he should win in this battle against the owners.

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