Jose Mourinho’s Blame Game at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho sacked

On 18th December 2018, Jose Mourinho was sacked as Manchester United manager, almost three years to the day on from his dismissal at Chelsea. Few will have found Manchester United’s decision to sack Mourinho surprising, but after finishing second last season, who is at fault in Jose Mourinho’s blame game at Manchester United?

Jose Mourinho’s Blame Game at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has always been one to displace blame, revert criticism and stay strong with his methods. His time at Old Trafford has brought up considerable comparisons to his forgetful final year at Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho Sacked

Gone before Christmas, off the pace of the top four, playing cat and mouse with the media. Is this his downfall, or is it something higher up at the club? Perhaps the owners, the structure or unbalance in football and business at Manchester United?

Can Mourinho’s moans about his player’s ability, attitudes and effort be justified? Finally, could the football world have caught up with Jose? Is it his outgoing techniques that are leaving players demotivated instead?

The Media

Jose Mourinho is no stranger to being in the headlines. His comedic approach has won over many fans and media outlets over the last 15 years, providing honesty and controversy. Mourinho has used his elevated status over the media to fend off any criticism of himself.

However, he always gives chances and reason for negativity. His on and off the field actions attract stories and provide more to talk about, especially when his team isn’t performing.

Back in November, he was allegedly just one game away from losing his job. 2-0 down at home vs Newcastle, the abyss was staring Mourinho in the face. He was halfway down it. This sort of media speculation can’t go unnoticed by players and management. This sort of pressure must take its toll on a club. It did.

He also cut a much sadder figure in press conferences towards the end of his time in Manchester. There was much less excitement, a lack of motivation.

He got into a fight he thought he might win with Paul Pogba. He got the attention onto the World Cup winner. Mourinho was desperate for Pogba to prove him wrong. To perform, to lead. Instead, he lost. He had no choice but to bench his most talented player.

Mourinho was then being criticised and was made the enemy. He couldn’t get his players to play. He ‘lost the dressing room’. Once this is reported, it is do or die for a manager. He didn’t live.

This time, more than at Chelsea, Mourinho can’t blame the media. Anything he said that invited pressure was just that. An invitation. He got what was coming.

The Club

Manchester United have a problem at the club that stems from more than a manager. There is a poor relationship with the owners, board and manager. It’s a hierarchy that doesn’t work.

Ed Woodward has been on the receiving end of a lot of the blame attached to the club but the problem is deeper, more economical. A whole other blame game in itself.

The men running the club are not football men, they are businessmen who want two things: a profit, and stories. Temporary success will do for them, similar to Roma Abramovich at Chelsea. A club winning trophies is a good club, right?

That all makes sense for Mourinho’s appointment. They get the attention he brings. The following and worldwide media. Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, once again managed by the most successful manager of the 21st century.

There is no football logic to it, though. He doesn’t bring the stability needed. He costs money, gives bad press and doesn’t play the United style of football. Was it ever really going to work? Probably only in dreamland.

At Manchester United, their Premier League dominance has been stable. One manager. A strong understanding. Mutual respect. Communication.

This had been lost long before Mourinho. David Gill and Alex Ferguson out but nobody of the same calibre back in. The football side of the club is in disarray. They have men not fit to make decisions have power and everyone is too scared to change it. Naivety flows through the upper echelons of the club.

The Players

No matter who is the manager, the expectation is that the 11 players picked are to go out and give their all. This clearly isn’t the reality, but at Manchester United, the players need to take a look in the mirror.

To play for such a huge club, stacked with history, obvious to see all around, effort is a given. Players need to be proud to wear the badge and represent more than themselves.

Mourinho lost the players. This term is thrown around but is very relevant. They didn’t buy into his theory and his outdated methods. They also weren’t strong enough to bounce back. They had a fragile mentality. Players can’t take the beating they used to as they feel entitled.

While many will say that it is then the manager’s job to change the mindset of the players, to demand respect and manage the team, there is only so much one can do. For a team to play so far below the expectation and the set standards, a manager is helpless.

However, this comes to the fact that Mourinho should never put such a large amount of his squad in this position. His fault is first.

Nevertheless, the players are the ones who let the manager down and isolated him. They got away with murder.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is the standout case. In two games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is being labelled the best midfielder in the league once again. He has his switch turned well on, playing attacking, direct and powerful football.

The energy has been rediscovered. Being the high profile player he is, Pogba also transfers the mindset to others. He can carry the team on his shoulders. For a player of his ability to be able to underperform for so long is a travesty. It is a disgrace to football.

He looks to be the chief in a group of players that didn’t care for the club and didn’t care for the manager – who tried to be bigger and better than anyone else.

For a player who has achieved less in football than his manager by a considerable distance to feel so powerful, it is shocking. Pogba has what he wanted and now needs to show his potential.


Mourinho wasn’t unfairly treated on the whole. He has standards, so does the club. He must live up to these. Any comparison to Spurs and Liverpool is unfair as they have been less successful than Mourinho and Manchester United.

They need better. More. They believe that the club can attract the best managers. Mourinho holds less power at United than Pochettino and Klopp at their respectively. No person or individual is bigger than a club but Mourinho doesn’t seem to understand this.

Through his reputation, he asks a lot of himself and the players.

Despite managing at Real Madrid, Mourinho couldn’t adapt and couldn’t cope with the size and demands of Manchester United.

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