Smile Jose

on Monday, 28 November 2016. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

Would the real Jose Mourinho please stand up - and smile? Charm us. again. Captivate audiences again. Convince us again. Make us believe again.

I just don't understand what's happened to Mourinho. He's got the job he always coveted. What a wonderful job it is too. Ok, he's not off to the start he wanted, but there really is no need for the tantrums. There's no need either for the miserable face - or the constant smiling and moaning.

United aren't the 'unluckiest' team in the PL as Mourinho would have us believe. They're simply not very good right now - and that's his fault. I think United fans have been more than patient with him so far.  And why not? We're only 13 games into the season. Turning a juggernaut around takes time. The horrible truth for United fans is that your team has been in decline now for 5 years - yes, that process started when Fergie was in charge and he did nothing about it. Well, nothing? Not quite - he signed Robin van Persie, a 29 year old, on whom there was no return beyond his first season, when single handedly he won an 'ordinary' United the title. Fergie knew that - he got out - and still the fall and fall goes on.

None of the above is new. I've said it many times. One of the big problems at United is the sense of expectation. Because a generation of fans have known nothing but success they 'expect' nothing but success. I'm sorry, it doesn't work like that, but I did genuinely think Mourinho and Manchester United were perfect for each other. I actually thought they'd win the title this year. I couldn't see a reason why not.

They spent big, Mourinho got most of what he wanted, and I thought the fact that he knew our league would give him an edge over Conte/Koop and co. I would add I thought he was two top strikers short and I still believe he is. I got shouted down on that one by United fans, but was I wrong?

Mourinho is making hard work of managing United. It's a tough gig, but when you're earning £12m/year and in charge of the fantastic institution that is Manchester United what's the problem?

Everywhere Mourinho has been he's had success. He's a giant in the game. His reputation as a 'winner' is well deserved. So is his reputation for moaning and behaving like a spoilt brat. It always ends like that - wherever he's been, but it's never before started like that - until now.

I keep hearing theories that he's a 'busted flush'. That the game has moved away from him. That a new breed of coach has stolen the spotlight from him. That may prove to be true, but right now I don't believe that. Not for a minute.

But it's difficult to argue that dramatic turn around in Chelsea's fortunes under Conte suggests the players downed tools and got him out of Stamford Bridge.  No-one can condone that, but it's the modern game. Players hold sway.

I'm hearing worrying stories that he's falling out with too many people at Carrington. Initially he breezed in and got things going, returning the place to the way it looked and felt under Fergie, but all too quickly his time at Old Trafford has become all about 'him'.

What he did to Schweinsteiger was a disgrace. Ok, do you don't want the fella at the club, so tell him to find another one and help that process. Why treat footballing royalty like he did? He later said it was a 'human' decision to involve the German again. As I said at the time - by his own admission that made his initial treatment 'inhuman'.

Smalling and Shaw came in for unwarranted criticism. Mkhitaryan is one of Mourinho's but can't put a foot right. Jones was frozen out, before working his way back in. Rooney keeps a dignified silence despite being messed about horribly. Then there's Young - in then out - one week important and then frozen out the next.

I know there's still surgery to be done on that squad and a lot have to go, but do it properly. They've all got mates at the club and dissatisfaction spreads quickly.

After their worst start for 27 years the title has gone. Fourth is looking a long way off. Fourth? Since when were United happy to settle for fourth? Speak to people at the club now and they'll tell you they'd take it.

Smile Jose, please. It's a big job, but enjoy it. More importantly, be seen to be enjoying it. Or is the truth that the new generation of coaches have stolen the limelight and he's sulking? If he is and things don't change he won't last at Old Trafford. He really won't.

For now, I'll continue to believe he'll sort it out. I'm a big fan - a BIG fan, but no more of the childish antics we saw at the weekend. You're making Sir Bobby Charlton look more and more right by the day Jose. He worried you'd tarnish United's image.

If Mourinho fails, what then? I wonder. I wonder if history could repeat itself and Fergie might step back in? I'm not suggesting that would be a long term solution, but it might steady the ship. No, you're right, that could never happen. Oh, hold on - do I remember a guy called Sir Matt Busby?

 

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