Opinion: United job could simply be too big for Jose Mourinho
Writing for Real Sport 101, Chris Weir wonders whether the Portuguese has what it takes to lead the Red Devils to glory.
A man of wiles and manipulation
"Apologists for the Portuguese usually point out that he is a man of wiles and manipulation. His screeching statements, they say, are nothing but a carefully curated messaging campaign. That might be true but what merit is there in publicly shaming his own players? What value is there in signalling the incompetence of his own chief executive?
"Mourinho knows the media. With every grim pronouncement about his squad's capability, the cameras and microphones are thus drawn closer to his agenda. The supporters, he wagers, will direct their ire towards a staid establishment rather than any of his own profligacies. The inconvenience of his near half-billion spend on players can be swept under the carpet."
Slash and Burn-t out?
"What effect does the constant negativity have on his team, though? When Mourinho decries the entire Under-23 side, as he did during the recent pre-season tour of America, what impact does it have on the parents who are on the verge of sending their children to United's junior ranks? What do his coaches think, when they have their competence questioned so openly?
"Footballers are employees. Richly-rewarded ones but employees nevertheless. Most of them want to work in an environment that is constructive and fair. United's prospective signings see a man who is uncompromising with a winning history but they also see a coach who appears constantly irritated, ready to throw his own charges under the bus."
A dwindling legacy
"Increasingly, United fans are turning on their irascible manager. The football hasn't been good enough, and nor have the signings. Is Mourinho incompetent, or are his powers waning? Will he even be United manager by the end of the season? Nobody knows. And nobody wants to listen to the tantrums and tears before they find out."