Even after beating Juventus and Bournemouth away there is a debate going on, and growing evidence, that Mourinho cannot build a team to compete against the new generation of coaches. ‘The modern football team is a coral reef, a synchronic and symbiotic organism….Attacking play is based on concerted movement out of possession, and slick, choreographed combination play in possession. The system is king’ claims James Gheerbrant. ‘Jose Mourinho is the only manager of one of the Premier League’s elite clubs whose coaching leaves a significant measure of ad-hoc, on-pitch improvisation to his attackers….in the coming era the real stars of football will be constellations’.
After the win at Bournemouth Mourinho was honest enough to say ‘ He knows (Eddie Howe) that I recognise they were by far the better team. First half was a disaster for us they should have been 5-1 up at half time’. When victories come for United they come from individual brilliance – and they have plenty of brilliant individuals. However there is no cohesion, no synchronicity and no obvious succession planning (refer to ‘Why Phil Foden fits…’ in the blog post below).
At present there is no connectivity between defence/midfield/attack and even in key areas there isn’t a decent partnership to speak of:
Smalling sun Sagittarius mars Scorpio Lindelof sun Cancer mars Gemini
Pogba sun Pisces mars Cancer Matic sun Leo mars Aries
Lukaku sun Taurus mars Leo Martial sun Sagittarius mars Capricorn
And yet with just a little bit of innovation, a little bit of modern-day synchronistic thinking the United side could be turned into at least the second-best team in England by Xmas and, contrary to his public pronouncements, Mourinho does have the players in his squad!
Sacked on the 18th December 2018 in the midst of United’s worst start to a season in 26 years. Towards the end – having totally fallen out of love with Paul Pogba, with Marcus Rashford having lost his spark, with Anthony Martial wanting away, and with Alexis Sanchez in and out of the starting 11 – Mourinho just seemed to be picking the players he liked, deploying them wherever, alongside whoever.