Following Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Sevilla which saw The Red Devils crash out of the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage, many United fans called for Jose Mourinho’s sacking. The general consensus among supporters is that Mourinho’s tactics and style of play was the main reason United exited the competition and are so far off runaway leaders Manchester City in the Premier League.
United have been given the financial resources to compete with City on all fronts, with the Old Trafford side spending £300 million since Mourinho’s arrival on player transfers. Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku are two of biggest signings, coming in for £75m plus. Alexis Sanchez also arrived from Arsenal in January to add another world class player to their ranks.
It can be argued that the reason United’s world class attacking players have not been performing is because they are playing under Mourinho. A pragmatic manager that knows how to set up his teams very well defensively and get results. The Portuguese coach has had fantastic success with this approach of management with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
When Mourinho was at Real Madrid however, whilst beating one of the best Barcelona sides ever to win La Liga one season, he could never claim a Champions League title. Madrid have won three Champions League titles since The Special One’s departure in 2013.
Madrid are very similar to United in the way that they both have a traditional style of play which is fast attacking football. Towards the end of his reign at Los Blancos fans started to turn on Mourinho for his style of play, the way he treated certain players and lack of European success, which affected results on the pitch massively.
The Old Trafford side have enjoyed some success since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, the man who brought the exciting style of attacking football to United and so many trophies. Louis Van Gaal won an FA Cup and Mourinho won a League Cup and the Europa League to get United back into Europe’s premier competition.
Van Gaal and Mourinho however are well known for their defensive approaches to setting up their teams, something United fans around the world are not used to seeing after watching 27 years of Ferguson’s swashbuckling attacking sides of which many he assembled.
Many pundits and fans have described United as tedious to watch this season, and are asking for a different style of attacking football to get the best out of the world class forward players they possess.
As Mourinho explained following their defeat to Sevilla this week, going out of the last 16 of the Champions League is nothing new for United as The Special One himself knocked Ferguson’s United out at this round whilst manager of Porto and Madrid.
However, it is the manner of which they exited the competition which has annoyed United fans, they refused to attack a Sevilla side who are known for having a leaky defence, Liverpool scored 5 goals against the Spanish side over two matches in the group stages.
Once the fans start to turn on Mourinho, we have seen at Madrid and Chelsea more recently that the players start to turn on the Portuguese manager, which affects the results Mourinho usually gets in the elite competitions.