Monday Verdict: ‘Depressing’ LVG must go, but Jose not right for United

Date published: Monday 21st December 2015 11:39

Jose Mourinho: Set to succeed LVG at Man Utd

Jose Mourinho: Set to succeed LVG at Man Utd

Chelsea were right to sack Jose Mourinho – and Manchester United should steer clear of him despite Louis van Gaal’s continued struggles, writes Mark Holmes.


It may only have been against Sunderland, but their performance in their 3-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday added weight to the belief of many that Chelsea’s players hadn’t been putting in the maximum amount of effort for Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea may well have won the game with Mourinho still in charge, of course – all three of their goals owed as much to incompetent defending as anything else – but that Pedro was one of four Blues players in the box when scoring the second goal hinted at an added enthusiasm for the cause.

Michael Emenalo made it clear that the Chelsea board blamed Mourinho rather than the players for the poor results this season, but that desire to get into the box is among the things that several members of the squad have appeared to lack at times. It’s very difficult to prove or even quantify, but the supporters’ reaction to each goal suggested they have picked up on that lack of desire, too. You might say it was ‘palpable’.

Chelsea fans' rats banner

However, even if some of Chelsea’s players really were putting in less than 100% under Mourinho, that is not to say that the manager was not to blame.

It is hard not to feel sympathy for Mourinho if the problem, as has been suggested, was that certain players did not want to put in the defensive work being asked of them, but the simple solution to that would have been to remove the one or two bad apples from the team. The fact that no amount of changes to the team brought about an improvement in performances suggests there was a much wider problem than a disagreement between Mourinho and one or two problems.

Players should follow the instructions of their manager and put in 100% effort regardless of whether they agree with said instructions, but ultimately there is only one man to blame if there was indeed widespread revolt in the Chelsea camp. In any profession, it is a key part of a manager’s job to keep his staff happy and motivated; Mourinho clearly did not do that this season.

“I never liked the kind of leadership where the boys say: He’s my leader, I have to respect him. I prefer them to say: I respect him and he’s my leader.”


Mourinho has always prided himself on his man-management. He was one of the boys. He wanted to be a man that players followed not because they had to but because they wanted to.

For whatever reason, Mourinho lost that respect in the Chelsea dressing room. Supporters are certainly right to feel anger towards some of the players, but Mourinho’s only complaint can be with himself for abandoning the man-management principles that have served him so well.


With Mourinho looking for a quick return to management and Louis van Gaal continuing to face criticism as manager of Manchester United, there is speculation that the change at Stamford Bridge could soon be followed by one at Old Trafford.

Only a fortnight to the day since it was widely reported that the United hierarchy was happy with the progress made under Van Gaal and would like him to extend his contract, The Sun, Daily Mirror and Guardian all report that the Dutchman is likely to be sacked if he cannot inspire an immediate upturn in fortunes at Stoke City on Boxing Day and then against Chelsea two days later.

A lot has happened in that fortnight, of course, with United knocked out of the Champions League and then slipping out of the top four of the Premier League courtesy of defeats to Bournemouth and Norwich City.

The Guardian claims the Glazers expected a serious title challenge this season, but the likelihood is that only a fear of missing out on a place in next season’s Champions League would force them into action only two weeks after they were apparently content.

Many of United’s supporters would argue that the style of play alone under Van Gaal is enough reason for a change, but two scrappy 1-0 wins against Stoke and Chelsea would more than likely keep the bean counters at Old Trafford happy. All Van Gaal has to do is keep the team in the top four.

How utterly depressing. They are hardly the only big club struggling to meet expectations this season, but what a fall from grace they have suffered that drearily grinding out enough points to finish fourth would be enough for the owners.

It has become abundantly clear that United are never going to excite nor seriously challenge for major honours under Van Gaal. He was arguably the right man for the job at the time, but he is not the right man any more. The only question is, when do United replace him?

If they do it soon and move for Mourinho, plenty will feel they have a good chance of winning the Premier League title this season. Leicester City are nine points ahead and could well be more by the new year, but Mourinho is proven at making impressive immediate impacts on teams.

However, there is an obvious possibility that belief in Mourinho, perhaps even self-belief, may have been knocked by what has happened at Chelsea this season. He would be taking the job with question marks over his ability; it would be a big test of his character to instantly get United’s players to buy fully into his way of doing things.

Whether Mourinho is capable of making a lasting impact, meanwhile, is a question which remains unanswered. His style of play could hardly be described as swashbuckling either so United would be taking a chance on him delivering immediate success to justify the appointment.

Furthermore, and some would argue most pertinently of all, Mourinho’s behaviour away from the pitch this season will have done very little to convince the likes of Bobby Charlton that the Portuguese has the right personality to manage the club.

It seems a bizarre thing to write about the man that won the Premier League title only seven months ago, but it is much easier to make a case for United not appointing Mourinho than it is giving him the job.

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Home Forums Monday Verdict: Mourinho had to go and isn’t right for Man Utd

This topic contains 62 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  nine nine nine 1 year, 2 months ago.

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    Mark Holmes

    Chelsea were right to sack Jose Mourinho – and Manchester United should steer clear of him despite Louis van Gaal’s continued struggles.

    [See the full post at: Monday Verdict: Mourinho had to go and isn’t right for Man Utd]


    Johnny Utah

    I don’t think Mourinho would win the title this season with Man Utd but he would next season and would probably only need two signings, a centre back and striker. Those turning their noses up at Mourinho’s behaviour? Ferguson was just as bad. Not one eye lid was batted at Ferguson’s disgraceful behaviour as he was successful. The only problem would be Mourinho’s excessive negativity and love of bus parking. You could say that Mourinho and Man Utd are almost perfect for each other.



    I have to agree Mark, I cannot see how Mourinho will allow the team to play “the United way” either. This seems so obvious to me when you look at how he set up his Chelsea and especially Real Madrid teams.



    People forget that during United’s final years under Ferguson, the football was drab. Between 03-06, the football was shocking and between 86-90 it was a borefest. Against Barcelona in the CL semi final, United sat back and played defensive football.

    If Mourinho does not get the United job, like in 2013 the club would make a massive mistake. United were built for Mourinho, his ego suits the club and United need someone like him to have the opposition be afraid of United again.



    Mourinho is in a whole other league to Ferguson. Don’t want Mourinho anywhere near our club. He’s confrontational, rigid, spends big, ignores youth, moves on quickly, plays boring football, disrespectful, annoying, deflects attention, he’s a hypocrite. Just generally a bad egg who very few in the game respect.


    The next 2 fixtures for United couldn’t come at a worse moment for LVG. Stoke is one of the most difficult away fixtures in the league and Mark Hughes will be all in for that tie. Then they will face a rejuvenated Chelsea side full of quality players. My bet is that United will lose on both occasions and the Dutchman will get the boot.
    I don’t think you will find many United supporters wanting Mourinho to take over. He would take the job though. Many speculations on who will take over have emerged with names like Ancelotti (now bound for Bayern), Guardiola or Simeone. But there is one name that I haven’t heard yet that would be high on my list: Mark Hughes.
    He’s done a really good job at Stoke. Transforming a team that played the most unattractive football in the league grinding out results from set pieces under Tony Pulis to a wonderfully balanced side that has hardmen like Shawcross, Whelan and Adam to magicians like Krkic, Shaqiri and Arnautovic. He has never gotten credit for his time at Man City and is of course a United legend who would get instant respect from fans and players alike.


    Mancity Jim

    He didn’t get credit for his time at City as our side under him wasn’t balanced imo. He made some good buys but also some very poor ones. Kompany and Zabba have been excellent signings. RSC and Jo dreadful. Defensively his last game in charge against Sunderland summed him up for me, we won 4-3 but could of easily lost 4-5. All that said there is no denying he has done a good job at stoke, maybe he has improved his game, but personally I think he would still be a big risk for a club that wants to challenge on all fronts. Jim



    Agree with both CM and Manthistle,so then well,that leaves me 50-50 split.European press are full of Mourinho and United at very advanced stages of negotiations,so who knows!!!!.


    nine nine nine

    And Fergie wasn’t confrontational.

    Mourinho at United are what nightmares are made of! Lol.



    all end up in tears again



    The damned united 2? As a chelsea fan I surely hope so! 🙂


    Mourinho is a legend and will be a legend at Chelsea. A lot of fans, including me, appreciate all he’s done for Chelsea. It’s been long time Chelsea hadn’t won the Premiership and Mourinho brought 2 right away.
    But this time: he clearly committed mistakes by not buying the right players, by sacking Carneiro, by criticizing players to the media. All these had consequences of course, players don’t trust him anymore and they don’t want to perform for him on the field. For this reason: he has to go, no choice.

    Now the other question: would Mourinho be suitable for Man Utd? Contrary to Holmes’ assessment, I still feel that he will do well at Man Utd. He should have been the man who replaced SAF when he retired. And I still believe he will bring glory to Man Utd. He has the winning mentality that SAF had, Moyes did not have it. LvG may be had it, but he spent long time with Dutch national team and managing club and national team is not really the same.



    The consequences of both Ferguson and Gill leaving at the same time are still being paid in my opinion.


    Miss the old teamtalk, fear it wont ever be the same,U RLY FKD UP @TEAMTALK.COM!!!






    Is that Justin Bieber?

    Hightown hope
    Hightown hope

    Manthistle-I’m interested that you don’t want Mourinho at your club and I’m pleased you feel that. I know I would under no circumstances want him at Anfield, but working and living in Manchester , many of my colleagues and friends who support United are gloating already that you’ve got him. They seem to want him.

    As a Liverpool fan I just don’t know where I stand. He would probably sort you out in the short term and let’s face it, football is short term nowadays. However boring the football might be, a title is a title – I’d take it ( but not with him!)



    Mourinho reportedly cried when Utd over looked him last time round, so he clearly wants the job. He was over looked for a reason and there is no doubt that reason remains, though whether other factors have changed utd’s view on that remains to be seen.

    If it does happen it will certainly be interesting to say the least.


    nine nine nine

    In fairness to Manthistle he seems to be one of the few United fans who are not prepared to do a complete about turn on Mourinho.

    A Mourinho incredibly motivated to prove those that doubted him wrong coupled with United’s almost unlimited resources would be a very potent cocktail and over a two/three season period would definitely provide a multipld return to trophies.

    I would still be surprised if United sacked LVG 18 months into his three year contract so soon after sacking David Moyes 10 months into his 6 year contract at United and if it is to happen I think it more likely that a change would be made in the summer but of course that is also fraught with problems as United would probably have had to sign a pre contract with Mourinho to keep him out of the clutches of another club and the likelyhood of that not leaking out is very limited and assuming it did leak out would leave LVG as a “dead man walking”.

    Who could have predicted all of this before the season started “It’s a funny old game Saint”.



    United must put a behavior clause in his contract, similar to the one Liverpool made Balotelli sign.

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