Why renewing Jose Mourinho's contract is a risk for Manchester United
Manchester United are close to reaching an agreement with manager Jose Mourinho over a new contract, according to BBC Sport. There have been ongoing talks with the Portuguese manager and it is thought to be only a matter of time before the new deal is officially announced.
Mourinho’s current contract expires at the end of next season and both parties will want more security heading into an important summer for the club. There have been rumours regarding his long-term future as some in the media suggested he is unhappy at Old Trafford, but he was quick to shoot those down, as shown by the following quotes reported by The Guardian:
“I can’t find a better word than garbage to define the [recent] talk. If you want to ask me directly, I see myself next season at Manchester United. I will leave when the club wants me to leave; at the moment I have no intention to leave at all. I want to stay, I don’t see any reason not to stay.”
Mourinho is a difficult manager to read in press conferences, as he often says one thing but means another. Although his words can’t always be trusted, it appears that these sentiments were genuine as he is set to commit his future to the club. For the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager, the next stage of his Manchester United career will be interesting.
Despite being one of the most successful managers in the history of football, Mourinho isn’t known for delivering long term success to a football club. His longest period in charge of a team came during his first spell at Chelsea, during which he lasted just over three seasons. The Blues sacked him in September of his fourth year after some poor results and friction with the hierarchy.
As he is a divisive figure, it can be difficult for him to maintain success over a long period. Either the players or the board will grow tired of his antics and that will result in a parting of ways.
Manchester United are known for wanting stability and it doesn’t suit them to change managers every couple of seasons. In Mourinho, they see a manager that can continue to deliver success and a figure that the supporters can get behind. The fans had difficulty believing in either Louis van Gaal or David Moyes, but that isn’t a problem that the current boss has had.
In terms of results, Mourinho has done a decent job since taking over at Old Trafford. In two of the three seasons prior to his appointment, Manchester United had failed to qualify for the Champions League.
The Portuguese manager brought the club back to Europe’s premier competition during his first season and did it by winning the Europa League. Although supporters would have expected a top four finish, it was a lot more satisfying to achieve their goal by winning a major competition. In addition to that, they found success in the League Cup.
The winning mentality was being built again within the club.
This season has started well for the Red Devils and they look set to challenge for trophies, even if the Premier League title is likely out of their grasp.
Manchester City have a 12-point lead at the time of writing and that is probably one of the motivating factors behind a new deal for Mourinho. He has been a long-time rival of Pep Guardiola and he will want to get one over on his adversary during their time in England.
The next task for Manchester United is to win their first Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and they see Mourinho as the man to deliver that.
The club will be hoping that he has matured and is now ready to lead a club for longer than three years. Although there have been issues since he was appointed, they are making progress and will want that to continue for years to come.
However, it is a huge risk to renew the contract of Jose Mourinho for the reasons alluded to above. He has never been able to deliver sustained success and there have been worrying signs of decline this season. H
is war of words with Antonio Conte has been pointless and nothing more than a deflection tactic as his side were dropping a lot of points at the time. The United boss invites controversy and that can be problematic for a club, especially one of their size.
In addition to that, his tactics in big matches are negative and not suited to a club with Manchester United’s history. They have always been a team that attack their opposition, but that hasn’t been the case under Mourinho.
Against Liverpool earlier this season, they had 38% possession and managed to get only one shot on target. Considering the frailties of the Reds’ defence, this was a disappointment and the decision saw them accept a point.
Their recruitment has been high-profile, but it is difficult to see the joint-up thinking from the manager as he seems intent on signing big name players rather than building a team.
Since he was appointed, the club have spent big money to secure Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nemanja Matic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Meanwhile, they are determined to sign Alexis Sanchez this month. There is a lot of talent coming in, but it is difficult to see how they fit into the same system.
The Mourinho of the past could build a team. His Inter Milan team of 2009/10 was superb and was custom built to suit the style of play. During his first spell at Chelsea, he had his finger of the pulse and could spot a player before they made a name for themselves. Didier Drogba is a great example of this.
Now, the Portuguese manager relies on having big money to sign players that already qualify as world class and he expects name value alone to result in victories. He has become lazy and that is a worry for Manchester United in the next few years if the trend continues.
During his first 18 months, Mourinho has done well at Manchester United and the team have progressed back to the top. However, it would be difficult to state he is doing a great job as he has had a lot of money to spend. There is certainly room for improvement and that is why this new contract is a risk.
History shows that a decline in the third season is likely and considering the club are far from secure in the top four of the Premier League, missing out on the Champions League would be a real possibility.
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