Tuesday 23 January 2018 / 11:04 PM


This is an article about Jose Mourinho and Manchester United.

But just before we get into it, I want to make one thing clear: it’s not going to be one of those journalistic bits of nonsense that calls for the manager’s head, claiming he and Manchester United aren’t a good match and that it’s already time to call it quits.

That would be ridiculous.

United have lost three football matches, having won their previous three prior to this mini-slump.

The first was against Man City, who are one of the red-hot favourites for the Premier League and managed by someone acknowledged by most people as one of the best managers in the world.

The second was against Feyenoord in the Europa League, and Mourinho put out a second-string side. I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t think Jose’s that bothered about that competition.

If we’ve learnt anything over the last few years, it’s that being in the Europa League (and particularly if you stay alive until the latter stages) has a detrimental effect on your domestic form. Spurs have struggled with it for years, as have Liverpool.

The third was a horror show against Watford. It wasn’t a good performance. It was a bad day at the office. These things happen.

What I find bizarre is that the media are jumping on these three lost games and riling themselves up into some sort of frenzy. I know why they’re doing it – because bad news sells much better than a, ‘oh, they need to work on a few things’ angle.

Here’s the reality: United sit seventh after five games. They’ve won three, and lost two. It’s not the end of the world. Sure, Mourinho probably would have liked to beat City and Watford (it’s debatable whether he would have cared at all about the Feyenoord game), but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a disaster.

It’s this sort of OTT journalism that makes football employment so incredibly volatile. A team loses a few games and all of a sudden he’s ‘lost his touch’, his star signing from the summer is a complete waste of money and he may as well just quit and go home.

The problem is that the media actually has a big effect here. The message from the media filters down to the fans, causing them to doubt the manager and become more vocal and vociferous in their criticism. This piles more pressure on the manager and makes it more likely that when they next take to the field, they’ll do with anxiety and worry, rather than clear heads and confidence.

It’s sad. And I’m not going to participate in it. I don’t believe in knee jerk reactions.

So here are the facts:

Jose Mourinho has had a mixed start to his Manchester United tenure. Ibrahimovic has been a great signing. Pogba is taking some time to adjust to the Premier League, as expected. Rooney looks past his best. They’ve still got every chance of a high league position, and maybe even winning it. After all, there’s still 33 games and 99 points up for grabs.

Sorry, there’s no sensational headlines here. But it’s the truth. Hope you enjoyed it.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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