Friday 23 February 2018 / 05:16 AM


The talk of the weekend was – of course – Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge as Manchester United coach. Following United’s goalless draw at Anfield on Monday and their emphatic victory in the Europa League midweek, things were looking up for the Red Devils. However, that positivity didn’t last very long…

If you watched the game, you’ll be well aware that several of United’s players were simply dreadful. Fellani, Pogba and Herrera can all be tarred with that brush, and the interesting thing is that Mourinho can’t really control these sorts of performances.

The midfield trio’s inability to keep the ball and close their opponents down is not the sort of thing that can be sorted by better coaching – they are all expensive footballers, and should be able to do better than that.

However, what can be called into question is Mourinho’s ability to motivate.

In the past this was one of his biggest strengths. His Champions League win with Porto that got him the Chelsea job was borne out of his ability to extract maximum effort from a limited pool of players. Similarly, his reign at Chelsea showcased the way the Portuguese manager can instil a real sense of loyalty and togetherness in a football team.

But these days? Not so much.

In his second stint at Chelsea, Mourinho’s undoing was the fact that he lost the dressing room. All of a sudden, the players were no longer living and breathing the ‘Mourinho way’, and as a result, performances started to tail off.

In the end, his position became untenable.

All the controversy at Chelsea appeared to be a one-off though, and Mourinho was given the United job to general acclaim this summer.

But rather than starting afresh with an expensively assembled and highly talented squad, it seems that Jose is experiencing something of a hangover from his latter Chelsea days.

The United players just don’t seem motivated in the way that Mourinho’s charges have in the past. They’re making mistakes that indicate that they’re not taking the job seriously enough. They’re not trying hard in the way that you’d expect a Mourinho player to try hard.

I could be wrong, but it seems very much like some of the United team have not bought into whatever vision Mourinho has for the club. They aren’t a tight, cohesive unit.

Whether the talismanic Wayne Rooney’s dropping has had an effect on morale in the dressing room is questionable; what is certain is that Mourinho must do something, and fast, if he wants to keep his job.

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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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