Happy New Year to all of you. We see out 2018 with another great Mailbox. See you on the other side. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mourinho like a football millennial
I’ve been thinking a lot about Mourinho’s decline since reading the stats deep dive from Planet Football. I’ve decided that his problem is that he’s a millennial.
I should explain.
I’ve seen a few threads recently where millennials themselves have been discussing why they are seen a being a. The most entitled b. The most bitter and c. The most nostalgic generation in recent memory.
I should point out I am a millennial and agree with their findings.
They say that essentially, we grew up in one of the most rapidly changing times since, well, the war.
Old enough to remember the old Acorn computer in the back of the classroom, but young enough to see that turn into a pocket-sized computer that lets you phone people.
Old enough to remember the New Labour promise that the world was our oyster, young enough to see that promise snatched away barely before we had a chance to reach for it.
Old enough to be better with technology than anyone older than us, but too old when it comes to a younger generation that was born into it.
It makes sense.
And so, Mourinho. A man who came into football at a time when he’d be coaching players old enough to remember ‘hard’ ‘mans man’ culture (and respect it) but young enough to be aware it may not be the best way.
A time before the tactical revolution of recent years.
He was an innovator, not a Proper Football Man TM but able to command their respect, while simultaneously changing the game tactically. Not with wholesale changes but with pragmatic alterations to a tried and tested method.
For a while he had the world at his feet. Probably the best manager in the world.
And then the world changed.
Younger players grew into the game at a time when, yes, they were earning indescribable amounts of cash. But also a time culturally where young men are allowed to be more sensitive, and club cultures were changing. Where they could reject an old school bullying culture at a club.
This means that those players not only don’t respect Mourinho’s built-for-the-PFM methods, but earn enough that they can stand up to them. But they still need to be motivated.
Tactically, a revolution happened. It arguably started with Mourinho. He forced everyone to change. They did, he didn’t.
The Bielsa school advocates like Guardiola, Pochettino and Klopp have created styles that he couldn’t counter. Not often enough anyway. And they’re doing it with a man-management style that allows for an arm round the shoulder.
And so he’s left, alone. Talking about past glories, bitter about the respect he thinks he isn’t getting but adamant he’s still one of the best.
– as a side note, I think this happens (broadly) to all managers. There aren’t many of the old guard that remain in top jobs and compete. Ferguson, Heynckes, Ancelotti, Hiddink (any more?) have/had all been able to adapt.
I’m interested to see what happens to Guardiola, Klopp and Poch in the future.
Guardiola’s style has been so effective he’s never needed to adapt (but one day he will).
Klopp has mixed things up a few times, add a killer instinct in cup finals and he could end up one of the greatest.
Pochettino has to move clubs, but has shown a fair amount of tactical nous and is probably the best man-manager the sport has ever seen.
Everyone is capable of it, but so was Mourinho.
You’ve got to choose to learn.
Geraint (Zidane’s behind you), Swansea City
Mourinho needs a smaller club; Ole needs time
Considering this is the first time I have written something since Jose was sacked by the club, in which I wrote an article about how it isn’t all Jose’s fault that the club were going through such a bad run, I am now convinced that it was in fact mostly his fault. He is a manager since joining Real Madrid that not could not hack taking the blame for poor results and performance and always seemed to pick a fight with the club’s biggest or best player. I did like the guy, he was passionate and animated, and think he needs to join a club that isn’t so BIG in proving himself again or manage a country instead.
As for Ole, I am delighted for how good a start he has done, 12 goals in three games is good no matter how you put it or who we have played, and I love how he keeps mentioning in his interview and press conferences that we still need that clean sheet, but is also pointing out that the players are creating great chances for themselves and playing great football. Martial, Pogba and Rashford have all been so good to watch in these last three games, and if they can maintain this form against the Top 5 clubs, I am convinced they can become players who score 15-20 goals a season.
I still think there is a long long way to go and some United fans saying we could have been title challengers if Ole was appointed at the start of the season. I don’t mean to be grumpy or moody about that claim, but be realistic, we need a much better defence and a leader in that defence alongside Lindelof, who technically is brilliant and seems to be improving every match. Look at Liverpool and City and the defence they have developed their defence, buying defenders like Walker, Van Dijk and Stones and looking to still improve them, as they have actually worked on the weaknesses they have. If United were to buy an experienced Centre-back and Right-back, then it would certainly be the correct areas in becoming a title-challenging team.
I am keen to see how Ole does against Spurs at Wembley in January and also against PSG in February, as these will be the big tests for the players especially and Ole will be very judgemental in those matches to see who is good enough to play for the shirt in terms of expectation.
Man United should have backed manager over players
In your Winners and Losers you say that whoever says United’s good run is due to a fixture list easier than Kim Kardashian hasn’t watched much of United before the change in regime. I disagree.
While it is probably true that the players are playing more freely and are perhaps trying harder (though I think the fact a person with ambition to reach that level will have the professionalism to at least try as hard even if he dislikes his boss), this in no way means that getting rid of Mourinho was a good thing or that it will guarantee long-term success (which in my opinion is the goal of the whole enterprise).
Mourinho got to second last year. I think what bothered him is that he didn’t win it as I’m sure he thought he got the most he could out of that team which is something I think as well. He thought that this was down to the players he had not him. So he laid into them this year and, again in my opinion, for a lot of them it was well deserved.
Now I don’t think Solskjaer will reach second this year, or next barring some huge reinforcements so then the question is what exactly are we getting with Solskjaer? I don’t think anyone serious expects Solskjaer to match let alone beat Mourinhos first two seasons with United (winning EL and being second) and yet the story from F365 seems to be this was a great move that has already paid off, what with them beating Bournemouth and Huddersfield…
Here is what’s bothering me. If Mourinho had stayed I believe he would have won these games (not with as big a scoreline but won them he would) but he wouldn’t have been praised. It would be meeting expectations as well it should. So why all the praise now? What was the actual net profit of this change? Well the players are pleased. The players who are either not good enough to win the title or are not professional enough to play to their full potential if you anger them, are pleased. This is why the forest is more important than the trees. Mourinho is a c***t. He is a damn fine manager but the way he treated the Chelsea nurse Eva really just showed that he is an absolute dick who throws innocent people under the bus to further his own agenda. I didn’t want him as United manager but once the board in their infinite wisdom decided that he should be it I still gave him support because it meant supporting the team.
And I also support Solskjaer but am a bit annoyed as I know he doesn’t have the strength of claim of Mourinho and therefore the moment shit goes bad, and it will as no matter the manager at some point, shit goes bad, he will be ousted as he was only ‘temporary’ and some new name will be brought in.
Which brings us to Poch our gossip columns’ permanent manager pick. The same way I feel a lot of people are blinkered when it comes to Mourinho I feel a lot of people are blinkered with Pochettino. The measure of ultimate success in any sport really are trophies. Now I’m not saying somebody taking Bournemouth to second in the league wouldn’t be considered a huge success which is why I said ultimate success. Because if you are talking about the very best managers then the measure can only be what they have won. Not how many points are amassed or how many good transfers they had or what good football their teams play. The trophy is the result of all of those things happening at the optimal level. Without the trophy there was someone who managed his team better.
Pochettino has done well at Spurs but when people comment on what he had won they aren’t being stupid or obtuse they are asking for his proof of success because if you want to be considered the very best of the best that is the currency being used. Harry Redknapp got fourth and past the CL group stages. Are we now saying he is one of the top managers the game has ever seen? And for that matter the huge amount of stick Wenger got in the later years is for exactly the lack of trophies. He too got fourth each year and would do okay in the CL. Hell he even won an FA Cup (in the latter years) but it wasn’t enough. This is a man with a lot more trophies on his resume than Pocchetino, who revolutionised the game a hell of a lot more than Pochettino with a style of play that was both pleasing and got CL football and it was widely agreed on this site he should leave Arsenal (and I could make the same arguments for Solskjaer Mourinho to Emery Wenger because if Arsenal were in this position and Wenger was manager he would be pilloried).
The ultimate point I’m trying to make is the same one from my last email. Clubs have to take a stand against players and for managers. One of the reasons Ferguson was so effective is because he was bigger than the players. We have to think dynasties not seasons, after all that is what it took to knock them off their f**king perch.
Dear Steve MUFC…
Glad to see you’re enjoying your Sherwood honeymoon.
JG LFC (If it hadn’t been for the five goals we scored we’d have lost on Saturday!)
…three games and United fans falling over themselves saying that they would of been challenging for the league if OGS was there from the start? Calm down lads, all of the other top five teams have the same record against your last three opponents. Perspective and that.
Liverpool have not been this position before
Please can we all stop revising history. It’s not big and it’s not clever.
To quote F365 Winners and Losers:
‘Liverpool have been here before. In 2008/09 and 2013/14 they held a handsome lead at the top of the Premier League and were unable to get themselves over the line.’
Errr. No. to quote the Telegraph at Christmas 2013 year, ‘Jose Mourinho calls it an ‘unbelievable championship’. The great democracy of the 2013-2014 Premier League title race approaches the midway point with Liverpool fractionally in front and Manchester United still within striking range from eighth position.’
This year Liverpool are barely in ‘striking distance’ of fourth and 26 points clear of eighth.
In 2013/14, after losing to both rivals Chelsea and City over New Year, Liverpool finally overhauled the gap at the top with three games to go after an unbelievable run of victories.
That Liverpool reached the infamous Chelsea game with a three-point lead (and big goal difference deficit) over City was remarkable, and reflected both Liverpool’s success and the failings of City and Chelsea at that point.
In March of that year the Telegraph ran an article asking their journalists which team would win the league. None chose Liverpool.
Liverpool did not bottle it. They merely lost at home to one of their rivals. As they had earlier in the season, and as too had City. At no point did they have a “handsome lead”, and certainly in neither seasons quoted did Liverpool ever have a seven point lead (nor even a four point one).
Liverpool may not win the league this season but thus far Liverpool’s performance and position is totally unique in their Premier League history. Please can we stop pretending it isn’t.
You can’t be nice to everybody but Allardyce, Johnny
‘Looking for the good in things in football and life brings so much more joy to you and those around you than always picking at things to criticise’ – John Nicholson December 2018.
Also John Nicholson:
‘Squatting at the Hawthorns like an incurable haemorrhoid, never quite bad enough to require surgery but a permanent source of agitation and aggravation.’
‘these old British potatoes that constipate the English footballing body’
‘These stupid words were said by bovine impressionist Sam Allardyce’
‘the ludicrous dumbass never-tire-of-punching-in-the-face swollen wart hog-potato hybrid’ (about Sam Allardyce)
John preaches at us almost daily on this site. But maybe he needs to realise that in order to take the moral high ground, you can’t just be very unpleasant about everyone who you disagree with on football, especially if you have no idea what they are like away from the game.
John Collins, London, WWFC
Ok, We don’t play the most beautiful each week but whose team does?
Ok, we don’t have the biggest budget compared even to the Championship.
Ok, we don’t have players good to be world beaters
However, that performance against Celtic at the weekend (a team who have not lost a trophy from seven opportunities or lost an OF game in 12) showed that Gerrard’s Rangers are a force to be reckoned with for the League. And what a joy it was to watch. 55 here we come!