Tormenting. Stormy. Flawed. Chaotic. One could use a large variety of derogatory terms to describe Manchester United’s last four years. The Chosen One, The Boring One (Yes . I just made that one.) and The Special One. All the Ones have tried, and have failed. At least for the time being. Moyes lost a lot of matches. Van Gaal won matches but the style of play was too ‘sideward’. And now José is drawing every match he can find. So let me pose to you, a question. If three, more or less world-class managers have tried and failed to get to the expectations of the fans, then does that tell you about the managers or the team? Probably a wrong question…… Um.. Yes. Forget I ever wrote this.
Possibly all this failure can be credited to a few wrong turns by all the managers. David Moyes let go of some good players. Van Gaal bought some very uninteresting players. And Mourinho has kept his tactics defensive at best. But I also suppose that the fans still live in a dream that is no longer possible. Football has become more equal. No longer, are the big clubs dominating the leagues as they used. And one of the most equal and unpredictable leagues in the world is the Premier League. So I believe it would be foolish to criticize them, if they don’t end up winning the Europa League. So what if we don’t play the Champions League? We’ll get it next year. Those who don’t play in Europe are doing pretty well, in the league.
In fact I feel , if we lose the final in Stockholm, next year, we should give up on the Europa League and focus on the PL. Perhaps we could end up winning it. So, in fact Man United is actually brilliantly positioned for the future. Winning or losing the final isn’t going to decide the future of José. He’s going to be the manager regardless.
There can be no talk of a club managed by José Mourinho without talking about, José Mourinho. He was the Special One. He became the Happy One, and now he is the Calm One. He’s been changing the Ones for a while now. And he doesn’t seem to be the same charming Portuguese who sauntered his way into English football, and had everyone completely under his spell. Gone are his witty retorts, his funny little insults and his eye twinkling smile. He’s become The Ebenezer Scrooge of the Premier League. The frowns, the kicking bottles, the sending offs, all of them add to his Scrooge routine. He’s become the grumpy old uncle with whom nobody wants to converse.
But enough about him. United are on the cusp of becoming great again. They are playing wonderful football, even though very drab in recent times. The back passes and Cruyff turns are running amok at Old Trafford. One thing that is not, is the goal scoring. Missing sitters is what ails the patient that Manchester United. And Dr. Mourinho hasn’t done much to cure it. Ibrahimovic and Rashford bring down the temperature for a while but then again it worsens. And in recent times, even the antibodies have reduced their potency. The defence may start to leak goals. United only beat Celta Vigo, because some City old-timer missed kicking the ball from 5 yards out. So MU are riding this Europa League wave on sheer luck. And probably because of City. Also, Manchester United have given up all hopes of finishing in the top four. If this had been the immediate season after of Sir Alex’s retirement, José would have been fired already, like Moyes had been. But since then United fans have become a bit more mature. They have realized that they no longer can dominate football like they used to. And hence allow more leeway and more time for a manager to get settled in.
So as I was saying a few paragraphs ago, this season is not a total failure. In fact I don’t think it is a failure at all. We are in the final of a European Cup(albeit the second tier), we won the EFL Cup, and we were undefeated for 25 odd games in the Premier League. So all this adds up to a very good season indeed. Hopefully we can end the season very well, and with the last piece of the Trophy jigsaw filled in.