Seven things Jose Mourinho got right about Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United have made a disastrous start to the new Premier League season. The Red Devils have secured just nine points from eight games, sitting untidily in the bottom half of the league table.
The figures won’t lie at any cost. In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has garnered less number of points in the last 18 games than Jose Mourinho, who got the boot after the loss to Liverpool on December 2018, did in his last 18 games as a Manchester United manager. To make things look worse, Manchester United have gathered 17 points in the last seventeen games, while their rivals Liverpool have won 17 on a trot.
The situation looks bleak under the new manager, who was unshaken during his temporary spell between December and March. The signings of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Daniel James has done no favour until date. The trio has not been able to take their side to the next level.
Former Manchester United Jose Mourinho was repeatedly vocal about the problems at Old Trafford. He was even blaming the board during his reign.
We look at seven times when Jose Mourinho was right to criticise Manchester United.
#1 Finishing second during 2017/18 was an exceptional achievement
Manchester United finished runners-up to Manchester City during the 2017/18 season. Even though they were well off the Citizens, Jose Mourinho considered that campaign as one of his best-ever achievements in his managerial career.
“I keep saying and thinking and feeling that the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game,” he said.
He won the league titles with Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Porto before. Yet, he kept on reiterating this part, which is getting showcased currently.
“I keep saying this because people don’t know what is going on behind the scenes,” he added.
The current squad has regressed since Mourinho’s dismissal.
#2 Scott McTominay deserves to start
Scott McTominay was continuously impressing with the reserves. Yet, he failed to get chances over Fred and Paul Pogba. During the final season under Mourinho, the Scottish midfielder got the cut and started numerous games.
The academy graduate has done no harm to his reputation and has performed consistently under Solskjaer. He was named player of the year in 2018.
“He is the one that did everything,” Mourinho said.
“He started the season in the Academy and ends the season playing in big matches, in Premier League derbies and Champions League matches, while becoming an important player for the squad.”
“So I thought this kid cannot go home without an award, so he’s going to get my award.”
#3 Marcus Rashford isn’t number 9
The arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku deterred Marcus Rashford’s chances. The academy graduate failed to get the cut over those two and played through the left-wing mostly.
Six months into Solskjaer’s permanent reign, the young striker has scored only three goals in his last 25 appearances. This is nothing short of catastrophic, but Mourinho called it when he was with the Sky Sports as a pundit.
Mourinho said: “I am not going to say he cannot ever be a number nine, he can be a dangerous number nine especially if the opposition is not pragmatic, is not close and is giving spaces to attack. He can be dangerous in transitions,”
“But when Manchester United is a team that normally plays against teams who go to Old Trafford, close the door, bring the bus, bring the double bus, he is not a striker to play with his back to the goal.
“He is not the target man, he doesn’t score as many goals as a striker should do.
“So I think from the side you will get him to numbers of 10-12 goals per season.”
#4 Andreas Pereira isn’t the answer
Andreas Pereira enjoyed a season at Valencia and returned to Manchester United. The Brazilian was with a bucket full of excitement, but failed to start games under Mourinho unless the squad became depleted with injuries.
Pereira is trusted over Nemanja Matic and the youngster hasn’t performed to the scratch yet. His inclusion has forced Solskjaer to play Pogba in a deeper position.
“His was a personal decision that I don’t agree with, a decision I don’t think honesty is the best decision for him, a decision that disappoints me,” Mourinho said.
“He has the potential to be fighting for a position, fighting for opportunities and fighting to be a Manchester United player.”
#5 Paul Pogba can’t be trusted
Jose Mourinho broke the bank for Paul Pogba during the summer of 2016. The Frenchman was consistently starting games until he fell out with Mourinho’s third season.
The Portuguese International stripped off the vice-captaincy post and starting line of Paul Pogba at Manchester United. The duo did not enjoy a good relationship during Jose Mourinho’s final days as Manchester United manager last year.
Paul Pogba was scintillating during Solskjaer’s temporary reign, but has been quite the opposite since that epic comeback against Paris Saint Germain.
#6 Requirement of World-class defenders
Jose Mourinho bought Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof during his time at Manchester United. The Ivory Coast International was constantly troubled with injuries, while the Swedish was appalling during his first season at the club.
Thus, Mourinho wanted to recruit a new centre-back and his wishlist consisted of Toby Alderweireld, Diego Godin, Harry Maguire, and Jerome Boateng. But, he never got one and had to work with the likes of Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and the above-mentioned duo of Bailly and Lindelof.
Eventually, Maguire was signed this summer, but the Leicester City centre-half hasn’t been able to stabilize the sinking ship.
#7 Nice managers become puppets
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a fan of youth philosophy and puts trust on the youngsters. While having confidence on the youngsters, he was ready to ditch Maroune Fellaini, and Romelu Lukaku – who could have proven to be an excellent plan B for them. The duo won several games after coming off the bench.
“I don’t want to be the nice guy, because the nice guy, after three months, is a puppet and that doesn’t end well.”
Those were true words and it’s coming back to haunt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.