FEATURE: Has Mourinho lost his mojo?
EPL By: Imo-owo Mbede | 08/11/2017
Coach Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the game today having impressed in every league and club he has managed so far in his career. He therefore seemed well-suited for the assignment at Manchester United, more so because he is believed to have coveted it. In his first season, he fared better than his predecessors David Moyes and Luis Van Gaal by masterminding the club’s first Europa Cup victory. Expectations were therefore sky-high for the current season, as he is famed for winning the league in his second season at a club.After a flying start, the team has diminished in output. It struggles to create and score goals, lost at home to Huddersfield, and has failed to show the stuff of title-contenders with gutless and cautious dispositions against clubs in the upper echelon of the English Premiership. Clearly, all does not seem well at Old Trafford, and there is need for urgent remedial measures if United still has any title-winning aspirations this season.Fingers have been pointed at injuries to certain players as responsible for the lapse, but the problem is evidently beyond these injuries. Every team manager has a particular way he wants his team to play and Jose Mourinho is no different. United’s problem is more about the Mourinho’s seeming fixation on an inflexible stereotypical way of playing, irrespective of the players available, than the non-availability of some players. Lining up players out of position, negating skill in favour of brawn, refusal to drop underperforming players, as well as an overly cautious approach to certain games are some of Jose Mourinho’s undoing; and herein lies Manchester United’s current predicament.Romelu Lukaku is clearly not a great striker and his extremely limited abilities have been grossly exposed – yet Mourinho starts him in every game; probably because he was acquired for 75Million Pounds (not because he was worth that much, but only because of the way the market has been in recent years). His miserable performances – not surprising and not entirely his fault – highlight the deeper problem of lack of creativity in the team as a whole. Where Nemanja Matic has brought some stability to the spine of the team, there has been struggles going forward. Natural centre-forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford continue to do a yeoman’s job, playing out of position on the flanks and have been somewhat found out. Martial is rendered ineffective by opponents crowding him out, while Rashford now takes corner-kicks when he should be in the mix trying to score goals. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has lost form and confidence from an inability to operate in tight spaces, when he would probably thrive in a wide role. Herrera has been overburdened with defensive duties (understandably due to the absence of options here) when he would offer more offensively. Antonio Valencia is not offering as much as he used to anymore in attack (with an overall decline looking very imminent) while Ashely Young continues as a makeshift wingback.