José Mourinho’s third season cycle seems to be coming into effect earlier than normal. Usually, in his third season at a club, the wheels fully come off as his teams often go into a downward spiral. Before you know it, he’s being shown the exit door by not only the board but the players too.
Last week, the world’s most famous club succumbed to a small seaside club on the South Shore. For the second season in a row, Brighton handed Manchester United a defeat at the Amex Stadium. After spending millions on this team, such a defeat is unacceptable for the Red Devils and the only way this can be viewed in a positive manner is for it to serve as a wake-up call.
Here’s why Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat at Brighton was a wake-up call for the Red Devils.
Once again, the strained relationship of Paul Pogba and José Mourinho was the centre of attention in the post-match aftermath. The duo has done all they can to play down the rift, but the cracks are there for all to see. Before the match, the Portuguese manager said he couldn’t be happier with the Frenchman at the moment – was he telling the truth?
Despite being named captain again, Paul Pogba put in an awful performance where he misplaced 14 passes, made one tackle and was dispossessed five times. The 25-year-old struggled to dictate United’s flow of play, regularly making the wrong decision on the counter-attack. Although he did score his second penalty in as many games, he will need to significantly improve if United are to even remotely challenge for the title.
José Mourinho must focus less on belittling players like Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba and instead concentrate on getting the best out of them. Granted, he didn’t get the centre-backs he wanted in the summer window, but to be fair, he did buy Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelöf, so why would the board trust him with another £60million for defensive reinforcements?
It’s clear as day that Manchester United, with their millions of pounds of talent, see themselves as above most teams in the league. As they should, but in practical terms, hard work always beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Too many times last season, Manchester United failed to put away smaller teams due to their bucket loads of arrogance. Paul Pogba himself came out after the 3-2 loss and declared: “We lost, we lost in the attitude that we had today, I don’t think we deserved to win. The hardest game to play, playing maybe against a smaller club than Manchester United.”
If the club captain himself can recognise that their attitude was wrong, then why wasn’t this rectified on the pitch? Manchester City is also a team full of multi-millionaire superstars, but they work hard on and off the ball like their lives depend on it.
That’s the difference, City is hungry – United are arrogant. The Red Devils cannot afford to continue with such a lackadaisical attitude because Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea is breathing down their necks.