On Tuesday, Manchester United were scraped off the Champions League roster the same way a disgruntled toddler tosses away an old, broken toy: with no remorse. The toy, like the Red Devils, deserved it. The toddler, you wonder? Jose Mourinho.
Then again, Manchester United is not Toys “R” Us. We can’t just toss it away and forget about it. It’s a monumental part of the beautiful game, but instead of being a citadel for soccer excellence, as it once was, it is now a parody of its former self.
There are abysmal winners and there are sore losers. Mourinho is both.
Let’s recap quickly, and honestly, Tuesday’s tragedy. Sevilla were incredible and Vincenzo Montella’s pivotal decision to play a super sub showcased what could’ve been done by Mourinho, had he the cojones to do so.
The entry of Wissam Ben Yedder, the French striker, and his superb goals were reminiscent of Alex Ferguson calling upon the Italian Federico Macheda who, with a last minute goal, saved the Reds against Aston Villa back in April, 2009 — something Mourinho would have thought of if he wasn’t too busy blaming everyone else for his mistakes, or too busy brooding over his Heineken commercial. Seriously, everyone knows only Germans and serial killers drink Heineken . . . duh.
Ben Yedder rammed two goals into the net and United had no chance. That simple. Even Romelu Lukaku’s goal at the 84th minute was by then just for face saving, not victory. As for Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, let’s just say they were as useless as a legless stool. Is that fair? No? Cry us a river.
Excluding David de Gea, the Red Devils looked like a team pretending to be a team. For Rio Ferdinand, the same sentiments were pointed at Sanchez. Here’s what the former defender had to say.
"He looks a shadow of the player he was, he looks a stranger in this team...""In some ways, I feel sorry for him."@rioferdy5 discusses Alexis Sánchez after another below-par display for Manchester United. pic.twitter.com/tQadySYbjk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 13, 2018
Now, for the juicy part: the Mourinho bashing. I mean the constructive, well thought out criticism which, for the Special One, is an alien language. In his post-match press conference, the baby in charge deflected the loss with this pathetic logic:
Yes, ladies and gents, nothing to be sad here. Nothing new for Man Utd to be out of the Champions Leage. That’s like saying, “Oh, I’ve been kicked out of the store again. Whelp, I’ll just go grab my groceries the way raccoons do.”
Mourinho and his ego are the problem. He pretends to be a sensei in football, the one who’s been sent to save the masses with his bus parking, denial and overspending. If you’re the manager of a team, mind you a team that was once dubbed the Pride of England, then a comment like “We’re out again, sorry, just the norm around here” is absolutely horrendous.
The Portuguese boss, who started managing the Devils in 2016, needs to acknowledge that the accountability of success mostly goes to the team but the accountability of failure falls mostly on his shoulders.
According to Mirror, Mourinho spoke to his team with this abusive comment: “When we win, we all win. When we lose, I lose alone.”
That should be a red line for United, period. If he was coaching Eric Cantona or Paul Scholes and said that, then we would’ve read his obituary the day after. Mourinho, with that condescending garbage, is clearly focused more on his image and legacy than that of the team.
Funny enough, his stats with Man Utd are as petty as his persona. Although a 58.7% winning percentage is second only to Sir Alex Ferguson (oh how we miss you, you old bum), it’s also Mourinho’s lowest career percentage yet. His highest was with Real Madrid.
When you lose, Mr. Heineken, you lose alone and the team doesn’t. Maybe that’s why you’re biggest possible accomplishment now is the FA Cup.
The solution? Simple. Michael Carrick is reportedly retiring after this season and the midfielder plans on joining the coaching staff. In a perfect, merciful world, Carrick would be reunited with someone like Ryan Giggs, or Paul Scholes, or Rio Ferdinand, or someone pass the tissue box, there’s something in my eyes.
That’s what Manchester needs. An inspirational force in the locker room, like the Ferguson days, where the character of the club is forged by a team and not by overpriced players obsessed with haircuts and sports cars. My apologies, David Beckham.
Nonetheless, Manchester United is a household name with the potential to once again don the crown of soccer royalty. Unless Mourinho is replaced with a superior boss or magically transforms into the man he claims to be, the Red Devils aren’t likely celebrating any big title.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to throwing darts at a poster of Mourinho because I’m out of Arsene Wenger pictures.