Mourinho Tells Man United Fans: Take A Look At Ferguson’s History And Be Calm, Do Not Panic


mourinho5-1 at Maine Road. 4-0 at Anfield. The first Manchester United team of Sir Alex Ferguson suffered some heavy blows during its building phase. Players were bought and sold: from Mal Donaghy to the late Ralph Milne. Youngsters tried and discarded: from Russell Beardsmore to Denny Graham. Systems were employed. A back four. A back three. Yes, Sir Alex experimented with a back three. There were growing pains. But you could see what he was trying to do. There was a method to it. A progression. And unlike with Louis van Gaal, the same sensation can be felt from Mourinho’s first three months in charge.

4-0 at Stamford Bridge is a setback for Mourinho. But it’s no knockout. And it’s certainly not an indication that the magic’s gone.

Indeed, the only thing that’s gone is the short-term memory of those climbing over eachother to pull the United manager apart. Did Leicester City – the champions – actually happen? Southampton? Fenerbahce was only last week. Or was it? Four goals against the Turkish giants. Paul Pogba flying. Juan Mata outstanding. But, apparently, none of this was entertaining enough for those behind the glass. Mourinho has failed to bring the magic back, they insist. Forget about what old timers like Paddy Crerand and big Ron Atkinson say. Their claims of the Leicester game being the best they’d seen from United since Sir Alex aren’t worth a jot. It’s us on the laptops that matter. And after the belting at the Bridge, Mourinho has officially lost it…

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Even when the goals have flown in this season, Mourinho has been quick to warn fans. He hasn’t sold the United support a fantasy. He’s spoken about ability. About character and mentality. And he’s also warned about consistency, making it clear that this is the final and most difficult facet a winning team must achieve. Essentially, as they go from A to B. From Van Gaal to Mourinho. There’s not only going to be hiccups, but tumbles and falls. Just as Fergie experienced in those formative years.

This is a team in transition. Mourinho is still learning about who he can count on in the long-term. While Pogba and Marouane Fellaini have been hammered in the aftermath, what was clear from Sunday is that his back four needs major surgery.

Daley Blind – as we’ve argued in this column – is simply too one-paced to be effective at left-back – particularly against a team playing at the level Chelsea produced on Sunday. He’s competitive against most wingers in the Premier League. But Pedro, Victor Moses and Eden Hazard – in the form they were in on the night – are a different matter. As a long-term left-back, he can’t be an option.

Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly have all had their moments this season. But what was glaring as United were forced to chase the game after barely a minute was the lack of vocal leadership coming from the back four. United were a shambles at times defending set pieces and the manner (or confusion) of Pedro’s opening goal summed up an obvious weakness in Mourinho’s squad.

At Chelsea he had John Terry. With Inter Milan it was Marco Materazzi. And just as with Porto and Chelsea, Mourinho was able to count on Ricardo Carvalho at Real Madrid. Smalling is wearing the captain’s armband in Wayne Rooney’s absence. But vocally he isn’t decisive. He’s a centre-half to play alongside a Terry or Materazzi. Not one to guide an Eric Bailly.

The answer for Mourinho could lay in Turin. Leonardo Bonucci hasn’t completely dropped the idea of leaving Juventus. And with Beppe Marotta, Juve’s general manager, talking up the prospect of bringing PSG captain Thiago Silva back to Italy, the word is he would arrive to replace Bonucci, not complement him. Manchester City and Chelsea have been mentioned as likely suitors, but don’t count out Mourinho. United’s back four, as it stands, just isn’t his. It’s nothing like a Mourinho defence. Give it six months and see how it goes was perhaps the line of thought. But he’ll change it. Chelsea will have confirmed the need for that.

This isn’t a team in need of tinkering. It’s a rebuild. Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bailly were bought for the long-term – and also the here and now. Players to make a difference. To reform the spine of the team. All three have had their moments this season. But it’s a new league for them. A new country. It’s happened to the very best. The slips will occur. And the growing pains will continue as Mourinho performs more surgery.

But there is a method to it. And he has a history of getting it right. Three months in and two wins from the summit. It’s not the time to chuck it all away. courtesy: tribalfootball,