Jose Mourinho is synonymous for the tough love he hands his players in order to get the best out of his charges, but the attitude he has adopted throughout his career needs to be tempered or he risks consigning himself to the same third season fate at Old Trafford.
Typically, a Jose Mourinho tenure at a club goes: rebuild, title, crumble. His third season crumble has become infamous in line with his career trajectory. He left Chelsea in his third season on both occasions and he left Real Madrid after three seasons. This timescale has become the benchmark for his career. But, can he avoid the same fate this time round at United?
Part of the Mourinho mystique is that he is able to quickly instil a robustness into his side, and is relentless in chasing trophies in order to garner some success immediately to quell any doubts about his ability.
Manchester United won just two trophies since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement; one Community Shield in the immediate aftermath of his retirement under David Moyes and the FA Cup in what transpired to be Louis Van Gaal’s last game as manager.
But, since Mourinho has taken charge, the club have won the Community Shield, the UEFA Europa League, and the Capital One Cup. This term, the club were outsmarted by a vibrant Manchester City in the Premier League title race and were acrimoniously knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla, but have advanced to the final of the FA Cup.
This will be Mourinho’s fourth final in two seasons at the club, yet things slowly, yet surely, seem to be unravelling for him at United.
Mourinho’s relentlessness garners short term change and belief in his ideas. But, it questions and doubts the personalities of players who do not do everything to fit into his dogmatic attitude and vision.
Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial have been victim of this.
Shaw had experienced difficulties in returning from his leg break, and has previously been criticised by other managers for his fitness, however he seems to have been unable to break his way into the first-team under the Portuguese manager. The youngster seems to lack the discipline for the manager, yet his recent performances when picked demonstrated signs of progress that he has taken a step forward in his comeback.
Yet, Martial is the more perplexing one. After a Player of the Month award in January for his stellar displays, the winger has been benched for the inconsistent Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has taken the place of the Frenchman, despite signs that the youngster was quickly evolving into one of Europe’s best.
The vitriolic dropping of the two players has divided United fans. With a 29 year-old Sanchez taking the permanent place of a 22 year-old quickly showing his worth. Now there is the fear that Juventus could swoop in to steal the player, and it wouldn’t be the first time it would have happened to Mourinho.
Under Chelsea, the manager sold the trio of Romelu Lukaku, Mohammed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. All three who have gone on to become the poster boys for their clubs in the Premier League.
There is a legitimate worry that Martial could be the next, and the fears could transpire into the dreaded third season once more, something United fans would like to avoid like the plague.