As the reality of being beaten by 4-0 sets in, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can hide temporarily behind a mask of words, excuses and complaints about how Antonio Conte behaved, but the truth is he’s been doing a terrible job since helping assemble the most expensive squad in the history of English Football.
You can never tell with Mourinho is his behavior in front of the camera, even when he’s seemingly unaware of its position, is intentional or not. He whispered aggressively to Conte at the end of the match, clearly making everyone see that this wasn’t some complimentary talk between one manager to another. Turn up the audio, you don’t need to be a foreign language expert. Mourinho was complaining about how Conte was turning the Stamford Bridge fans on while Chelsea were leading 4-0. Mourinho, at least from what he says to Conte, thinks it was an attempt to humiliate him.
— Filippo Ricci (@filippomricci) October 23, 2016
It’s funny Mourinho would complain about something like that. He’s been one of the more in-your-face managers, without a shred of class or dignity during big wins, especially against managers, teams and fans he simply loves to beat. Whether it was his famous night at the Camp Nou with Inter, or parking the bus (Again) and ruining Liverpool’s championship chances in 2014. Mourinho can’t complain about managers going out of their way to celebrate in wins against him, especially when it’s a club that he now has a mixed relationship with, even if he is their most successful manager ever.
In the postgame press conference Mourinho tried to make the Chelsea win seem more about luck and taking advantage of chances. Once again, a man who has built a lot of his reputation on what could be referred to as anti-football and simply making the match as difficult to watch as possible (legitimate, but something that will always stand out in his legacy), Mourinho tried to make it seem like teams are playing defensive tactics against his club. The truth is, he’s doing very little with a deep squad that right now he’s struggling to make something of.
And then there’s football. Mourinho now has officially a worse start than David Moyes at United, failing to win against yet another title contender, dropping points for the third straight league game and failing to win in five of his last six league matches. Both he and Pep Guardiola don’t have a league victory in October, but that is of little comfort to Mourinho, who is still tinkering and experimenting with the squad. Not too far fetched, but a lot of other managers should be experimenting, yet they aren’t dropping so many points.
As United lose more ground to the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, Mourinho has yet to figure out what to do with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, how to create a team that plays fast football, how to best use Paul Pogba who seems more and more lost even with a nice Europa League goal. The defense remains clumsy and especially easy to expose. The bottom line? Mourinho and his team’s football look more like his final few months with Chelsea than the aggressive, arrogant, force-of-nature like figure & team many United fans fantasized about having since Alex Ferguson stepped down from the manager role in 2013.