Jose Mourinho, before the 2018 FA Cup Final, which he and Manchester United lost in 1-0: Season not judged based on FA Cup final.
Also Jose Mourinho, earlier in May: When I win the league, it’s the most important thing. When I win the Champions League, it’s the most important thing. When I don’t win anything, nothing is important.
Mourinho kept talking about all the trophies Manchester United won last season: The league cup, the Europa League and yes, he even boasted winning the Community Shield. A match based on achievements from the previous season.
And now he has a season in which he wasn’t close to the title race despite a second place finish; a season with a weak performance in the Champions League, knocked out against Sevilla with a poor showing in both legs; and a loss in the FA Cup final vs Chelsea, which somewhat epitomized the team’s failings under Mourinho, as much as he would like to label everything he has done at the club as a success.
In this specific match, it was once more the destructive approach to big matches: First thinking about cancelling his opponent, then, if possible, attack. Eden Hazard scoring an early penalty forced Mourinho to tell his players to attack, but despite a second half in which the team dominated and got a few good chances (including a goal rightfully disallowed), this was another lukewarm performance.
Mourinho will have his excuses lined up for the press conference: They only had one chance, something about the penalty, something about the disallowed goal. He’ll forget his own player not getting sent off when he probably should have; he’ll forget a penalty call Chelsea should have gotten as well.
In the end, Mourinho failed to turn his team into something more than a physical, difficult to play against group week in and week out. Yes, he won some big league matches that secured the second spot in the league, but it was a season with very few big moments, very few stretches of entertaining football, and in the end, nothing to show for in the trophy cabinet. Yes, if it wasn’t for Man City’s historic pace, the narrative would be different, but for a club with seemingly limitless resources, that’s an excuse that quickly runs out of charm.