Jose Mourinho alienates five Man Utd stars as defeat to West Ham piles on pressure

JOSE MOURINHO once taunted Manuel Pellegrini when he came back with his Malaga side to face Real Madrid.

Posted Monday, October 01, 2018 by

Jose Mourinho alienates five Man Utd stars as defeat to West Ham piles on pressure
Jose Mourinho is entering the nadir of his tenure at Old Trafford

"If Real get rid of me, I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A," was Mourinho's barb to his Bernabeu predecessor.

Such has Mourinho's stock been damaged by the event of the last week, culminating in the abject performance against Pellegrini's West Ham, you cannot help but wonder who would actually take him next.

His days at Manchester United now have to be numbered.

Even by his own standards, Mourinho surpassed himself in the number of noses he put out of joint in his own dressing room on Saturday.

One: Alexis Sanchez was made to travel to London then not even put on the bench.

Two: Jesse Lingard was nowhere to be seen, another victim of the United manager exercising his "options".

Three: Mourinho went with an extra centre-back but left Ivory Coast international defender Eric Bailly on the bench in place of inexperienced midfielder Scott McTominay out of position.

Four: At the first sign of things going wrong, he took off Paul Pogba. Again.

Five: Then he used his press conference to criticise Anthony Martial for failing to accept any defensive duties and even sneered at anybody who had called for him to be selected in the first place.

Add in Phil Jones, who he threw under the bus with Bailly after the midweek shoot-out defeat against Derby, and suddenly this is a dressing room that Mourinho is not so much losing as giving away in instalments.

When he needs a performance from his players to put all the jitters to bed, is it no surprise West Ham were in front after five minutes and enjoying 85 per cent of possession by the quarter-hour mark?

Felipe Anderson's neat flick from Pablo Zabaleta's cross may have had a whiff of offside about it but when Andriy Yarmolenko's shot looped in off Victor Lindelof just before half-time, few could begrudge the Hammers a two-goal lead.

Marcus Rashford's introduction quickly led to another clever finish but even at 2-1 there was no sense that United were going to flex their collective muscle and make things right again.

Instead Marco Arnautovic wrapped up the points with a third goal despite playing through the pain barrier - "it's about me, it's not about the medical staff," he said later.

Playing Manchester United off the park after West Ham had stolen Chelsea's 100 per cent record and then rolled over Macclesfield 8-0 - it has been a very different week for Pellegrini.

Rewind just two weeks and it was Pellegrini in the midst of a crisis. Four defeats out of four; an unsettled dressing room full of new signings; too many lukewarm performances.

What changed? Absolutely nothing, and that is the point, according the Chilean himself.

"Maybe it's very easy to say, ‘No, we must change…'" he said. "The players are always testing you and they needed to feel I was not afraid because we could not win the first four games. It's very easy to lose faith. Very easy.

"But always they heard me say exactly the same from the first day of pre-season, I was not going to change."

Bottom line, there is no such thing as a turnaround - it is about managing your players into believing in your vision. Pellegrini has done that. Mourinho cannot.

Yes, as Gary Neville has suggested, the ultimate problem may lie higher up the organisation.

But even if he is not the root cause of Old Trafford's current ills, for £12m-a-year Mourinho is simply not doing his job of managing the team.

Which is why it should be time for him to seek another. Whoever will have him.



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