Jose Mourinho is like a dog with a bone right now.
With his Manchester United side dropping points against Leicester City and Burnley with two 2-2 draws over the festive period, the Red Devils are getting plenty of criticism as they’ve fallen 15 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford against Southampton (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), Mourinho once again commented on the spending power of PL leaders, and crosstown rivals, Manchester City.
“Without taking any credit from Manchester City and Pep and his staff and the players, obviously they have lots of credit in what they are doing but Pep arrived, he had the goalkeeper of England [Joe Hart], he doesn’t like him. He buys the goalkeeper of Barcelona [Claudio Bravo], he doesn’t like him. He buys another one [Ederson], now he likes him,” Mourinho said.
“He has [Pablo] Zabaleta and [Aleksandr] Kolarov, two very good players but more than 30 years old, he wants to replace. He doesn’t replace with two, he replaces with three. One from Tottenham [Kyle Walker], one from Monaco [Benjamin Mendy], one from Real Madrid [Danilo], as an example.”
So, there is a slither of credit in there but also a lot of talk about the huge resources Pep Guardiola has at his disposal.
Mourinho said that he has the support of United’s hierarchy but also added: “You [either] belong to one of these clubs where there is no limit and you buy what you want, no Financial Fair Play, there is nothing, you do what you want or it’s hard, it’s hard.”
The Portuguese coach appreciates what he’s been given (over $400 million on new players since he arrived in the summer of 2016, by the way) but the fact that Guardiola has only spent $130 million more than him in that same time period — the price of two full backs — seems to have been glossed over.
“I have the backing of the club. We all know we invested a lot, so when you invest as much as we did it wouldn’t be very fair of me to say the club didn’t support, didn’t want to help, doesn’t want to win. It would be very unfair, which is not me,” Mourinho said. “The club invested a lot of money. The problem is not the money we invest, the problem is the money the others invest. And it’s the problem that others with better squads, with better stability, with more options, they keep investing and that is the only problem.”
Mourinho and Man United are no paupers and this ‘woe is me’ routine is getting very old, very fast. Of course City’s riches have a big deal to do with their record-breaking run but there is a clear plan and philosophy in place and the vast sums are being spent wisely. You can’t say the same about United’s transfer dealings over the past few years.
I get it. It’s tough for Mourinho and United’s fans to appreciate greatness when it’s on their own door step and is being orchestrated by a manager who has long been a main rival of Mourinho’s.
Special things are happening at City regardless of the cash and it’s time for Mourinho to let go of his bone and worry about his own house.