With each passing week and result, Manchester United looks less like one of the Premier League’s
title contenders top-four clubs “big-six” sides, and more like an expensive yacht floating down a river without an operating engine or any control over which direction the vessel meanders to next.
This is, of course, a pretty harsh analogy to describe the club’s current state under manager Jose Mourinho. But the overall tone and content of Mourinho’s message following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton — a result which required the Red Devils to come back from 2-0 down after 20 minutes — seemed to indicate that Mourinho was anything but concerned about recent results and that he wasn’t too terribly bothered by — or aware of — the fact that his side has won just three of its last nine PL games.
What’s worse, they’ve managed to fall a goal (or more) behind in six of those nine games. The fact they’ve lost just two of the nine is largely irrelevant when you remember we’re talking about a club that has spent the way Man United has since Mourinho took over at Old Trafford.
Anyway, here’s Mourinho explaining how a makeshift backline and disjointed possession in midfielder were insurmountable challenges against the team that entered the weekend 19th place in the league table — quotes from the BBC:
“I think the result is quite fair in spite of the fact we were more dominant in the game. They had a better start than us. We were in trouble, organizing a defensive line with only one center back, we tried to protect that weakness with playing three instead of two central defenders.
“It worked quite well, the goals we conceded were a direct free kick and a good shot. But we needed to lose less balls in midfield and if you do that you have more continuity in attack.”
“We lost easy balls in the transition to attacking areas making it more difficult for our attackers against a line of five defenders.
“I’m always confident but always doubtful at the same time because we don’t start well many times. Today we had a reason for the fragility. Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic were out of position, and Phil Jones had to step up, and in my opinion he played really well.”
“When the players don’t understand simplicity is genius, it is difficult to have that continuity.
“Choices, when they have the ball, what we needed to improve was to play one-touch, two-touch, make it simple, make it arrive fast for the attacking players. By losing too many balls in midfield we broke the dynamic that usually leads to goals.”
Perhaps the best way for a manager to avoid being fired is to remain as quiet and calm as possible, so as to avoid drawing attention to the fact your team is wildly underperforming and you’re getting completely indifferent performances out of most of the biggest names in the squad.