Tottenham could pile immense pressure on José Mourinho in what promises to be an intriguing affair. There’s a growing sense that perhaps the once ‘special one’ may not be capable of fulfilling his United prophecy.
A 3-1 loss against Brighton incited widespread criticism. Whilst Mourinho currently appears to have the support of the board, a further loss to Tottenham could create an uproar.
Special One Faces Critical Tottenham Test
Is the Criticism Premature?
It may seem ridiculous to suggest a manager is under pressure after just two Premier League fixtures. However, it was the manner of defeat that had pundits licking their lips.
United publicised their defensive issue late in the transfer window – by showing interest in what seemed like every centre-back in Europe. This was evident against Brighton, with a defensive display uncharacteristic of a Mourinho team.
It is not only the performance that’s earning his criticism but also his ever-increasing petulant attitude, which has arguably overtaken his arrogance and bravado, since his arrival at United.
Has José Lost the Fear Factor?
The once bodacious, self-proclaimed ‘special one’ now seems a shadow of his former self. Mourinho used to carry a winning aura. It was almost inevitable that whatever club he chose would proceed to reign (for one or two years anyway).
This was certainly the case on his arrival at United. There was a real optimism. The dark ages, ruled by the incompetent Moyes and the rigid Van Gaal were over.
Mourinho has indeed won the league cup, Europa league and placed Premier League runners-up with Manchester United. However, this is not the expected standard of the former menacing Mourinho, who demanded nothing less than first place.
What happens behind closed doors is anyone’s guess. What can be seen, however, is Mourinho’s media presence and fear factor has evaporated. The arrogance has gone and been replaced by bitterness. A smile from the boss is now a rare sight. Perhaps he should be renamed the ‘glum one’.
An Opportunity to Make a Statement
The upcoming Tottenham game provides Mourinho and the team an opportunity to make a statement. A win, especially a convincing one, will appease the fans, whilst silencing the critics.
It is also another opportunity for Paul Pogba to shine, with rumours of his unrest circulating. Generally, this type of pressure brings the best out of Mourinho.
It will be a difficult game, however. They come up against a Tottenham team who also have something to prove. A win for either team will be a huge boost in what has been an eventful start to the season.
A call for Mourinho to be sacked certainly seems too soon, regardless of the outcome. United are a team used to winning, however, and if not winning, competing. They are a long way off Manchester City’s standard and face a tough battle to maintain a second place finish.
With significant investment into the likes of Pogba, Lukaku, Matic and Fred, is second place really good enough? This is a critically important season for the vastly decorated manager, as anything but success may ultimately end in a premature departure.
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