Photo: Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho (Independent)
TOUGH LIFE AT OLD TRAFFORD FOR JOSE
Life for current Manchester United coach Jose 'Special One' Mourinho is not what he nor the fans would have expected, but there is still hope. One of the game's most decorated and respected coaches across Europe has added to his list of four of the worst starts to a campaign, after a 1-1 draw with strugglers West Ham at Old Trafford Sunday. He was criticized for playing a defensive unattractive football in a 0-0 draw at Anfield in week 8 in what was billed as a cracker. Chelsea later rubbed salt into his wounds at his former workplace Stamford Bridge in a 4-0 trashing a few Sundays ago. That loss was his worst in the English Premier League and his second worse across Europe. Only the Barcelona 5-0 drubbing while head coach at Real Madrid was deemed worse.
Jose's worst start to date was last season (2015/2016) at Chelsea where he accumulated only 14 points from his first 13 games. He fell out of favour with his fans, players and boss Roman Abramovich and was fired on December 17, 2015 despite winning the EPL title the season before. Chelsea was taken over by Guss Hiddink on December 19, 2015 and eventually finished the season in 10th position. In the 2007/2008 season at Chelsea, his first stint; Jose managed to garner 9 more points than he did in 2015/2016 season after 13 games. Though he had a torrid start, he narrowly missed out on being the champion. The 2007/2008 EPL was decided on the last day of the season, when Chelsea needed to win against Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United to either draw or lose against Wigan Athletic. Chelsea drew 1–1 and Manchester United won 2–0, thus making Chelsea runners-up to United for the second consecutive season. Later that year he left Chelsea by mutual consent.
In 2012/2013 season at Real Madrid Jose equalled his second worst start to a campaign, after picking up 19 points from 13 games. As the season progressed he proved how special he continues to be by going on a good winning streak racking up some valuable points in some crucial games. Real Madrid however finished runners-up in La Liga and entered the UEFA Champions League for the 16th successive season, reaching the semi-finals before being eliminated by Borussia Dortmund 3–4 on aggregate. They also entered the Copa Del Rey in the round of 32, losing in the final to Atlético Madrid.
POST FERGIE ERA
Jose Mourinho has a lot to prove after trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together following David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal's failure to build on Sir Alex Ferguson's dynasty. The hot seat since the Sir Alex Ferguson era has still proven too hot for these managers. Ferguson is Manchester United''s most accomplished coach and is touted as one of the best in the world. He too had a very poor start at Manchester United. In fact, he accounted for three of the club's worst starts since 1992. However, he had the mental toughness and the ingenuity to turn things around. He managed to win the title in two of three poor starts and finished 3rd in the other.
In the 1992/1993 season United became the first ever holder of the coveted Barclay English Premier League after a name change. After 13 games Manchester United was 8th on the table with 24 points. Dubbed as 'Class of 92' David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville made sure the title went to Old Trafford after a horrendous start.
In 2002/2003 after 13 games Manchester United had 22 points in fifth position but Alex Ferguson shrugged off his critics and finished first. Ruud van Nisterlrooy, Roy Keane and David Beckham wrestled the trophy from Arsenal after beating Everton at Goodison Park 2002/2003. Wayne Rooney was unveiled by Alex Ferguson and touted as the next big signing on 31st August 2004. His introduction and 21 points from 13 games were too slow to catch leaders and eventual winners, Chelsea in 2004/2005.
Manchester United will face Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday. A fixture that has always produced something to smile about. The Toffees have won three of their last four Premier League games against the Red Devils at Goodison Park. With a new manager and a mere point behind Manchester United, a win is a must for coach Ronald Koeman who has his eyes set on ending the year on a high.
Manchester United on the other hand is 'hell bent on spoiling the party'. The Red Devils have won at Goodison Park on 15 occasions in the Premier League; at no other away venue have they won more often in competition history. Jose Mourinho has always enjoyed a sumptuous meal toast with some fine French wine at Everton with his previous team and is hoping to continue that trend.
Should history swing in Jose's favour, the fans will be up for a treat. For this to happen however, Jose needs to find the right starting 11, one that has the winning formula and one that can strike up a good winning streak. George Bernard Shaw once said, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything". Jose and the fans know that this change has to start now. Of the six title challengers only Jose and Arsene Wenger has won the EPL title. Will there be a new champion this season? Will there be a new winning coach this season? Your guess is as good as mine.