Change The Record Jose, It’s Not Working!
Another day, another Jose Mourinho strop as he claims there’s different rules for him and other managers.
Funnily enough, it’s just after Manchester United failed to dispense with lowly Hull. Boo hoo Jose, do you expect us to feel sorry for you?
He’s on a personal crusade to turn himself into a Fergie-style villain, putting pressure on referees to give United decisions. That’s fine, but only if it works. It’s time to wake up and smell the Rioja Jose; you’re doing it all wrong.
Ferguson was a master at it. He was clever enough to throw in the odd compliment to referees in his post-match interviews. He was clever enough to treat referees with respect when he spoke to them behind the scenes. He strived never to make it personal, and when his guard slipped and he ridiculed Alan Wiley’s fitness after a home draw against Sunderland, he was clever enough to contact Wiley personally and apologise to him.
Even with the apology, Ferguson had put the idea out there that referees were unfit, his point was made and subconsciously referees upped their game. The refs favoured United and his constant digs were paralleled with a bit of respect. Ferguson’s compliments to referees never sold papers and were easily forgotten, but they existed and they were in the bank for him whenever a 50-50 decision came around. He lost it plenty of times too, he was angry. But rudeness served no purpose.
It was all intended to make sure Manchester United gained as many points from the season as possible and it worked, simple!
Paying The Penalty
Mourinho has yet to grasp this. His treatment of officials so far is having the opposite effect; it’s costing United points.
Referees, whether knowingly or not, are going to war with him and who could blame them? United have only been awarded one penalty this season in the Premier League, no other team has been awarded less. 50-50 decisions are going the way of Mourinho’s opponents but that’ll continue as long his apathy does.
The reality is that referees can be influenced but if you’re going to try it, weekly criticism and constant digs are going to work against you. A bit of sympathy with how difficult football is for officials would go down well in referee towers and it’s more likely to yield a decision in United’s favour in future.
It’s not only referees getting struck by the toys flying from Mourinho’s pram. Last night he departed two press briefings prematurely telling one BBC reporter:
If you don’t know football you shouldn’t have a microphone in your hand.
His crime was to ask where Jose felt the referee could have done better. Mourinho’s reaction was just rude, serves no purpose to anyone and if he had the humility of Ferguson he’d be making sure to contact the reporter today to apologise.
Then he walked out of a press conference without a thank you or goodbye after a veiled swipe at Jurgen Klopp, who was seen shouting at a fourth official this week without so much as a whisper from the press. Mourinho craves rivalries with opposing managers like Klopp, Wenger and Guardiola just like Ferguson did years ago with the likes of Keegan, Benitez and Wenger as well.
But Fergie’s priority was to be rivals on the pitch first. Mourinho hasn’t even got that bit right yet. Any swipes at Klopp will be easily dismissed in Merseyside with a quick glance at the league table.
In the run up to last month’s home game against Liverpool, the buzz around Old Trafford surrounded Paul Pogba becoming the first Premier League player to earn his own Twitter emoji. The hashtag was pushed around social media all week and was plastered on the advertising boards during the game. Pogba put in one of his worst performances to date and there was egg splattered all over the good face United.
Then this week we see leaked footage from the changing room of Pogba and Lingard perfecting their latest dance routine. What would Roy Keane have made of it? Is it any wonder United are too soft to beat Hull at home?
None of these distractions happened under Sir Alex but that’s in the past. Mourinho is at the wheel now and things are better than they were under Van Gaal. More attacking, more shots, more goals, more points.
But if Jose wants to achieve a small percentage of Ferguson’s success, the next stage is to learn how to be humble. The pantomime villain act is working against him and until it changes he’s got little chance of making Manchester United great again.