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Rumour: Mourinho wants to manage United a second time

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Portuguese tactician Jose Mourinho has been linked with the Manchester United coaching position amid talks that Erik Ten Hag could be sacked by the end of the season.

The Red Devils have experienced one of their worst campaigns this season. They were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the group stage, in a group that had Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen, and Bayern Munich. They only managed to pick up four points from their six games.

They have also been poor in the Premier League and are set for their worst domestic finish in over twenty years. They have had little success though, as they have qualified for the final of the FA Cup, where they play city rivals Manchester City. Other than their qualification for the final, it has been an abysmal season for Ten Hag and his lads.

How much of Manchester United’s failure has been Ten Hag’s fault?

In the Premier League, Manchester United has suffered the most injury problems. Almost all the members of the team have suffered injuries at some point this season. But the worst hit is the defence, with their best legs like Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, and Luke Shaw spending some significant periods on the sidelines.

However, one could argue that even when these players were fit, Manchester United still looked weak and ordinary. Even with their best legs, the Red Devils have conceded goals from the most unlikely opponents. 

Away from the defence, every coach must be able to improve players in their team, or at least get a certain level of performance consistently. But in Ten Hag’s case, the opposite has been the case.

The offence has also been poor. Ten Hag has not improved most of the players in the team. The club’s talisman Marcus Rashford, provided 30 goals and 10 assists in 56 appearances across all competitions. However, this season, the Englishman has only been involved in 13 goals in 40 appearances.

Antony, who was brought in from Ajax for €95 million two years ago has been disappointing with three goals and two assists in 38 games. As it stands, the only shining lights at Manchester United are Bruno Fernandes, whose performances have dropped from his first two seasons, and Kobbie Mainoo, who has had a calming presence in the midfield.

Aside from the individual performances of some of the players, United could miss out on Europe once again – a setback from what they achieved last season. A run of dismal results has left them chasing shadows and a daunting task to finish in a respectable position.

With INEOS’ recent acquisition of a stake at the club, Ten Hag will likely get the sack because of his poor performances, as they look to rebuild. But is Jose Mourinho the man for the job?

Can Jose Mourinho’s Second Coming Engineering Manchester United’s Comeback?

Mourinho took charge of Manchester United in the summer of 2016. He was appointed after Dutch manager Loius Van Gaal left the job. In Mourinho’s first season, Manchester United finished sixth in the Premier League and in his second season, he finished second with 81 points, 20 points off first-placed Manchester City.

After that finish, it looked like Mourinho was going to return the Red Devils to their glory days. However, he demanded more investments from the club owners to be able to challenge for the title. This was after he spent over €130 million in the previous summer on new signings.

“All the teams they got better, Spurs was the team that did not make a direct investment, but the best investment is to keep the top players that you have. So, every team got better and we didn’t,” Mourinho complained openly.

Eventually, Manchester United started that season poorly, losing eight of their first 24 games. As the losses continued, Mourinho’s relationship with the board continued to wane. The former Chelsea man eventually got the sack at the turn of the year, with club hero Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replacing him.

After his stint at Manchester United, Mourinho then joined Tottenham, where he also fell out with the board because of their lack of investments. He spent two years on the job and was sacked just before the end of his second season.

Afterwards, he joined Roma, where he helped them to the Europa Conference League title in the inaugural season. Then, he helped them to the final of the Europa League, where they lost to Sevilla via penalty shootouts.

Unfortunately for him, he got sacked in January this year after a poor run of results. However, he still had a cordial relationship with the Roma board. 

In an interview with Fabrizio Romano in March, Mourinho spoke about his desire to return to management and it seems it might just happen this summer.

“I’m ready to start again. I don’t need to rest or think as usually happens… I’m really ready. I don’t need to rest or think as usually happens – I’m ready. I feel strong and good, I’m really ready but I don’t want to make the wrong choice. I have to be patient. My objective is to start again next summer.”

Mourinho could be considered for the Manchester United job because he has a very good relationship with INEOS boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe, but his strained relationship with the Glazers could be a hindrance.

Besides, Mourinho seems like he is past his best years. Since Manchester United, he has not coached any big club. Although he has improved on his man management methods, his capability to aid the growth of young players like Alejandro Garnacho, Mainoo, Willy Kambwala, Amad Diallo, and Rasmus Hojlund is still in doubt.

Also, Mourinho would have to cope with the egos of players like Rashford, Fernandes, Jadon Sancho- if he returns, and other senior players. This is one of the biggest issues he has had throughout his career.

Additionally, Manchester United must also be willing to invest in the transfer market because Mourinho is a competitive manager and would want to match up with the quality at Manchester City and Arsenal. The second arrival of the Portuguese will also surely see an increase in the demand for if it happens.

Nonetheless, with the season ending in a few weeks, the club’s path will be clearer. And fans will know if Mourinho will get the job or if the club will place their trust in someone else.