JOSE MOURINHO enjoyed a successful first season at Manchester United becoming the first manager in our club’s history to win a trophy in his debut season with a Europa League and League Cup double, and his second season has started ferociously well.
Yet, despite winning six out of eight in the Premier League and two in two in the UEFA Champions League, there is a heated discussion this week about Mourinho’s future at the club following the Portuguese manager’s comments about his long-term ambitions.
In an interview on Sunday with France’s TF1 Telefoot, Mourinho praised Paris St Germain and said his son had chosen to go and watch a match there rather than in Manchester.
“Why Paris? Because there’s something special. Magic, quality, youth, it’s fantastic,” he said.
Mourinho’s comments were disrespectful and unnecessary given his position as United manager but they were certainly not by accident.
This is a man who is well versed in the media game, somebody who understands the impact of his words before he has even said them. He said that about PSG for a reason and it’s more than likely down to the fact contract extensions talks with United are not going how Jose would like them to.
It was his way of swinging the negotiations back in his favour, something he reinforced when questions about his future ambitions before the Benfica game.
He added: “The only thing that I told is true and there was not a misinterpretation of my words was I am not going to end my career at Manchester United.”
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I’ve always stood by the fact United could, and would, be the club to change Mourinho’s habit of a lifetime of leaving after two to three years. I still stand by that.
His current contract expires at the end of next season and I expect it to be extended but that extension very much depends on whether or not United win the Premier League.
A Europa League and League Cup double in his debut season was a great achievement but Mourinho’s success at the club will only be judged on two piece of silverware – the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.
Win either of those in the next two years and a strong contract extension offer is an inevitability – fail to do either and there is every chance Mourinho could leave at the end of next season.
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Mourinho is absolutely the right man for the United job and the start to this season is a testament to that. United are attacking with real verve again, 21 goals in 8 Premier League games proves that, but he certainly has to improve results away against the top six if we are to mount that precious Premier League title push.
The 0-0 against Liverpool exposed our weakness again in those fixtures and you could get away with that a few years ago, when only two or three teams challenged for the title, you can’t do that any more with how competitive the Premier League is.
Will Mourinho still be United manager come the start of the 2019/20 season? I think so. United’s board would be foolish not to keep him if our current progress and form continues.
Plus, Mauricio Pochettino is the only manager I’d consider replacing him with and I’m not sure why he’d walk away from Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, nor why they would let him go.
Once upon a time, United fans were spoiled by not having to think about whether our manager would leave because Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Since that safety net was removed, we’ve gone through four years of real change at the club but Mourinho is building United back up again towards being one who teams fear to play. It’s been a good few years since I’ve been able to say that as a United fan with real conviction.
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