Jose Mourinho is in the third year of his tenure with Manchester United, which means that the Jose Mourinho third year curse is here again.
And Mourinho has wasted no time bringing that curse to life, ripping into the club’s spending habits in a post-match press conference after the team’s American tour friendly with Liverpool. The comments, while pointed, showcased the difference between Mourinho’s United and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
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The comments made by Mourinho were framed as a defence of Alexis Sanchez. Mourinho asked if Sanchez should be happy playing with the players he is currently teamed up with, as a way of implying that the team needs to spend on higher quality players. Of course, there are so many angles from which to attack Mourinho’s comments, but two obvious ones come to mind.
First, the players on tour with United will not be the ones that take the field for the start of the Premier League season. Sanchez will be teaming with the likes of Pogba, Martial, Lingard, and Rashford in the Premier League, many of whom were too busy recovering from the World Cup to be on tour here. With Sanchez’s Chile missing the tournament, he should be unhappy about that, but not who his teammates are.
Second, Sanchez comes from Arsenal, a team that was notorious for not spending on quality players while Sanchez was with the club. Why Sanchez would all of a sudden be upset with a lack of spending now is unfathomable and a bad job of framing Mourinho’s point. If Mourinho wants better players, he should just say so, or pop his name into the Name Your Squad tool to fantasise about a team more to his liking.
And while Mourinho was complaining about his team’s financial wheelings and dealings, Pep Guardiola was praising his young players who made the trip to the United States. Fresh off of the only 100-point season in Premier League history, Guardiola spent his time in America being positive rather than taking potshots at his own club’s ownership.
That is the key difference between City and United at this stage of each club’s history. United is a team that would rather complain about previously made decisions than work with what they have, while City have spent more money but are also looking toward the future. And Pep Guardiola is a manager who would rather keep his team in good spirits than hang his players out to dry to get what he wants.
Last year, City destroyed second-place United en route to the title. And if Mourinho doesn’t start focusing on how to better integrate his players into his team, that same result may happen again this year. Only instead of finishing in second, United may slide down the table as hungry clubs like Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea all look like threats to compete for the title with City. Either way, it looks like the Mourinho year three curse may be ready to rear its ugly head again.
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