Despite the win against Burnley two weeks ago, Man United are still in a spot of bother.
The fans are unhappy and have been displaying this to the board. Prior to the game against Burnley, they flew a banner describing Chief Ed Woodward as a ”specialist in failure”.
Mourinho has had his fair share of mistakes during his spell with the Red Devils but he has yet to destabilize the dressing room in ways that he has done at previous clubs.
One thing which was made clear after the win against the Clarets is that Mourinho still appears to have the backing of most United fans.
Mourinho appeared to be having a negative demeanor during United’s pre-season due to their lack of significant signings. This resembles his appearance during the latter days of his second spell with Chelsea. The one difference in the present case is that he has yet to lose the support of the United dressing room. Furthermore, most of the senior players within the squad are loyal to club and manager and will not want to create unrest.
One of the key management tenets of the Portuguese is how he can walk in and galvanize an entire squad with his intense and pressured approach. There is a reason why he always took over sides that were in disarray.His successful teams had a purpose – both on the pitch and more importantly off it too.
The self-proclaimed ”special one” mentioned in an interview with Rio Ferdinand, how he liked to really ‘squeeze players’ physically and most definitely mentally to get the best out of them as he has so often done with his best players – when he felt the attitude needed improving.
At United, that unconventional approach has had its positives and negatives as with all his former clubs. Out of all the players this season, it has, rather surprisingly been Luke Shaw who seems to have bought into the Portuguese’s ways and also managed to play impressively.
The 22-year-old has been subjected to every trick in Mourinho’s managerial playbook – from dropping him from the match-day squad for games at a time after ‘a mistake’, which was followed by constant public criticism, called out for a ”lack of effort” in training, games – you name it.
His winning goal against Leicester in the opening week, even though in some ways – fortuitous, cannot have come at the better moment to help boost his confidence levels. In fact, the idea that the winning goal came through his attempt to atone for a bad touch – in itself has been the theme of his time at Manchester United.
Shaw – for the talent he possesses, should have, in all fairness, already made the Man United and England spot at left back his own – in a way his idol Ashley Cole did for a decade at England and Chelsea – Shaw’s boyhood club.
Maybe, at long last, the clouds look to have passed. And Mourinho may have some player in his hands.