Looking back over the season, just going by memory and that’s a dodgy thing to do at the best of times, it appears to me that when Mourinho unshackles the layer and lets them be creative and express themselves then we start looking like a United team and we usually have won. However, when we try to sit on a one goal lead and run out the game or start the game with a “safety first, maximum defense” mindset we look like a pub team and at best have had mixed results.
I do not believe that we have the players with either the temperament or skills required to play that type of game week-in and week-out. Mourinho has always setup his teams to first and foremost stop the opposition from scoring, then control the transition and finally somehow nick a goal. This approach has been very successful for his teams, but it does require 100% buy in from every player in the squad in order to work and in many cases, players must be ready to forgo natural style of play to fit into the role that Mourinho requires that they play. For some of the players this means fitting a square peg into a round hole and does not allow for self-expression or the individual talents and skill that a player has.
In my opinion that is where the Mourinho model fall apart; as players become frustrated with the role they are being asked to play their performance drops off. Then Mourinho get frustrated because the players are not doing what he wants them to be doing and he start taking shots at the players, which in turn frustrates more players and now the downward spiral is in full effect. When Mourinho arrived at United my hope was that he had learned from passed clubs and he would implement a disciplined system that would still allow for creativity and flair. At the start of the season it appeared that he had done just that, but then the Liverpool away game happened and the teams reverted to the “safety first, maximum defense” and we got our heads handed to us.
I can't believe it. I can't believe it. Football. Bloody hell.