I want Jose Mourinho as United manager. I’ve wanted Jose Mourinho as United manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The problem I’ve got right now is Jose Mourinho isn’t the United manager, well not the Jose Mourinho I know, love and used to loathe.
The Mourinho I know doesn’t explain his decisions, his record or his thoughts with pieces of paper he hands out to journalists, that’s Louis van Gaal tackle. The Mourinho I know has little time for his rivals and unless it’s a septuagenarian Scot whose job he covets, then he’s usually at the ready with a barrage of insults whenever asked about the mere mortals who dare to sit in a dugout next to him.
This week we finally saw the real Mourinho begin to emerge, as the new United boss treated journalists who asked stupid questions the disdain which their idiocy merited. Diverted flights, press conferences moved to the side of the pitch, cancelled matches, not to mention a drubbing at the hands of Borussia Dortmund, have seen the mask of nicety we’ve seen from the former Chelsea boss since he arrived at Old Trafford, finally begin to slip.
We all know Mourinho wanted the United job so badly that he’d say anything to get it. Literally. Telling the world’s press that his Real Madrid side deserved to lose against the Reds a few seasons back, went down like a black power salute at a Donald Trump rally.
The manager formally known as the Special One was reportedly desperate to prove to his detractors at Old Trafford that he wasn’t the brash, offensive, egotistical, loud-mouth some had him pegged as. Mourinho smiled almost lovingly when posing with Sir Bobby Charlton at the club’s Carrington training complex, he spoke not just respectfully but almost adoringly when referring to Sir Alex Ferguson, he termed the United role ‘the job everyone wants’ which was as close as he could get to saying it’s a bigger and better job than the one he’d held at Stamford Bridge. Even when prodded on his rivalry with Guardiola, Mourinho didn’t take the bait, he simply brushed it aside and acted as though the former Barcelona boss was simply one of many he had to try and defeat, rather than anything…. ‘special.’
Only once during the first few weeks of his United tenure did we see Mourinho show his true colours, when he simply couldn’t help himself but have a sly dig at Arsene Wenger, reminding anyone that was listening- in other words, the entire world’s press, that ‘there are some managers the last time they won a title was 10 years ago’ –actually it was 12 in the case of the Arsenal boss, but everyone knew who he was talking about. It was that moment, when he needlessly highlighted his old adversary’s lack of a title in over a decade that Mourinho reminded me of the manager United really wanted, the snarling terrier, unbridled by consequence or respectfulness, arrogant in the knowledge he was the right man at the right job, ready to remind the world his contemporary’s failings. But since that brief peek over the naughty precipice, the two-time Champions League winner has played it pretty safe with his comments and actions- until now.
While I would never wish the fans, the players or indeed the club a far away tour that results in chaos and disappointment, one redeeming facet of this farce has been Jose emerging from his self-made cloak of reserved behaviour. The defeat to Dortmund was explained away – rightfully- by the Germans having had more game time in the run up to the match, ahead of the City game Mourinho even started to fire a few pre-emptive shots reminding the media that Guardiola had taken more players than United had.
The Chinese heat may have finally brought the authentic Mourinho to the boil, no more mister nice guy- he even managed to swear at a reporter without actually swearing, simply responding that to qualify the question of whether he’d shake Pep’s hand he’d need to use some ‘impolite words.’ United can not and must not try and tame the new manager, it would defeat the object, Mourinho’s simply not the type of character some believe the man in the Old Trafford hot seat should be. We’d all love a manager, who’s respectful, cordial, polite and successful but like a polka dot coloured flying unicorn, or a happy Labour MP, they just don’t exist.
In the words of Morrissey, I was looking for an angry yet successful manager and I found one and heaven knows I’m miserable now. Sort of. Fergie was at his best when he circled the wagons and made it him and United against the world, as we see the first signs Mourinho may be doing likewise, I for one, won’t be complaining. It’s going to be an eventful season. Let the games begin.