Mourinho has been outspoken for a few weeks, leading to some criticism in the press who thought his comments about Manchester City were ludicrous. Other websites, like Football365, have gone even further. In a paragraph entitled ‘Jose Mourinho will leave Manchester United’, football writer Daniel Storey wrote, “Ah yes, the elephant in the room. For transparency, I said this time last year that Mauricio Pochettino would leave Tottenham for a Spanish giant. The point about predictions is that they invariably rely on hunches rather than certainty. Yet Mourinho seems to have entered his third-season schtick long before winning the title in his second, as is customary. The criticism of his own players, the suggestion that his club have let him down in the transfer market and the framing of his own side as underdogs; it’s all there. The question is how far this goes if United continue to stumble. Paris Saint-Germain is a pretty excellent haven for an elite manager down on his luck and in need of a change. That would allow Mourinho to blame Manchester United for his departure. Some supporters would be sure to go along with it.”
United’s ‘stumble’ up the table since last season seems an odd thing to portray as regression, but Storey isn’t alone in firing barbs at Mourinho. In BT Sport’s coverage of United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton, Martin Keown ludicrously suggested the manager had lost the dressing room, while Paul Scholes, on the same panel, suggested Paul Pogba had ‘strolled’ through the game.
Mourinho hit back, defending the player who has worn the captain’s armband over the last few games. “I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is criticise,” said Mourinho. “I don’t think he comments, I think he criticises, which is a different thing.I think Scholes will be in history as a phenomenal player, not as a pundit. Not every one of us has to be phenomenal like he was as a player. That doesn’t mean that we all have to be phenomenal.Paul Pogba tries to do his best all the time. Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, sometimes he doesn’t play so well.It’s not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It’s just the way football is.”
Was Mourinho right to respond to Scholes’ comments or is this a further example of some people’s opinions that the United boss is in the midst of a meltdown which will ultimately lead to his inevitable departure from the club?
It seems a huge over-reaction all round. Mourinho is just as entitled to saying his opinion as Scholes is and after such a good performance as Pogba put in at Goodison, it stands to reason that the boss will come out fighting for his player. In fact, it most quarters that would be seen as good management, and that’s how we feel about this.
Is Scholes always unnecessarily critical rather than simply offering his observations? Not at all, and many of things he says are echoed on the terraces. But, following the criticism which was so heavy and against Louis van Gaal, Mourinho is right to speak out in defence.
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