Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United has been heralded as one of the greatest managerial appointments of our time. And, in some cases, this has been a fairly well reasoned argument.
A sensationally successful manager, a mesmerising personality and a desire to win are exactly what Manchester United have been crying out for since the departure of Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho has already made his mark, too, investing in the team heavily and holding nothing back in each of his clashes with the press. It’s set to be extraordinary entertainment, whatever may happen.
With Pep Guardiola arriving across Manchester, there are going to be countless duels in the city between two of the sport’s best names. Two of the greatest, most successful, iconic managers of an entire footballing generation, in fact.
The pressure on each boss is palpable. One wrong step and they’re likely to be out the door in a blink.
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Once the inevitable Paul Pogba transfer goes through, half the football world will be asking why and how.
Unfortunately for Mourinho, the other half will, more sensibly, be looking at what will be deemed a success for the Frenchman.
Crashing the world record transfer fee is one thing, but what if Pogba flops? Could it see the managerial axe hover above Mourinho’s head?
Such is Mourinho’s experience that many seem to have overlooked the fact that his last job in football management saw him nearly relegate the Premier League champions.
There is every chance that Manchester United are treated to the Mourinho that made Inter Milan into against-all-odds European Champions, but there is clearly a risk. Has he lost his golden touch? Is he now more interested in fighting than winning?
Only time will tell.
Mourinho has never been afraid of the odd battle with another powerful individual, but there is a time and a place for that sort of nonsense and it very much isn’t at Manchester United.
With club legends in influential positions above the Portuguese manager, there is little room for confrontation. His almost-admirable disregard for authority will have to be reigned in at Manchester United or he could see Old Trafford heroes turn against him.
One thing Manchester United would despise more than anything is to fall behind Manchester City on a regular basis. The previous three seasons have hinted that such a calamity could be in the offing and Mourinho has been recruited to avoid this happening and avoid it right now.
It will be his old, hardened, bitter rivalry with Pep Guardiola that will be the yardstick for Mourinho’s time at United.
Partly built out of his record, partly from his own egotistical comments, Mourinho has stacked up the expectations at Old Trafford. The club that believes it deserves a title every other year has faced a shock to their collective systems since the retirement of Ferguson.
Questions have been asked even of the club’s stature in the recent seasons and Mourinho is the man charged with righting the wrongs of Van Gaal and Moyes.
However, from a club that finished some distance off the title, this is a big ask even after the investment. Could it prove to be too big an improvement to ask of even Mourinho?