It’s now two years since Manchester United appointed Jose Mourinho with the expectation of quick success following the disappointing reigns of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.
The only semblance of success has come in the form of a League Cup, a Europa League trophy and a second place finish, just 19 points behind neighbours Manchester City who in that same period have shattered what we thought was possible in the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola has managed to import his breathtaking brand of fast-paced and silky football to England and transformed players like John Stones and Raheem Sterling into top-drawer talents.
In the same way, Mourinho has transported his turgid and flat style of football to Old Trafford and it’s hard to pinpoint many players that have vastly improved under his leadership.
There’s more than a hint of irony then when Jose Mourinho described himself as more of a head coach than a manager recently, in a dig at the club’s hierarchy over his lack of influence in transfer policy.
Granted, more money has been spent under Guardiola than Mourinho, but that doesn’t lessen the reported £389million outlay United have put behind the Special One.
What must be even more galling for United fans is seeing the transformation that appears to be taking place at Leeds United.
It’s been two months since Leeds appointed Marcelo Bielsa with the expectation of returning to the Premier League after a 14-year absence and although the campaign is in its infancy, all is looking very rosy for the Championship club.
And what is more, ‘El Loco’ is setting an example to Mourinho of what can be achieved with good old-fashioned coaching.
He only has two Championship games under his belt, but the difference between Leeds of this season and last, and indeed between Leeds and every other team in the division at the moment, is stark.
What is even more remarkable is that this change has occurred with only one new signing starting in Bielsa’s first XI – left-back Barry Douglas.
Their electric and imposing style of football has helped them sweep aside pre-season favourites Stoke City and Derby County with ease, and turned players such as Kemar Roofe and Mateusz Klich from underwhelming second division players to the best performers in the league.
The fact that Bielsa has achieved such a drastic transformation with just one new face in his starting lineup shows the power of his coaching which has involved making the players pick up litter and keeping them at the training ground from 9am to 8pm.
Leeds’ turnaround in fortunes is a testament to good old-fashioned coaching that Mourinho seems to have neglected at Manchester United.
It’s easy to rail against the club for not supporting him in the transfer window in a summer in which they spent £74million, rather than face up to the fact that he hasn’t managed to bring out the best in his current squad, many of whom were Mourinho signings.
If he wants to call himself a head coach then it might be a good idea to take a look at Leeds and see what good coaching can actually achieve.