Manchester United host Valencia in the Champions League at Old Trafford this evening, in what is a vital game for Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho. The former Chelsea boss is under immense pressure after a poor start to United’s league campaign.
A 3-1 defeat at West Ham in their last league outing has heaped pressure on Mourinho ahead of tonight’s match. In truth, United have produced some awful displays this season.
Uneasy relationship with certain players
One of Manchester United’s biggest problems at the moment seems to be that Mourinho’s relationship with certain players at the club. Reportedly, Mourinho has difficult relationships with two of the team’s biggest stars in Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba.
The latter seems to be doing everything he can to engineer a move away from Mourinho and United. The World Cup winner has even publicly criticised the team’s style of play under the Portuguese boss.
It would be a fair assumption that Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is once again looking for a big payday for Pogba elsewhere, which would in turn line his pockets of course.
Sanchez has struggled to rediscover his best form at United under Mourinho. Now there have been noises coming out of Manchester that the pair does not see eye to eye. Whether these rumours have any truth to them is unclear. However, the pair are not playing like they are happy.
Mourinho has a history of clashing with egocentric players. The Portuguese boss has a massive ego himself, so when he meets individuals with a similar ego he tends to struggle to manage them.
It seems Mourinho is rather like Marmite as a person. You either love him or hate him. A number of his Chelsea players loved him, but he has also seemingly clashed with players at every club he has managed.
From the outside looking in, Pogba seems to have a massive ego. They certainly come across as characters on the pitch. However, Sanchez is reportedly a very quiet and shy guy off the pitch.
The problem with Pogba is that the midfielder is a big influence in the United dressing room. The player’s commitment has been questioned during recent games and Mourinho has even admitted in the press that some players care more than others in the United squad.
The old saying about losing the dressing one may be a cliché. However, it is true. Once a boss has lost the belief of his players, it never ends well. Whether Pogba is influencing players behind the scenes is unclear. However, what is clear is that Pogba is not at his best and has not been for most of his United career. Maybe that is the biggest hint yet that Pogba and Mourinho do not get on.
A massive game
Tonight’s home game with Valencia in the Champions League is a massive one for United and Mourinho in particularly. The Red Devils are odds of 3/ 4 to beat their Spanish opponents.
There is talk that another poor result could see Mourinho lose his job. However, that may be slightly premature. It seems the Portuguese boss is not fearing the sack. Why would he? If Mourinho is sacked, he receives a big pay-off and could still walk into the next big available job in European football.
You get the sense that Mourinho desperately wants to succeed at Old Trafford. One of the few bosses who he failed to best in the mind-game stakes was United legend, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Mourinho has huge respect for the Scot, so no doubt he was desperate to live up to expectations at United. Unfortunately, for Mourinho, there is a sense that player power may just see him leave before he has time to turn things around at Old Trafford.
Can Mourinho still turn things around at Old Trafford?
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!