Kevin Palmer: The Man United job could shatter the Special One's aura once and for all
Jose Mourinho’s extended campaign to become the next manager of Manchester United has reached its conclusion – but the prize seat he is set to sit in has the potential to shatter his aura once and for all.
Mourinho is set to be confirmed as Louis van Gaal’s successor imminently after signing a deal this afternoon, with the news of his arrival at Old Trafford ruining the party for the departed United manager.
Van Gaal cut an irate figure in his post match press conference after winning the FA Cup last Saturday, as what should have been a joyous moment had been hijacked by the ill-timed confirmation that he was about to be sacked. Reporters at Wembley covering the FA Cup final were made aware of Mourinho’s move towards power at Old Trafford seconds before Van Gaal appeared to face questions.
It was a shameful turn of events, with one of the elder statesmen of the game humiliated at what should have been one of his great moments. United’s struggling press officer tried to control the events in the bowels of Wembley Stadium, but Van Gaal wanted to have his say on what appeared to be his final duty as United manager.
Amid the chaos at Wembley, Van Gaal’s exit is the right course of action for United after a horrible season of misery under their ageing coach, which concluded with a fifth-place finish and failure to qualify for the Champions League.
There is no doubt that Mourinho is a better option than a manager whose better days are long behind him, but there are ways to handle a sacking and this was not it.
Unsurprisingly, it appears that the leak came from the Mourinho camp, who have been keen to promote their man’s claim for the top job at Old Trafford. Once more, Sky Sports reported it was agent Jorge Mendes who broke the story, with his timing nothing short of brutal on the outgoing United boss.
Such underhand tactics from media savvy Mourinho and his team are what United are signing up for, but what is the former Chelsea manager walking into at Old Trafford?
Mourinho is a manager who has had his pick of the top jobs in world football over the last decade, but a second successive high profile disaster would tarnish his reputation for good after his nightmare at Chelsea earlier this season.
The man whose aura as one of the game’s unsackable managers has been shaken, with his ‘special’ tag gone for good should he fail again.
Mourinho was desperate to succeed Alex Ferguson at United back in 2013, only for influential voices on the club’s board to block his appointment. Now it seems as if United are in need of this serial winner more than ever, yet there is no guarantee that a coach whose flaws were exposed at Chelsea can bounce back at the biggest club in English football.
If you thought Man Utd under Van Gaal was chaotic, the master of mayhem is about to arrive at Old Trafford.