Saturday 21 September 2019

Richard Dunne: 'Manchester United fans are about to find out they have a bigger problem than Jose Mourinho'

Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA
Jose Mourinho. Photo: PA
Richard Dunne

Richard Dunne

As Manchester United fans are about to find out, the club's problems are bigger and deeper than Jose Mourinho. Jose was part of the problem but he was not the whole problem and fixing this will take time for United as a club to get right.

Jose's attitude wasn't right and that fed into the squad and the players. But they have an issue at board level, Ed Woodward has now made errors for a few years and that's caught up with them.

United have missed out on players they should have signed. They signed certain players just because some other team were after them but they were the wrong fit for United.

There's also a problem with the squad. If you are a top-class player you don't turn it on and off when it suits you. You play at a high level all the time, in every game you play.

You will see this tomorrow when United play Cardiff: Paul Pogba will be strutting around the midfield, out-sprinting the Cardiff players. But that's a basic in football, he should have been doing that in every game.

If he thinks, in his own head, 'well the manager was sacked, so I can start trying now', that's a terrible way to be as he will probably revert to type in a few weeks.

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The club need players to go out and perform every week. And I don't know if United have the characters in the dressing room who will look themselves in the mirror and say, 'you know what? It's partly my fault that we are here'.

You need players to admit they are not playing well and that's down to the individuals, not the manager.

That stat, where United have been out-ran in every game this season, clearly shows that the players have not been working hard enough. That's no one's fault outside of the players.

After the performance against Liverpool on Sunday, it was inevitable that Mourinho would go. At the end he didn't look like he wanted to be there any more, he wasn't enjoying himself and him leaving had to happen. There was no way out of it.

The club could have waited until the end of the season but that would only have dragged the them deeper into the gutter and they couldn't allow that.

Look at Manchester City. I know they spent a lot of money but very few of their signings have failed. When they come into the club, the manager demands that they step up to the level of the other players or else they won't be part of the team but, at United, Mourinho didn't set a level that people had to reach.

He had a problem in that he didn't have a leader in his squad. You need a strong character in the dressing room to tell Jesse Lingard that he shouldn't have his own clothing range and other issues like that, but those players had the freedom to go and do what they wanted. And they thought they were world stars without putting in the effort.

I don't know what's next for Mourinho. It's hard to see him being offered a job at a club that he's interested in. Football has moved on and you have younger coaches coming through, so he won't get offered a top-six club in England. And it's hard to see him taking a job outside of that, though he may go back to Real Madrid.

It's been pointed out that, for all the focus on him and the criticism of Mourinho, has anyone actually asked if he is alright? Because the Mourinho I see now does not look well. He looks as though he feels that everyone is against him. He has been at odds with everyone and was living in a hotel, which can't be too healthy in the long run.

He may end up with one big pay day in China, maybe international football. But I think he will struggle wherever he goes. At United he didn't seem to feel happy in himself and his football reflected that. It was negative and awful to watch. It would end badly if he went to Madrid and made all the same mistakes.

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