The game has moved on, Jose. It’s time you did too.


 The game has moved on, Jose. It’s time you did too.

Richard Fleming, ex BBC World Service broadcaster

When Jose Mourinho first landed in English football, his presence was seen as a breath of fresh air, a young upstart prepared to challenge the mind-game veterans Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

He had an edge, was charismatic, and shook up the establishment in a way few had even dared to do. Goodness, he even played them at their own game.

His approach was viewed as being rather mischievous, his comments always calculated. After years of watching Fergie and Wenger go back and forth, here was a young manager prepared to step in the ring with the game’s heavyweights, and one who revelled in occasionally hitting below the belt.

The self-styled ‘Special One’ was, indeed, a cut above the rest, with the ability to back up his swagger with silverware. Determined and driven, but also deliberate and devious.

He has often struggled to hold his tongue, thereby displaying a petulant and classless demeanour. He has often crossed the line, straying into areas rarely visited by his peers, in which he has struggled to be magnanimous.

And here we are, two weeks into the new season, and Mourinho is reverting to form.

Ahead of the Monday night game against Tottenham Hotspur, the 55-year-old intentionally turned up for a press conference half an hour early, and then managed to make 13 questions last just four minutes and 19 seconds.

Here is a selection from the presser:

When Paul Pogba says the attitude in the team is not right, how does it make you feel that you have a brilliant player who can be exceptional one week and the next week, so inconsistent?

Jose Mourinho: Paul has to answer by his words. If you want any explanation about Paul’s words you must get him and ask him.

How do you feel about the way you are playing this season?

JM: I feel we played well against Leicester and we won. I feel we played bad against Brighton and we lost.

What would you like to see against Spurs?

JM: I would like to play well and win.

How do you do that?:

JM: To play well and win, don’t make mistakes, play well and win. That is what we want.

Have Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof progressed the way you hoped?

JM: I don’t analyse with you my players.

What about Spurs – how impressed are you with them, Mauricio Pochettino and how they go about their business?

JM: I’m not going to comment.

Is the match against Tottenham the right game at the right time?

JM: You have to play against 19 opponents at Old Trafford and 19 away. You have to play against everyone – I don’t know when is the right time, the time is now. The fixtures were decided this way and we have to play Tottenham second match at Old Trafford before we go away, if I’m not wrong twice in a row against Burnley and Watford. This is what it is. Of course, it is a difficult match, against a team that last season finished top four, so difficult match.

Rather than the headlines being about the game, and his team, we were left to read about his premature arrival, terse answers, and abrupt departure.

Time and again it’s been about him. There have been post-match celebrations which, not only have they been disrespectful and potentially inflammatory, but they have also detracted from the efforts of his very own players.

There was even the occasion in which he supposedly instructed his Real Madrid players to waste time in a UEFA Champions League game, and was fined for his troubles.

Oh, and remember him gouging the eye of Barcelona’s assistant coach, Tito Vilanova, at the end of a game? And, of course, the labelling of the then Chelsea doctor, Eva Carneiro, as being ‘naïve’ for wanting to tend to an injured player.

Goodness knows what his reasons were for this latest nonsense, but 14 years on from his landing in the English Premier League, and the novelty has long since worn off. His actions in the early years were like a cute toddler painting the bedroom wall with the contents of their diaper. It’s so wrong, but you can’t be too angry as the child doesn’t know any better.

The problem comes when you try doing that as a 10-year-old.

And it’s the same with Jose. We gasped behind cupped hands at his comments when he was at Chelsea first time around. We may even secretly have been approving, so weary were we of the old guard. But now it’s just tiring. He is the old guard, and he is still smearing poop on the walls in a desperate bid to grab attention, it seems.

Manchester Utd

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