Mourinho arrives with a reputation for winning and controversy.

Jose Mourinho shouldn't be prejudged ahead of Manchester United appointment

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Jose Mourinho has not even been officially appointed as Manchester United manager and already people are criticising the club's decision to hire him.

There's already been talk of the 53-year-old's lack of longevity, his questionable antics, and his apparent reputation for defensive football.

With the unpredictable Premier League season we've just witnessed, it's amazing that people are still so quick to prejudge players before they've kicked a ball, and managers before they've even taken their seat in the dugout.


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The criticisms levelled at Mourinho have plenty of basic in truth. During his managerial career we've seen the best and worst of 'The Special One'. The best included three Premier League titles with Chelsea and an extraordinary treble with Inter Milan.

However, it's the worst that has become increasingly synonymous with Mourinho down the years. His eye-gouging of Tito Vilanova during the 2011 Spanish Super Cup led Sir Bobby Charlton to declare: "A United manager wouldn't do that".

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Under a year ago, he caused controversy due to his treatment of Chelsea medic Eva Carniero. 

These two incidents alone suggest that Charlton may well have had a point when he questioned Mourinho's suitability for the role back in 2012. After all, it is not just the controversy that seems to conflict with the traditions at United.

Mourinho seems to have a three year shelf life at his clubs where things inevitability go wrong in the final year. Hardly befitting then of a club that was guided by a single man for 26 years. Yet one cannot level this criticism at Mourinho without considering the fact that there is unlikely to ever be another Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger.

Football has fundamentally changed, as of last year the average managerial stay in the Premier League was 1.29 years, so Mourinho is above average. There is no candidate out there who is going to serve for neigh on three decades because that is an impossibility in this football climate, after all, United themselves have put two managers to the sword in as many years.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

One of the biggest concerns regarding Mourinho is his record with young players. At Chelsea, the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek struggled to make an impact under his management, while youngsters Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne were both let go, decisions which were ill-advised in hindsight.

What then can we expect to happen to the United youngsters who have performed so well this season? Back to the reserves for Marcus Rashford? Jesse Lingard stuck out on loan? Time will tell. What is apparent is that in the past, Mourinho has not been a promoter of young talent.

However, United's traditions also seem to conflict with the clubs immediate aims. In Mourinho, they are hiring someone they clearly hope will deliver instant success. Mourinho will not bring the instant success demanded by the owners playing a team of kids. United undoubtedly have talented youngsters, but they also need experienced pros if they are going to challenge for the title next season.


What is clear is that Mourinho will come with plenty of preconceptions, some of which he has earned down the years. However, it would be foolish to prejudge Mourinho because football never ceases to surprise. After this season of all seasons, you'd think that people would be a bit less keen to criticise a man before he's even started.

Take Claudio Ranieri, when he arrived last summer, he and Leicester City were instantly written off. Though not a controversial figure like Mourinho, Ranieri also came with a reputation.

When Ranieri was appointed people had already decided that he would be a failure. Leicester fan Gary Lineker simply tweeted: "Claudio Ranieri? Really?".

Needless to say, people were less than enthusiastic about the appointment. This negative attitude towards the Italian came from preconceptions based on his previous managerial positions.

At Chelsea he gained a reputation for making unnecessary substitutions and became known as the 'Tinkerman'. As Greece manager he suffered a humiliating defeat to the Faroe Islands, enough to confirm to many that Ranieri was rubbish. Yet all the preconceptions about Ranieri have been proved wrong over the course of the season and those who doubted him have been made to eat their words.

The 'Tinkerman' reputation was quickly lost as Ranieri fielded the same XI for much of the season. There was no unnecessary tinkering as his team marched towards the Premier League title. The man, who much of the world had written off before a ball was kicked, was a Premier League champion.

Thus, it seems stupid to criticise Jose Mourinho before he's even started. The 2015/16 season may well be freak season, but the Premier League will always throw up surprises and will always prove it's share of sceptics wrong.


Ranieri has shown this season that managers can change, he's gone from the 'Tinkerman' to the 'Thinkerman' in his own words. Who's to say that Mourinho can't change too? Of course he may not, his ego may well be the final nail in Manchester United's coffin, but it's too soon to say.

Just because Mourinho hasn't played youngsters in the past doesn't mean he won't now and just because he's left clubs in disarray in the past, doesn't mean he will again. Prejudging anything in our wonderfully unpredictable league is a foolish game, Leicester City have make that strikingly clear.

Mourinho might well be a failure, he may be a great success but until he's had time in the role, please reserve your judgement.

Is Jose Mourinho the right manager for Manchester United? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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