One can only imagine the weight that’s been lifted off Jose Mourinho’s shoulders since he parted ways with Manchester United exactly a month ago.
As if managing one of the biggest clubs in world football doesn’t come with enough pressure, the 55-year-old wrestled with several additional concerns throughout his two-and-a-half seasons in charge.
Whether self-inflicted or otherwise, his squabbles with first-team players and tactical anomalies would prove fatal, with no major silverware to back up his abnormal approach.
Mourinho was provided with just about everything he asked for in terms of signings.
He brought in more than £250 million worth of players across five transfer windows, yet feels he was left ill-equipped by certain aspects of the United hierarchy.
“We are not any more in the time where the coach by himself is powerful enough to cope and have a relationship of education and sometimes confrontation with players who are not the best professionals. The coaches nowadays they need a structure,” Mourinho told beIN Sports, per the Mirror.
“A club must have an owner or a president, a CEO or an executive director, a sports director or a football director, and then the manager. This is a structure that can cope with all the problems that modernity is bringing to all of us.”
While the jury is still out on which of Mourinho or his players were more culpable for crippling the Red Devils, there were signs of discontent between the two parties long before the club turned to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
One player the Portuguese boss would’ve had a hard time to fall out with was David De Gea.
Arguably the most consistent United player in recent history, the Spanish goalkeeper became the first four-time recipient of the Sir Matt Busby award at the end of last season.
However, instead of simply congratulating De Gea in his speech afterwards, Mourinho attempted a joke at his expense that went down like a lead balloon.
"David deserves a third award… he’s the worst player in training…when it’s cold and wet he doesn’t save much in training.”
According to a report by the Times: “It was meant to be a joke, but it did not go down well with some members of the United squad. There was certainly plenty of nervous laughter in the room.”
The gag may have been met with a better response behind closed doors, but doing so on live television was described as “crass” and disrespectful.
It isn’t entirely surprising the United squad didn’t see the funny side of publicly humiliating a goalkeeper who kept 17 clean sheets and made countless extraordinary saves that season.
What’s more, De Gea was in the midst of contract negotiations with the club, which were made even more delicate by major interest from Real Madrid.
Well, at least Mourinho doesn’t have to worry about preparing some more material for this year’s awards night.