Is Jose Mourinho getting the best out of his players?

Is Jose Mourinho getting the best out of his players?

Gary Neville and Graeme Souness sparked debate on Sunday evening in the aftermath of the Manchester derby, as the pair argued over Jose Mourinho’s role in their current poor form.

Both pundits made their case. Souness sat on the side of the fact that Mourinho should be getting more out of his players, while Neville believes there is only so much that he can do with this current squad. Now, of course, Mourinho is partly to blame for the squad United have, though there is certainly the case to say that they are completely outmatched by Manchester City.

On paper, Pep Guardiola’s men are far better than United and it certainly played out that way on the pitch, also. Losing Paul Pogba before a ball was kicked was a huge blow to the team, with the away side’s midfield trio of Nemanja Matic, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera being unable to live with their opposite numbers.

Tactical setup

David Silva was as terrific as ever, Fernandinho broke up the play as he always does, while Bernardo Silva was elusive. This was a team that was even missing Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan from the middle of the park, with the latter coming from the bench to score the third goal.

Up against that quality of opponent in such a key area of the field, along with such a gulf in quality on his side, there is only so much Mourinho can do. As Neville pointed out, Matic, Fellaini and Herrera aren’t the kind of players that can play quick, one and two touch play in midfield.

Nemajna Matic Manchester United
United's midfield were chasing shadows at the Etihad Stadium - with David Silva & Bernardo Silva in particular running the show

There was not the creativity in the United ranks that was in the City team, which forced Mourinho into a corner and to play on the counter attack, leaving Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to feed off of rare breaks. Aside from using Jesse Lingard in midfield and putting Alexis Sanchez on the wing or playing Juan Mata from the start, there wasn’t much else Mourinho could do.

Regardless if Lingard or Mata had started, City still would’ve dominated possession and been the dominant side in the game, which would’ve also resulted in United having one less defensive-minded player in the team. Liverpool took a point against City earlier in the season without playing with a recognised number 10, with Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum all starting in the 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Are the players good enough?

However, United’s midfielder’s’ performances on the day were all ineffective. There is a ceiling to what can be achieved with Matic, Herrera and Fellaini in a team up against City, with Souness’ point having more of a wider view, rather than being an immediate reaction to the disappointing result.

From that standpoint, yes a case can be made. Pogba is a better player than what he has shown at times at Old Trafford, Romelu Lukaku was a force to be reckoned with at Everton and Rashford’s early potential demands that he should have more than two Premier League goals this season. Even David De Gea isn’t showing his superhero form that has won United numerous points in recent seasons, the loss of which has really highlighted some of their shortcomings.

David De Gea
Even David De Gea - one of United's most consistent performers in recent seasons - has looked far from convincing at times

But, as Neville pointed out, who’s to say that this isn’t the limit of most of these players? For example, this is the first time that Martial has been at a club with a global following and on the biggest stage. The level of pressure and expectation on Lukaku is far greater at United than it ever was during his spell at Goodison Park.

The players themselves must take responsibility for their performances, with there only being so much that the manager can do for them. They have been brought to United for a reason, having performed well at other clubs and have shown, for the most part, that they are capable of performing at the top level.

Deeper issues?

This isn’t a new problem, with both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal experiencing similar issues, which perhaps points to the fact that there could be deeper issues within the structure of the club. Standards have slipped since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013 and there aren’t the characters and leaders within the dressing room that there once was.

Wayne Rooney has since revealed that the last Ferguson team’s dressing room was run by five players - himself, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes - and were trusted to do so by their manager. We are in a different era now, where such leaders are few and far between and Mourinho appears to lack such trust in his team.

United have underperformed for a variety of reasons this season and the blame can’t all fall on the shoulders of one individual. As the manager, Mourinho will almost always take the blame, though it is absolutely a collective problem that is costing them.

Begrudgingly for United, they could learn a thing or two by looking across the city at their noisy neighbours and the way they run their ship.


⚽️ GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 BET ⚽️
New customers only. First single & e/w bet only odds of 1/1 or greater. 3 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes are not included in returns. Free bets are only redeemable on football. Free bets are non-withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further t&cs apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
For new customers. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔸 BET £10 AND GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 🔸
New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Claim Bonus
⚽️ BET £10 & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! (MOBILE ONLY) ⚽️
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
Claim Bonus
⚽️ UP TO £50 MONEY BACK AS CASH IF ANY OF YOUR FIRST 5X £10 FOOTBALL BETS LOSE ⚽️
Place 5x£10 Sportsbook bets on any market at minimum odds of 2.0 (Evs), and get money back as Cash if it loses. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10 (up to £50 in total). Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion (Apple Pay excluded). T&Cs apply
Get Offer
🔷 GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £10 🔷
Full T&C’s Apply. New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
Claim Bonus
🟠 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟠
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
CLAIM HERE
🔴 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔴
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
✅ BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS ✅
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔹 GET £30 IN BONUSES WHEN YOU BET £5 🔹
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
✅ GET A FREE BET UP TO £35 + 10 FREE SPINS ✅
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free online casino spins at QuinnCasino. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
Claim Bonus
BET £5 & GET £30 IN BONUSES
18+ New Customers opt in, bet £5 & get 2x £10 Free Bets for set events (odds 2.00+) + £10, Slots Bonus, selected games, 35x wagering to withdraw max £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card Payments only. T&Cs Apply, see below. | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
🎉 BET £10 & GET £60 FREE BETS! 🎉
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🟢 UP TO £40 MONEY BACK AS BONUSES + A £10 CASINO BONUS 🟢
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's. #Ad
Claim Bonus
🔵 BET £10 & GET £20 IN FREE BETS + ACCA REWARDS OF YOUR CHOICE! 🔵
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&C's Apply **18+. Choose either Boost or Insurance. Available for in-play/pre-match bets on selected sports. You cannot use specials, boosts, any free bet or any other promotion. A minimum of 5 selections and minimum odds of 1/5 per selection/leg to receive Acca Rewards. Minimum stake of £/€0.05. Max free bet refund of £/€20 per Acca for Insurance. Maximum bonus payout is €/£1,000 per Acca for boost. Free bets, cashed out or voided bets will not qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
Claim Bonus
🔵 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 🔵
18+ New UK & ROI Customers only. Min deposit £5. Min first £5 bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x 20 free bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excl. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! ⚫️
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus