Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Surprise Fans Feel Sick on Jose's Rollercoaster. the Football Is as Joyless as He Is

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Surprise Fans Feel Sick on Jose's Rollercoaster. the Football Is as Joyless as He Is

Article excerpt

Byline: JamesOlley At the heart of London football @JamesOlley

PERHAPS the most instructive aspect of Jose Mourinho's Monday meltdown was not the pantomime press conference exit but what came moments before.

"I need to know from you what is the most important thing," he said. "If it is to play well or to win matches? To play offensively or for a certain result?" At Manchester United, they are not mutually exclusive. This is the root cause why modern-day Mourinho and United were always an awkward fit that is now unravelling towards a seemingly inevitable parting of ways.

United were at their best under Sir Alex Ferguson when playing well and winning matches. During a 2008 ceremony at Old Trafford to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster, Sir Bobby Charlton underlined how that ethos pre-dated Ferguson.

"I'll never forget what Sir Matt [Busby] said to us one day when he pointed across to Trafford Park, which at the time was the largest industrial estate in Europe," he said.

"He told us: 'The people over there work hard all week long and it is your job to go out on the field and provide them with some entertainment'."

Ferguson took that spirit to heart and used it to mastermind the most successful period in United's history. There was nothing more exciting in the Premier League than watching United chase a deficit. Ferguson would gamble to get his team out of a hole, "attack, attack, attack" and find a way back.

It was a sporting story of triumph over adversity which made United box office to watch. Now they turn to Marouane Fellaini and knock it long.

The most damning aspect of United under Mourinho (right) is they simply do not know how to attack.

It says everything about the cautious style Mourinho adopts that a team which scored 68 League goals last season -- 38 fewer than Manchester City -- spent the summer weighing up whether to sign another centre-back.

United's defending against Brighton and Tottenham is indicative that Mourinho was right to identify that area but another defender was never the missing piece in the puzzle. …

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