Tuesday 18 December 2018 6:07 pm

Jose Mourinho’s fall from grace signifies the end of an era as his time in English football comes to a bitter end


Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

Sport and Business Reporter at City AM. Email: michael.searles@cityam.com

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Jose Mourinho's fall from grace has been played out in the public eye over a torturous period that feels as though it began from the moment he took charge at Old Trafford, if not before.

Mourinho has had a tendency to bounce from job to job and his decision to live out of the Lowry Hotel for two and a half years rather than buy a house suggests he was never intending to put down roots in the city.

After a tumultuous time at the helm of Manchester United, the “Special One” was axed on Tuesday following his side’s humbling 3-1 defeat by Liverpool on Sunday.

Deterioration

During his tenure he faced fierce criticism of his footballing philosophy and man-management skills, but despite the questions Mourinho won the Europa League and League Cup in his first season, before finishing second in the league to a dominant Manchester City in his second season as well as reaching the FA Cup final.

His methods, however questionable, were delivering some results, but the tables turned this season and a miserable defeat at Anfield ensured United’s worst start to a campaign for 28 years.

The tension between Mourinho and the board had been clear since the summer transfer window as he continually made jibes about his squad's lack of quality – a point neatly summed up after the Liverpool defeat when he described the opposition as “better, faster, stronger”.

While he might not have got the players he wanted last summer, the 55-year-old did spend £364.3m on eight signings over four transfer windows, while Alexis Sanchez was brought in for free.

The Chilean, along with the World Cup-winning Paul Pogba, are the most obvious examples of players whose performances have deteriorated substantially under Mourinho.

Third season syndrome


In truth, there has been a cloud hanging over Mourinho's head ever since the debacle in his second spell at Chelsea, where after winning the Premier League and League Cup in his second season, everything went wrong in season three – a common theme in his managerial history.

The first signs of unrest at Stamford Bridge came during a 2-2 draw with Swansea when Mourinho publicly berated team doctor Eva Cameiro for treating Eden Hazard during stoppage time.

It was the beginning of the end as he appeared to irreparably alienate some of his best players and was eventually sacked in December 2015 with the club 16th and one point above the relegation zone.

Similarly, in his third season at Real Madrid in 2012-13 he fell out with a number of players including Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, while his treatment of goalkeeper Iker Casillas divided fans.

He also infamously poked Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye as Real finished Mourinho’s self-confessed “worst season ever” 15 points behind Barca and trophy-less.

Perhaps things have not been as dramatic this time around, but his fall-out with some of United’s most talented and expensive assets such as Pogba and Anthony Martial have been apparent.

Petulant behaviour

It’s not just his players who have felt his wrath: in recent months he has lambasted reporters, including one employed by his own club, and petulantly thrown water bottles to the ground in apparent celebration of a last-minute Champions League winner against Young Boys.

Mourinho has been the latest in a series of bad appointments from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who has failed to find the right man to replace Sir Alex Ferguson since 2013.

David Moyes would still have five months left on the six-year contract that was initially given to him following Ferguson's retirement and three dismissals later they are no closer to finding the solution.

Sacking Mourinho will reportedly cost United an eye-watering £24m after the club extended his contract until 2020 in January, but the writing has been on the wall since the summer, with Mourinho feeling that Woodward did not back him with the signings he needed to strengthen the side.

What's next?

United must now find someone new to take up what is becoming a poisoned chalice, with Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho all left worse off for taking on the challenge.

The club will appoint a caretaker manager until the end of the season and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, Laurent Blanc and Zinedine Zidane are the bookies’ favourites for that role, while assistant coach Michael Carrick is also in contention.

As for the “Special One”, he has already been linked with a return to Inter Milan and Real Madrid, while a job at a national side may also appeal to him.

He will remain an attractive acquisition to certain clubs thanks to his ability to deliver instant results, but his growing reputation as a damaging manager may mean other sides think twice before appointing him.

After taking on two of the biggest jobs in the Premier League and leaving both clubs in turmoil, his time in England appears to have come to a bitter end.

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