Artikel fra The Times, som I får i fuld længde, da den ryger bag paywall om lidt. Pointen er: tror vi Mourinho (med det samme materiale) havde gjort det lige så dårligt i Utd som som Moyes? Selvfølgelig ikke...
Ak ja, jeg der i dag bliver beskyldt for at være for pessimist, glædede mig i min naivitet ved sæsonoptakten trods alt over, at vi ikke skulle spille røvsygt og kedeligt Mourinho bold i den nærmeste fremtid. I stedet kom vi til at spille mere røvsyg bold, end jeg nogensinde kan huske Lille Josés hold har gjort.
Moyes’s United bereft of ideas while Mourinho’s Chelsea exude menace
March 03 2014 15:03PM
As if the sight of Manchester City winning the Capital One Cup – the first component in what Manuel Pellegrini hopes will be a domestic treble, and perhaps even an unprecedented quadruple – was not bad enough for a club that seem certain to finish the campaign empty-handed, there was little succour to be found elsewhere.
Everton, Moyes’s old club, won 1-0 at home to West Ham United to leapfrog United, who dropped a place to seventh in the Barclays Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur moved eight points clear of the champions in fifth with victory by the same scoreline against Cardiff City and Liverpool maintained their surprise title charge by overcoming Southampton 3-0 at St Mary’s.
The Anfield club are now fourteen points ahead of their long-standing rivals, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that they finished 28 points adrift of a Sir Alex Ferguson led United last season.
Looking beyond the controversy caused by Alan Pardew’s disgraceful headbutt, Newcastle United’s 4-1 win at Hull City moved the Tyneside club to within two points of United. Only Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat away to Stoke City, where United also lost recently, constituted something approaching good news for Moyes, but then Arsene Wenger’s team are still 14 points ahead of the Manchester club.
And then there is Chelsea, who cemented their place at top of the table with a 3-1 win against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Everton’s position above United may be particularly unfortunate for Moyes. Liverpool zooming out of view in the first season since Ferguson retired and City clinching the first piece of silverware available may be galling in the extreme for the fans. But it is Chelsea’s residency at the Premier League summit that invites the most awkward questions and may be causing the United hierarchy to shift rather anxiously in their seats.
Jose Mourinho talks a good game about being where he wants to be – the self-styled Happy One and all that – but, despite claims to the contrary, the Chelsea manager would have snapped United’s hand off had the chance to succeed Ferguson been offered to him before he pitched up at Stamford Bridge again and Moyes was effectively anointed. Whether he felt jilted, unfairly overlooked or not, the Portuguese is stating a persuasive case – if, indeed, one needed stating in the first place – for United having appointed the wrong man.
Results, of course, speak the loudest, and while Moyes is floundering terribly, Mourinho is taking the fight squarely to a City team that – in terms of the depth of talent in their squad – should win this particular race relatively comfortably, and not by the nose that seems likely to separate the eventual victor from the “first loser” as Mourinho regards second place. For the record, United trail Chelsea by a mammoth 18 points.
Mourinho was indulging in more reverse psychology at the weekend, banging on about how his team won’t win all of their final ten league games and how “destiny” is in City’s hands, but we’ve heard this spiel before. Mourinho knows full well that Chelsea have an excellent chance of getting to the finishing line first and, if it happens, it will go down as one of his greatest achievements.
For all the talk about United being in transition and the weaknesses that exist within their squad – the apparent bad hand that Moyes was dealt by Ferguson – Mourinho was not bequeathed a perfect bed of roses at Stamford Bridge by any stretch. Yes, United’s overachievement last season was greater than City and Chelsea’s underachievement and, in that sense, Mourinho was only looking up whereas Moyes must have anticipated United would fall somewhat, if maybe out of the top two then certainly not out of the top four and most definitely not as embarrassingly low as seventh.
Yet scratch the surface and there are parallels to be drawn between the squad Mourinho inherited at Chelsea and the one Ferguson left Moyes. For a start, both clubs had ageing captains for whom a series of debilitating injuries were taking their toll. John Terry, 33 and 14 months’ Nemanja Vidic’s senior, could not complete the five-step conditioning programmes that Rafael Benitez, Mourinho’s predecessor, designed for him and was considered finished by many.
Re-energised and re-focused by Mourinho this season, Terry has been arguably the best defender in the league and is desperate to commit himself to the club for another year. By contrast, Vidic has looked every inch his 32 years and announced last month that he would be leaving Old Trafford when his contract expires at the end of the season. In Terry and Gary Cahill, Mourinho established a formidable central defensive pairing that he has stuck with rigidly for the most part, knowing full well the importance of familiarity in the back line. Moyes has chopped and changed his centre-halves to such an extent that injuries and a desire to assess the credentials of his defenders long ago ceased to be a source of mitigation.
Concerned about a drop off in form in Ashley Cole, his 33-year-old left back, Mourinho switched Cesar Azpilicueta from his usual position at right back to the left side with excellent results. Moyes’s response to watching Patrice Evra, his 32-year-old left back, suffer under the strain of fatigue caused by almost constant football has been to keep playing the Frenchman when, in Rafael Da Silva, he has a versatile right back for whom a trial on the left might have benefited Evra enormously in the longer run.
Mourinho complains about the lack of a pedigree goalscorer in his squad and yet he has devised a system to best mask those shortcomings and harness what he can from Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres, who, for all the criticism, have still scored only seven goals fewer than the 24 that Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney have managed competitively for United this term. With any three of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Andre Schurrle buzzing behind a central striker, Chelsea exude menace and intensity.
United are not exactly short on creative players in Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Shinji Kagawa and, recently arrived from Chelsea – Juan Mata. Van Persie is a goalscorer of genuine excellence that Mourinho demands and Javier Hernandez a fox in a box that he would love to be able to introduce from the substitutes’ bench. Beyond that, Danny Welbeck has the pace and power to cause much more trouble than he is managing. Yet United routinely look leaden, ponderous and bereft of ideas – the supply line to Van Persie fragmented and often far too easy for opponents to neuter.
United’s gripes about the midfield become harder to sympathise with when one considers that Moyes has had two transfer windows in which to strengthen in that department and not managed to do so in either. Mourinho, denied the opportunity to spend heavily on a central striker last summer, strengthened in other key areas and again in January, when the arrival of Nemanja Matic from Benfica made of mockery of suggestions that locating and signing a quality midfielder in mid-season is a thankless task. And to think that Chelsea’s midfield did not need bolstering to anything like the extent that United’s does.
Much was made about Moyes being the continuity candidate when he succeeded Ferguson. Beyond a shared nationality, loyalty to a single club and a reputation for bringing through young players, it is hard to advance that case. In almost every regard, Mourinho was the continuity candidate, and for reasons perhaps only Ferguson truly knows, the continuity candidate’s credentials were, if not entirely ignored, then ultimately spurned.
Consider for a moment Ferguson’s strengths. He was extremely decisive, a risk-taker, ruthless, a master man-manager and motivator and a serial winner, all of which apply to Mourinho. Decisive? A risk-taker? How many managers, for example, would have arrived at Chelsea last summer with what appeared to be a pre-conceived plan to sell the club’s player of the year of the previous two seasons? The merits of Mourinho’s decision to offload Mata can be debated by others but it was perhaps the most obvious recent illustration of the Portuguese’s unwavering faith in his own decision-making.
Any concerns United had about the type of football Mourinho plays should have been laid to rest during the season his Real Madrid broke Barcelona’s stranglehold on Spanish football by winning the title in 2011/12 and there can be little debate about who is the more entertaining to watch between the present Chelsea and United sides. As for suggestions that Mourinho’s often confrontational, combative nature counted against him, what was Ferguson – an innocent, mild-mannered, a keeper of the peace? That argument is risible.
Similarly, the misgivings about Mourinho’s tendency to move on every few years. Was that really a deal breaker? Ferguson’s 27-year tenure at United was a one-off event, a completely unique circumstance. A three or four-year term seems perfectly acceptable these days, but what is to say that United would not have been a club at which Mourinho – now 51 – would have wanted to stay put?
Mourinho may well win the league championship this term. Taken in the context of what threatens to be United’s worst season for a generation, it would be a surprise if he does not prompt the odd moment of quiet introspection at Old Trafford.
\"At the end of this game, the European Cup will be only six feet away from you, and you’ll not even able to touch it if we lose. And for many of you, that will be the closest you will ever get. Don’t you dare come back in here without giving your al...