How much patience will United fans afford the latest manager to take on the task of returning the club to glory in the post-Fergie era?
This is a very difficult question to answer, but without doubt, United fans will not tolerate watching City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and others playing some great attacking football, winning games, and extending their lead over United whilst Mourinho continues to play players out of position and behave badly.
United seem to be falling further and further away from where we, as fans, believe we belong. Of course, we have no divine right to be top dogs, but we do absolutely expect to be challenging for titles and trophies every season.
Against Burnley, we did more than enough to warrant a win, and played some very decent stuff, but there’s no hiding from the fact that we have played 280 minutes of Premier League football without scoring a single goal, and that has to be at least partly down to the way Mourinho is setting up the team.
I am not anti-Ibrahimovic; I still believe he can offer United something, but he is out of form and not scoring goals, and I believe it’s clear for everyone to see that Rashford is being totally wasted out wide on the left.
This weekend, when Mourinho dragged off captain Mata, who was our most creative player for 72 minutes , and brought on Fellaini, it was simply mind-boggling. And to top that, he took off Rashford for Depay. Surely Ibra should have been taken off, Rashford moved to no.9, and Depay wide left? Both Ibra and Rooney should have scored in those final minutes to have secured the 3 points, but neither produced the goods.
And where is Anthony Martial? Arguably our best outfield player last season, he seems to be slipping down the pecking order under Mourinho, and as for Mhiki, I don’t think anyone really understands what is going on.
At the beginning of the season, I am sure most United fans were excited at the thought of Rashford, Martial and Mhiki terrorizing opposition defences, with Pogba dominating from midfield. Pogba has so far been a huge disappointment, but in fairness to him, the system Mourinho is playing is not best-suited to his abilities, and very different to how he was played at Juventus.
In truth, we are pretty much out of the title race by Halloween, and looking more likely to finish mid-table than top 4 on current form. United have spent many millions, and are paying a manager millions more, to deliver results and trophies. It’s not looking like a good investment at this point in time.
Personally, I think the board missed two huge opportunities in both Pochettino and Klopp. These are arguably the two best managers in football right now. Rumours are already surfacing that Real Madrid want Pochettino, and I don’t see Klopp leaving Liverpool anytime soon, and he’ll certainly never come to United now.
As fans, we really have to hope that Mourinho can get this right. Of course we want him to succeed and, frankly, who else could we replace him with that has any sort of proven track record?
So how long will the vast majority of United fans give Mourinho? I am really not sure, but if he keeps making bad substitutions, continues to play Rashford wide, marginalising Martial and Mhiki, and not playing to Pogba’s strengths, all whilst failing to climb up the table, then the fans will surely run out of patience sooner rather than later. And in today’s frenzied social media climate, where everyone seemingly has a voice, the cacophony of calls for a manager’s head can quickly become too loud for the board to ignore.