What is wrong with Manchester United?

At the end of August, I wrote that after starting the season with three wins in three games, Manchester United should fire Jose Mourinho at that time instead of waiting for things to inevitably turn south. It certainly didn’t take long for that to happen as Old Trafford has essentially been a disaster zone since September.

But what has caused this? In August, things were looking bright for Manchester United. In September and October, it’s almost as if nothing has gone right. What has gone wrong for Manchester United?

[link_box id=”23195″ site_id=”158″ layout=”link-box-third” alignment=”alignright”]Well I hate to say I told you so but, wait a second, actually I’d love to say I told you so. Not only did things immediately go south at Manchester United, but I’ve been saying since January that Jose Mourinho and Manchester United would never work out.

The problem starts even higher than Mourinho with Ed Woodward, who has been nothing short of a disaster since taking over from David Gill. But Woodward hasn’t been a complete failure. Since taking over, he has signed stars such as Juan Mata, Angel di Maria, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. While many of those players haven’t worked out at United, that has more to do with the manager not knowing how to use them. Sure he’s spent way too much money on most of those signings, but it’s because of Woodward’s commercial dealings that United even have that kind of money to spend.

Woodward has loaded up Manchester United with talent. The problem for the club is with his selection of manager, and his hiring of Jose Mourinho has been a very predictable disaster.

It’s not like this team isn’t talented enough for Mourinho. On the contrary actually. This current Manchester United team is one of the most talented squads the club has ever had. It’s way more talented than the 2011, 2012, and 2013 teams, two of which won the title, one of which lost on goal differential, and the 2011 team even went to the Champions League final.

If you’re even thinking of doubting those claims, the midfield of those teams was comprised of Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, and an old Paul Scholes. This year they have Carrick (whom they don’t use which is an indictment on Mourinho), Paul Pogba, and Ander Herrera. Back then, the wings were an old Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. These days it’s Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Jesse Lingard. Which team would you rather have?

But Jose Mourinho has no idea how to use any of these players. He splashed out a record amount of money on Paul Pogba only to make him play as part of Mourinho’s system, a system that doesn’t accommodate Pogba’s skill set. Pogba is a midfielder who likes to get up and down the field, and even more so, he likes to play balls in behind the defense for his striker to run on to. At striker, Mourinho is insistent on using Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a striker who doesn’t stretch defenses.

Ibrahimovic and Pogba have said that they are still taking time to gel but they never will. Their games are incompatible with each other. But it’s Mourinho who wanted this combination.

As long as Jose Mourinho is in charge of Manchester United, things aren’t going to get any better any time soon. It’s mid-October and not only does Mourinho not know how to get the best out of the squad, but the players still look like they’ve never played a game with each other before. That’s unheard of after 12 games.

In today’s Premier League, Jose Mourinho is simply out of his element. Give the man credit for his rise. He came into the league in the mid 2000’s and took advantage of the way everyone in the league played back then. That caused the entire league to look at their tactics and evolve.

These days, the league has evolved tactically but Mourinho is still managing like it’s 2005. Somehow the league has managed to adapt and evolve but Mourinho hasn’t. Look at the managers that were managing the Premier League in 2005. There was Arsene Wenger and a rebuilding Sir Alex Ferguson. That’s it. The managers in today’s Premier League are far better, and Mourinho is being exposed for the fraud that he is. That’s a problem that Manchester United have, and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

About Pauly Kwestel

Pauly is a Producer for WFAN in New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has been writing about the beautiful game since 2010 and can be followed on twitter @pkwestelWFAN

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