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Why Jose Mourinho Could be Man United’s Manager by the End of the Season


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In May it would have seemed impossible. Jose Mourinho had just won his third Premier League with Chelsea and Louis van Gaal had guided Manchester United back into the Champions League. Just four months on and both managers are looking under increasing pressure. Mourinho has had a dreadful start to the season with Chelsea and although van Gaal has enjoyed better results, there is talk of a dressing room revolt at United.

When the man dubbed as King Louis arrived at Old Trafford he looked the perfect fit. A man who had built up a stellar reputation of promoting youth players at previous clubs Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich seemed the perfect fit for United. Add to this the fact he just guided Holland to the semi-finals of a World Cup they were never expected to have an impact on and it seemed that United had found the man who could replace Sir Alex Ferguson. And for his first season in charge it seemed this may be the case.

After a tricky start United began to build momentum, threatening to finish as high as second in the Premier League. There was no cup final and no title challenge, but the signs were there that United were rebuilding and the Dutchman’s philosophy was inspiring his players. Van Gaal himself had outlined that his main target in the first season was to guide to United back into the Champions League, before challenging for honours in his second season in charge.

On the face of it, United have had a strong start to the season. They have won three of their first five league games and have overcome Club Brugge to qualify for the Champions League group stage. However, a bizarre transfer window which has seemingly left them short up front, and a lack of flair on the pitch has led to fans questioning weather King Louis is the man to return to Premier League crown to Old Trafford. The 64-year-old has a reputation as being something of a mad genius but some of his decisions have made him look simply mad. Sending Adnan Januzaj out on loan, selling Javier Hernandez and spending £36 million on an unproven teenager are all decisions which could come back to haunt van Gaal.

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Over in London, it was just over a month ago that Mourinho was penning a new contract at Stamford Bridge. The Special One was once again a Premier League champion and The Blues were the favourites to regain their crown this season. Five games into the season and Chelsea have won just one game, losing three. Players who performed so well last season no longer look up to the fight and players bought in over the summer, such as Radamel Falcao and Baba Rahman, have failed to make a significant impact.

Mourinho has looked defensive in press conferences and rows with the club medical staff have not helped. Add to this the fact that senior players like John Terry and Diego Costa are struggling for form and it easy to see why Mourinho is starting to feel the strain. While Mourinho is renowned for winning the league in his second season with clubs, his third season is generally his worst. He has remained in a job for a third season twice, in his first spell at Chelsea and at Real Madrid. He never won the league on both occasions and they both proved to be his full seasons in charge of the respective clubs.

Mourinho has stated he plans to stay in England long term. If this is the case, there are only a few teams he would be interested in managing once he left Chelsea. Manchester United would definitely be in this group of elite teams. If Chelsea decided to part with Mourinho for a second time, and van Gaal is failing to galvanise a title challenge, the Old Trafford hierarchy may find it difficult to resist ditching van Gaal and approaching the man he once mentored. And if they did, there would be little doubt Mourinho would accept the challenge of managing England’s biggest club.

Following United’s win over Liverpool, there is every chance that United will grow in confidence and begin to play more expansive football with better results. There is also an expectation that Chelsea will eventually return to form and it is not yet beyond the realms of possibility that they can put a run together and challenge Man City for the title. However, if both teams continue to struggle and Mourinho becomes available, United will have to act quickly to secure the Portuguese, and it is not unthinkable that Mourinho could be sitting in the Old Trafford dugout by the end of the season.

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