Earlier this year Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho presented a list of players for Ed Woodward to sign this summer. Top of the list was an experienced central defender. Mourinho had lost faith in Smalling/Jones/Rojo and Bailly/Lindelof were too inexperienced to lead the line by themselves.
Woodward said no. That Mourinho’s choices did not fit the profile of the type of player he wanted.
So it should be no surprise them that Mourinho’s center-backs are directly responsible for United’s back-to-back defeats. Bailly and Lindelof were at fault for at least two of the Brighton goals last week. And on Monday, errors by Jones and Smalling led directly to two of Spur’s three goals.
The British press sense blood is in the water at Old Trafford, even the constant drumbeat against Mourinho is having an impact on and off the pitch.
Despite the anti-Mourinho sentiment in the press and on social media, the Stretford End seems firmly behind the United boss as many supporters sung the manager’s name just minutes from time, with the game well and truly over, in a show of unity.
The manager made a beeline for the fans who had stayed behind, just moments after the final whistle, and picked up a United scarf in an emotional display of gratitude which lasted 50 seconds.
During his post-match interview, the United manager reserved special praise for the manner in which the majority of his supporters continued to back his team despite the humbling defeat.
‘Our fans don’t read papers,’ Mourinho told Sky Sports. ‘Our fans don’t watch television. All our fans are more intelligent than that.
‘They answer in an absolutely amazing way. I don’t think it’s normal for a team to lose at home and for them to react the way they did.’
Mourinho’s show of appreciation, which saw him clap continuously for almost a minute, was noted by former United right back Gary Neville in the Sky Sports studios.
‘He looks emotional to me,’ Neville said of Mourinho. ‘I have to say he wanted a response after Brighton, and I think there was an intensity to United in the first 30 minutes that I’ve not seen in a long time, but once the game settled down, it went from intensity to just chaos.’
Get set for another long week of Mourinho has to be replaced by the red tops this week. But does anyone really think that Zinedine Zidane who had a back four of Carvajal, Ramos, Varane and Marcelo is suddenly ready to manage Valencia, Jones, Smalling and Young?