Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba are great for Manchester United’s finances but in football terms they BOTH need to go


On the day Manchester United were embarrassed by Tottenham in the Theatre of Dreams, their share price reached a record high.

On the day Manchester United were knocked out of a competition Jose Mourinho preens himself for having won four times, they announced record revenue figures.

In Florida, the Glazer family were doubtless drawn by only one side of those coincidences in the defeats to Spurs and Derby.

Never mind the quality, feel the wedge.



The Manchester United soap opera is disguising the sheer ordinariness of their football

As long as United remain a commercial phenomenon and as long as they sanction enough spending to keep them competitive at elite level, then training-ground shenanigans, petty feuds and functional football mean nothing.

As the pettiness and immaturity of the feud between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba escalated, ex-players and nostalgists were queuing up to lament, falling over themselves to say this was not the way Manchester United Football Club do things.

Only, it is .

Because Mourinho was as much a commercial acquisition as he was a footballing one, and there is every chance Pogba was the same.



Ed Woodward presides over a club that is a commercial juggernaut but no longer a footballing one

In light of Ed Woodward’s boasts about social-media hits, wait until the investors on the New York Stock Exchange get to hear about the six million views of their Carrington contretemps.

‘But the manager and star player were arguing. In front of young players. It was childish.’

‘Ah, who the hell cares? We broke Twitter — bonuses all round!’

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For all the criticism of Mourinho you will read and hear from us, the media, we love him. A Mourinho soundbite is worth a hundred Manuel Pellegrini press conferences.

He is the gift that keeps on giving.

Yet the one thing obscured by the financial might of Manchester United and the airtime-dominating, column inch-monopolising of Mourinho’s antics is the sheer ordinariness of the team’s football.

While those wolves of Wall Street might toast them, the Wolves of the West Midlands play nicer stuff than them. Derby County of the Championship can dictate play against them. ‘Lads, it’s Tottenham’ can wallop them.

They collected a highly commendable 81 points last season and, until very recently, there was a convincing argument to suggest Mourinho deserved time to try to build something special.

There is also a convincing argument, based not least on his performances at the World Cup, to suggest Pogba could mature into a stellar playing asset.

But as the dynamic sours between the manager and his best player, the football becomes a struggle.



United are now the least watchable of the Premier League’s Big Six

The Pogba of Manchester United, as opposed to the magnificent Pogba of France, is one half thoroughbred, one half show-pony and clearly has his sights fixed on a move to Barcelona or wherever. Pogba is playing for himself.

And since Jose Mourinho took over ahead of the 2016-17 season, Manchester United have never scored five goals or more in a single game (In the same period, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have done it TEN times and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City FOURTEEN).

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Since Mourinho took over, United have been the Big Six’s low scorers — by a distance.

Their goals in the Premier League goals from 2016-17 until now is 131. City? 205. Liverpool: 176. Spurs: 172. Arsenal: 163. Chelsea: 161.

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United, despite their runners-up finish last season, are the most unwatchable team of the Big Six.

Of course, as long as the tills keep ringing, the Glazers and Woodward might not be minded to change things. But if they have any sense of duty to the supporters not attracted merely by the commercial phenomenon, they should act sooner rather than later.

The question is always about which one should go. Pogba? Or Mourinho?

The answer is becoming more and more obvious with every passing spat:

Both.

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