Uninspired, directionless and dull are about the only ways to describe the full 90 minutes of football that Manchester United put on display as they deservedly crashed out of the English League Cup on Tuesday night, losing to Derby County 7-8 on penalties.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 25, 2018
Jose Mourinho made nine changes to his team to take on Derby which still had the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard. Despite having the perfect start when Mata put the hosts ahead in the third minute, United, as they have all season, failed to put the game to bed.
Harry Wilson equalised with a screamer of a free-kick before Jack Marriott put Derby ahead shortly after Sergio Romero was red carded.
Marouane Fellaini gave United a lifeline with an injury time equaliser, but Phil Jones missed United’s eighth penalty as they crashed out.
Mourinho lost the plot
Jose Mourinho has seemed a shadow of his former self for a while now and after a terrible preseason, United had to get off to a good start in the season to win back the United faithful, of which a large portion wanted to see another manager in the dugout.
The complete opposite has happened with United having collected just three wins and a draw in the opening six games and are out of the League Cup.
During that time, Mourinho has stormed out of a press conference, allegedly told the United change room that Paul Pogba will never captain his side again after the comments made in the media as well as calling out Ed Woodward for not delivering a new centre back during the summer window.
United have scored nine goals in the league and conceded as many which means the usual impenetrable defence of a Mourinho team is a forgotten myth while United are certainly not setting any worlds alight on the attacking front.
A matter of time
I remember having several conversations before the season that all the signs pointed towards Mourinho being sacked during the season and after the start he has had coupled with the sheer lack of quality evident at Old Trafford, it looks like a matter of time.
The problem is how long will Woodward wait? How many more times do United need to slip up before intervening. My answer would be none.
United are already out of one cup. They are arguably already out of the Premier League race being eight points behind. The way we are playing does bode well for our chances in the Champions League which means all that United can really aim for now is an FA Cup. And simply, that is not good enough.
The writing was on the wall for Louis van Gaal long before he was sacked and we are at the same crossroads with Mourinho. The difference is that it is only September. I personally believe that in order to reignite the spark within Old Trafford that used to strike fear into the hearts of any team, radical change is needed and it is needed now.
The fact that Zinedine Zidane is not currently sitting in the United dugout is probably the biggest oversight in Woodward’s time as Chairman.
Having walked away from the best club in the world after winning every single honour possible in just three seasons of managing, Zidane has established himself as one of the most prolific managers in the world currently.
Since his departure he has mentioned that he would be very interested in the United job and I could think of few people better suited to get the best out of the likes of Lukaku, Pogba, Martial and Sanchez not to mention Rashford.
So the choice is simple…
Persist with Mourinho and his sinking ship in order to try and maintain some sort of ethical code of being a club that does not sack managers on a wholesale basis. Or make a daring and bold move to give Zidane a chance and show United supporters that mediocrity is not the United way and that the club has to be one of the best.
There is literally nothing to lose at this stage…