English Premiership

Jose Mourinho and the 3-season curse

2018-12-19 15:25
Jose Mourinho (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Was José Mourinho's time at Manchester United doomed from the start?

If several of his past stints at major clubs have been anything to go by, it may have been.

The Portuguese 55-year-old coach - who was booted from Old Trafford on Tuesday after a season of dismal results - has long been plagued by a "third season" curse, writes Cady Siregar of soccer website Goal.com.

"Mourinho has a tendency to self-implode rather spectacularly in his third season at past clubs he's managed."

And what makes this "curse" so bizarre is it usually follows a decent campaign - like his second-season second-place Premier League finish last year - coupled with "his increasingly aggravated off-pitch outbursts".

This happened during Mourinho's first stint at Chelsea, when the Blues, following consecutive title wins in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, were toppled from the No 1 spot by Man United. 

Mourinho reportedly had a fall-out with club owner Roman Abramovich and walked out at the start of the 2007/8 season "by mutual consent".

After a successful stint at Inter Milan from 2008 to 2010, Mourinho took the reins at Real Madrid and a similar pattern ensued.

In his second season, the side beat nemesis Barcelona for the La Liga trophy, accumulating 100 points in one season - something Mourinho is still loath to let the world forget.

But the season that followed was disastrous as the previous one was glorious. It was characterised by infighting and Mourinho fell out with key players, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

The club finished 15 points behind Barca in La Liga, toppled out of the Champions League in the semifinals and lost Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid. The Special One left the Santiago Bernabéu three days after the end of the season.

Back at Chelsea in 2013, more of the same. In Mourinho's second season back at the helm the Blues took the Premier League. In the very next season, their disastrous showing left them a laughable 16th on the log. After losing nine of their 16 Premier League matches, Mourinho was sacked in December 2015.

Similarly, Mourinho's start at Man United in 2016 was promising.

READ: Mourinho's fall from grace at United - in quotes

In his first season, Manchester United won the League Cup and the Europa League. Although they finished sixth in the Premier League in 2016, United were runners-up to Manchester City last season. 

But this year, results have left United fans seeing red. Their once unbeatable team was floundering, slipping down the log almost as fast as the ball seems to be sailing through goalkeeper David de Gea's fingers.

Currently, the former champs are 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool - and Man United bosses had clearly had enough.

The decision to sack the hot-headed coach - who signed a three-year contract with the team in 2016, with an option to renew until 2020 - will cost more than £18 million, according to BBC Sport.

The Old Trafford powers that be have taken "in the long-term interests of United with a view that the club is bigger than any one individual", the outlet reports.

But even the 'Special One' himself seemed to fear what might unfold in his third season at United. In a series of rash interviews before it had even begun, Mourinho lashed out at club bosses for the lack of transfers.

"I gave a list to my club of five names a few months ago," he said in a passive-aggressive rant. "And I wait to see if it's possible to have one of these players."

Not long after, "Moan-inho", as the media dubbed him, turned his wrath on the young players who'd bolstered the team's ranks during their US summer tour.

"This is not my squad," he said after a string of loses during the team's US summer tour. "This isn't even half my squad, or 30 percent of it."

When pre-season training at Old Trafford began - with many of the club's stars still on leave after the World Club - the usually bombastic boss admitted he was scared.

"We’re going to start without the players that were involved in the World Cup, without proper training for them and it’s going to be hard. Honestly, I fear it a bit."

Well, we can't say he didn’t warn us.

Sources: Daily Mail, Goal.com, BBC Sport


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