I’m a Liverpool fan and naturally have no love for Manchester United but they made a major mistake firing José Mourinho especially since it was followed up by hiring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Since being appointed, the Portuguese steadied the ship and has this season got the Lily Whites off to a cracking start. Spurs are second in the Premier League and showing signs of being potential champions.
The reason for his success thus far is equal parts his managerial excellence and being trusted by his board and club chairman Daniel Levy.
In the summer, Mourinho signed Matt Doherty, Lo Celso (move made permanent), Joe Hart, Joe Rodon, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Sergio Reguilón.
Most ambitiously of all, however, was the loan signing of Gareth Bale. The Welshman is yet to make a meaningful contribution but Daniel Levy’s trust in Mourinho meant the decision to spend £24.48m for a one-year return for the Real Madrid forward was a show faith in the new Spurs boss.
This trust in Mourinho at Spurs was never on display at Old Trafford, with Manchester United’s transfers lacking direction. Mourinho constantly asked for defensive reinforcements but never received them.
The foundation of Mourinho’s success in Europe has been established on sound defending and counter-attacking but United tied their own shoelaces together by not providing Mourinho with the tools he needed to succeed.
In his first season with United, Mourinho coached his group of misfits to an 81-point second-place finish and ultimately lost out to Pep Guardiola’s record-smashing City group that finished on 100 points.
Of course, his second season saw him fired after 17 matches with the Red Devils in sixth place. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t improve things at all, with the Norwegian’s side ending the season in the same position on the table that Mourinho did.
In fact, United ended that season in sixth place, 32 points behind City and 31 behind Liverpool. Solskjaer failed to coach his side to a single win in the final six games of the season.
Solksjaer’s biggest achievement at United was to qualify his side for this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign before they were promptly knocked out in the group stages.
Mourinho would have done a better job at Old Trafford had he been provided with the players to create a stronger backline.
Despite all that, the former Porto boss will be happy with the position he’s found himself in and will feel like he can succeed in London given the supportive environment he is working in compared to the toxic situation at Manchester United.