For the most part, Jose Mourinho has been a more restrained character since he took over as Manchester United manager this May. Perhaps sensing the need to repair his public image, and needing to come across as a softer, less combative coach to his players, the Portuguese has mostly been mellower, less incendiary in the press. So far, at least.
Not all is going swimmingly for United and their new boss; Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Chelsea means that his team have one just once in their last six Premier League games. The manner of Sunday’s defeat, and the way in which United capitulated so quickly was alarming, but whilst Mourinho acknowledged the seriousness of the result, he also stressed the need for his team to stand up and be counted as the team’s busy period continues.
“We are really, really sad but again this is not for kids, this is for men and tomorrow we have to be men and work for the next one,” he said to MUTV after the game.
When asked about the prospect of facing Manchester City on Wednesday night as an opportunity to bounce back from the defeat, Mourinho was less than enthused: “I would prefer to play in the Premier League. It’s a bad feeling in the Premier League. With the combination of results the gap to the top is six points.
‘We’ve had a very difficult period of matches. We lost points this week and even in the match when we played phenomenal against Stoke, we lost points then. Now we need to win matches.”
Opportunities to win matches will be swift, with Manchester City visiting Old Trafford in the fourth round of the EFL Cup this Wednesday. Mourinho will demand a better performance from his players after September’s 1-2 derby defeat at the start of September, for sure.
Then, Saturday brings with it the visit of Burnley in the league, which United must view as a game that has to be won if they want to snap out of the domestic malaise that they currently find themselves in. Granted, back-to-back trips to Anfield and Stamford Bridge were never going to be easy, and United struggled in both matches, but those games are gone, and Mourinho and his side have the opportunity to set the record straight against a big rival also going through a rough patch. Here’s hoping they can win.