Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience
It’s been three losses in a row for Mourinho; his worst record since taking over at Manchester United.
For a club like Manchester United which spends hundreds of millions of dollars on its team and has access to the best possible conditioning for its players, losing cannot be excused by ‘bad luck’. United can buy a lot, but they cannot afford superstition.
‘Collective mistakes’ is the only reasonable factor mentioned by Mourinho “We have to improve no doubt, individually, collectively we have to improve. And that’s my job," he said.
This is a rational excuse for poor results which can be improved with changes to attitude and tactics.
Mourinho spoke about the referee decisions mostly, describing them as “crucial mistakes”, pointing out four different examples of referee decisions that cost his side any points.
The first Manchester derby for the season saw United beaten 1-2.
In the game against Leicester, Mourinho insisted that Claudio Bravo should have been red-carded and a spot-kick should have been awarded after a 50/50 challenge between Bravo and Wayne Rooney. Both players met at the ball at the same time and play on seemed fair from Mark Clattenberg.
The second “crucial mistake” of the match was an appeal for handball when Nicolas Otamendi’s lagging arm was struck in the 18-yard-box. Players in this situation are usually given the benefit of the doubt which on a neutral level is understandable.
A much different-looking United faced off against Feyenoord who were fortunate to get away with an offside through-ball which led to a goal. Granted, Mourinho was correct about this decision but cannot blame it for losing the game. When speaking about the first half he said: “We were not trying to win; we were just in control of the game.”
The latest and most shocking defeat was against Watford F.C who trumped United 3-1.
Mourinho said at 2-1: “Their second goal is a mistake (by the referee) that goes against our plan”. Anthony Martial was dispossessed in a dangerous position which resulted in a goal. The challenge on Martial again, from a neutral perspective, looked to be a fair one.
Out of the three factors Jose Mourinho has given, one is acceptable as the manager of Manchester United which is ‘collective mistakes’. Mourinho’s bias toward referee decisions is an attempt to seek sympathy from media and football fans, and perhaps even an attempt at altering referee decisions in future matches.