It’s hard to make out just what exactly is happening behind closed doors at Manchester United with the club swinging from disaster one week to revival the next. We are currently in a revival stage where there is a sense of hope on the streets of the red side of Manchester after Mourinho’s men came from two goals down against Newcastle, to pull off a miraculous 3-2 win in front of the Stretford End.
It was a thrilling effort from Manchester United and one very few saw coming after the Geordies raced to a two-goal lead inside ten minutes. Newcastle’s early lead seemed to signal the end for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United amid reports on Friday evening that he was to be sacked regardless of the result against Newcastle.
The 55-year-old was well and truly staring down the barrel of the gun at two nil down but looking back on Saturday’s events and the 24 hours leading up to the game, the only way Mourinho could have saved his job at Old Trafford, if the reports were to be believed that he was facing the sack, was by coming back and pulling off a win like that.
The comeback against Newcastle effectively tied the hands of the Manchester United board as there was simply no way they could dismiss Mourinho after his team proved they were still willing to fight for the badge and the manager. It is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility to think that, at 10 minutes into the game, Mourinho was a dead man walking and, at 90 minutes, he was the saviour who had bought himself more time.
The timing of the news that Mourinho was to be dismissed could have also played a part in Mourinho’s stay of execution. It was during Friday Night Football on Sky and during the post-match analysis of the game between Brighton and West Ham that Kelly Cates first broke the news and Gary Neville’s subsequent response could well have impacted the decision to let Mourinho go.
In an empty Amex Stadium, Neville launched a scathing attack on the Manchester United board where he even went as far as to say there was something ‘rotten to the core at Manchester United.’ It was such a passionate defense of Mourinho from Neville, live on air, that it could well have saved the manager his job and even promoted the board to stand down and wait until the going gets worse, which you would have to admit, may well happen.
Now the dust has settled, there seems to be far from renewed optimism and rather a general feeling that Man United are still in a bad place. For instance, the comeback against Newcastle hasn’t done anything to improve Betfair’s odds for Man U to win the league and, at 43/1, you’d have to say there is still a perceived crisis at Old Trafford.
Gary Neville: “José Mourinho will get the biggest support he’s ever had in his life at the ground against Newcastle. And I’ll be there to give it to him.” 🔴
Gary Neville’s a RED! Love the man. Respect the man.
Back the manager until the end! 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/EBjkS4mo7Z
— Man Utd Channel (@ManUtdChannel) October 6, 2018
So, what will happen next if this type of resolve from the players isn’t going to be a long-term thing to witness?
The only thing consistent feature of Mourinho’s Manchester United is their inconsistency. These results only serve to paper over the cracks and, whether there is something fundamentally wrong at Old Trafford or not, Mourinho is on borrowed time even if he has bought a bit more of it.