Mourinho’s Second Season At Manchester United

Mourinho’s Second Season At Manchester United: Why there was no trophy!

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By Adeola Aderounmu

I am an unusual fan.

When l was a little boy growing up in Nigeria l knew the names of many football teams and many of their football players. In the days of Leventis United and ABIOLA Babes, l rock. And for the Nigerian national team, l knew their shirt numbers and their names from Best Ogedegbe to Segun Odegbami and Christian Chukwu.

Nigerian football died literarily the same way the Nigerian economy and many other glorious things died.

So instead of writing about Nigerian professional league which is on the rise again (l hope) but suffering severely in terms of marketing and profit compared to foreign leagues. Of course we left things in the hand of very bad people and very ignorant people. We have issues in Nigeria. Serious ones!

So don’t be mad at me for writing about Mourinho and Manchester United.

 

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I am an unusual fan because l hardly follow a team for long. Rather l get stuck with some managers and over the past few years it has been Mourinho and recently Zidane.

Mourinho was supposed to be the man lifting the premier league trophy  in 2018 but he made some terrible choices along the way. In the second season, still struggling with some half-baked players and some of the world’s most expensive players, Mourinho still had the chance but he was a bit disorganised.

A couple of things went wrong for Mourinho.

One of them was that he never had a nucleus team. No team can win anything without having a nucleus. Jose Mourinho did not establish a starting 11 under the 2017-2018 season. This is very bad for a coach. Mourinho should have had a good idea of his starting 11 for the league, for the champions league and for the league cup.

There are always injury concerns that affect the stability of a team. In the absence of injury you still need to establish a nucleus for every competition you play.

In one outstanding game, Mourinho’s Manchester United defeated Liverpool and with the way he had played the season, he could have used the same team to dismiss Sevilla.

But Mourinho decided to change the team. It is not as if l am contradicting myself but since Mourinho’s team was not a steady one he could have used the momentum of the Liverpoool game to dismiss Sevilla. But Mourinho more or less threw the game away at Old Trafford.

In the next season Mourinho needs to make a better plan and take the risks with the players he has. Build a nucleus of players for each competition and stop the excessive rotation of players after every game. For the premier league especially, he needs a team of 11 and a balanced group of replacements on the bench. You can’t win the premier league with unsteady selections.

The other problem with Mourinho is that he spent a lot of time planning the technicalities for the big games and doing nothing for the small games. It was the small games that sank Manchester United in the 2017/18 season. Hudderfield, Newcastle and other smaller teams stole victories from Manchester United. Some get draws! The worst was the lose to West Brom who were already hopeless.

Jose Mourinho, you cannot win the premier league when you lose to teams facing relegation. Mourinho and Manchester United must spend as much time and energy on the big games as the small games. They all count.

Another sensitve issue in Manchester United is the team ego. The team has many big players who want to hold down certain positions in the team. Mourinho must have this sorted out during the pre-season and in training. A player should not come on or off the pitch grumbling or unhappy. As l player l need to know where and how l fit in the the coach’s plan and do my job on the pitch.

I was following Mourinho at Chelsea, at Madrid, a bit at Inter. He has down a full cycle and is now at Manchester United. What Mourinho needs to do better is not complete without talking about his defensive style. He needs to be more ruthless and Manchester United really needs to train about how the players can work more for the team than for self-glory. When you attack, the players need to look for one another in order to maximise their advantages.

Often Manchester United fall deep in own half instead of finishing up a game they are poised to win. If you have a better team you need to show it more in attacking and less in counter attack.

Jose, now you know that someone is following you first and the team second.

Good luck to you next season and l will be watching you and the style you bring.

By the way, victory or no victory, l get inspiration from you as a coach and as a school teacher l adapt some of what l see in what l do but l try not to change too many things so that my students don’t get confused. Teachers always stick to the plan!

 

aderounmu@gmal.com

 

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Nigeria And The 2018 World Cup

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Nigeria And The 2018 World Cup

By Adeola Aderounmu

I have just watched the first match of the 2018 world cup, Russia 2018 with the host country white-washing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with 5-0. Some people were already questioning the qualification/eligibility of Saudi Arabia based on their poor performance.

It was a victory that the Russians needed to stamp their authority as the host of the competition. Afterall Korea went all the way to the semifinal when she hosted the competition albeit getting all the help in the world from the FIFA referees along the way.

Anyway l want to spend the little time l have now on the Super Eagles of Nigeria, their NIKE shirt maker and the friendlies they lost.

ONCE again Nigeria is one of the hopes of the continent of Africa.  The good news is that Nigeria lost her 2 friendly matches in a run up to the world cup. A 1-2 lose to England was the first wake up call. It was good news because Nigerians now know that their hopes should not be beyond the abilities or the capabilities of the boys representing them at Russia 2018. If Nigeria crashes out in the group stages, there will be no serious hypertension.

In fact l wished the health authorities in Nigeria can sound a note of warning about the health implications of getting too emotional about this worldcup. I learnt my lessons far back in USA 1994 during my last year at the University of Lagos.

We were African champions and we were the 4th best team in the world. That team had the potentials to be the world champion. All is history now.

When the Super Eagles match out in this tournament, they will face Croatia, a very technical team, Iceland, a team that sent England home at Euro 2016 and Argentina, a familiar foe.

The Super Eagles are parading the youngest team at the tournament but the players are full of experience. Mikel Obi and Victor Moses will team up with Onazi and Iwobi to lead the team to glory (if they choose glory).

The boys should not be carried away by the colours or admiration of their jerseys. NIKE is smiling to the bank despite doing a very useless job on the provision of the national wears. NIKE is asking me for a feedback on the way my questions have been answered concerning the messy work they did with the national team jersey and its availability globally. This will be my feedback, a blog entry.

If you go to leading football stores/ websites around the world, you can buy the national team jerseys of the world best teams and national teams. But you cannot buy the original of that of Nigeria at the retail price before and after June 1 2018. In my opinion, this is a very useless development. If the world loves the super eagles jersey, it was the responsibility of NIKE to see to it that the world gets it.

But no, they can produce any amount they like and they can decide not to produce more when the stock that was released on June 1 ran out globally after 20 minutes.

What does NIKE care about the feelings of Nigeria? Absolutely nothing!

NIKE has no respect for Nigerians and the supporters of Nigeria football if that means that whe whole world support Nigeria.

Today l can still buy the national team jerseys of leading football clubs in the world, but not that of Nigeria that just even drop her position in FIFA’s ranking.

I know NIKE tried to explain it but it is not acceptable. The reasons fell flat.

You don’t prepare for rain by waiting for the rain to start. I learnt that before l was 8 years old.

Money they made, yes. They also opened the market for fake products from China to Ibadan. Good for those in that line of business. But the responsibility of making the products available wherever and whenever was damn bad.  I will leave it like that though l have more to say about it.

For the games, Nigeria must watch out for the ICELANDERS. They are formidable and they will punish any team for the slightest mistake. That is their greatest strength. They lay low and allow you to make a mistake and that is it. Their second strength is in set-pieces. They don’t like to waste them.

So Nigeria cannot go to sleep for one minute playing a wise team like Iceland.

For Croatia and Argentina, Nigerians just need to hold up their heads and remember that they play week-in and week-out at the same levels with these players in different leagues in Europé. They are the same people and should not be given the kind of respect that will make the Nigerian team look inferior. Just do it! Isn’t that what NIKE wants whether we the supporters get the jersey or not?

I am going to sit back and watch as many matches as l can. I hope the referees don’t make me switch off my tv with some useless decisions. These happened in many games before and FIFA need to stop influencing results. The corruption in FIFA must not be brought to the field of play or to gambling companies.

Some of us just want to relax and see the beautiful game. A part of us is attached to our country’s team and the other part just want to be part of the greatest sport event on planet earth.

 

aderounmu@gmail.com