Manchester United fans have never had a problem with being the most hated club in England. In fact, they’ve enjoyed this position, interpreting it as a clear sign of jealousy from other less successful clubs.
Of course, in recent years, their descent under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal turned United from a constant threat into the butt of many a joke. Even though United are still far short of expectations, Jose Mourinho has at least managed to swivel the club in the right direction since his appointment in the summer. During this period the hatred directed towards Manchester United has incrementally increased. But rather than being because of their dominance, it has instead been as a direct result of Mourinho’s repeated comments and whining.
It’s no surprise that Mourinho is once again drawing the ire of the rest of the Premier League. Not only did he revel in provoking such outrage from the British media with similar remarks during his two spells at Chelsea, but over the course of the season he has sarcastically referred to the football press as “geniuses” because of their criticism of United, hyperbolically defended Paul Pogba, criticised the FA for his suspension, while there’s also been the obligatory subtle dig at Arsene Wenger too.
In recent weeks Jose Mourinho’s comments have become more and more incessant. However, just like their Chelsea counterparts before them, Manchester United fans have hardly made a peep of complaint about them, as supporters recognised their intent and found comfort in the us-against-them mentality that it has reinforced.
Mourinho’s declarations and attitude have also helped to set him apart from his inferior counterparts, too. While David Moyes immediately seemed overwhelmed by the huge ship he was now at the helm of, Van Gaal’s brash demeanour was at odds with his team’s displays on the pitch. So much so that he just came off as annoying rather than a visionary. While there have been some teething problems, Mourinho has swaggered into Old Trafford like an outlaw. It also helps that his signings have each been a relative success, he became the first Manchester United manager to win a trophy in his first season, has made sure his side rightly takes the game to their opponent, and has overseen a prolonged Premier League unbeaten run that’s evoked memories of United under Sir Alex.
With Manchester United still down in fifth place, and far from certain of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, the bare minimum requirement, Mourinho knows the above is not enough, though. Plus, he’s still clearly not happy with his squad, aware they’re still in transition, and where exactly he needs to improve.
In the meantime, with his comments, Jose Mourinho is using the cult of his personality to cover these deficiencies and incite his players to the end of season, at which point he’ll look to do his bidding and hone the squad to his requirements. At that point he’ll be more inclined to let his team do the talking. Of course, he’ll still occasionally chime in, because we all know he just can’t resist. But if Manchester United are back in Premier League and Champions League contention, then the club and its supporters will be more than willing to let him waffle on.