Ireland legend suspects Jose Mourinho has "lost the plot"
John Aldridge believes Jose Mourinho has “lost the plot” and doesn’t know how to turn around his fortunes after 12 months that has seen him fall from grace in dramatic fashion.
Mourinho has got himself in hot water with the Football Association on two occasions during his first few months as Manchester United manager, while he is also struggling to find a winning formula at Old Trafford despite a huge summer of spending that saw the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic join the club.
Last Thursday's Europa League defeat against Fenerbahce was the latest hammer blow to Mourinho's United story and while Aldridge suggests it is too early to write off his hopes of bringing success to United, he suspects he has lost the aura that was built up over his years of winning major trophies.
“Mourinho needs to learn a few quick lessons because he is looking increasingly like a manager who is losing touch with what brought him his success,” Aldridge told us.
“He doesn’t look happy in his job. I think he has lost a bit of the confidence that was so important to him as he won everywhere he went.
"He looks like a manager who has run out of ideas at this moment. He has lost the plot.
“I still think it is way too early to say Mourinho is finished, but it looked like a long shot for them to win the Premier League as they are already eight points behind and they have some tough games coming up.”
Aldridge also hit out at Mourinho’s criticism of Chelsea manager Antonio Conte after United’s 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last month, as he suggested the claims spouted by the former Blues boss were laced with hypocrisy.
“Mourinho made a fool of himself when he had a pop at Chelsea boss Antonio Conte after his side’s 4-0 hammering at Chelsea,” he added.
“For Mourinho to suggest Conte had shown him a lack of respect as he tried to get the Chelsea fans singing towards the end of the game at Stamford Bridge was the biggest joke I have seen in the game for many years.
“Conte was only trying to get the home supporters to raise the noise levels at a stadium that I have often said has an atmosphere akin to a museum. Those supporters are on mute mode for most of the game and even when their side were 4-0 up against Man Utd, they couldn’t be bothered to sing. They are just pathetic.
“Mourinho himself moaned about Chelsea fans being silent during his time at the club so he should have sympathised with Conte’s view and instead he picked a fight that highlighted his shameful double standards.
“This confrontational manager has been the biggest wind-up merchant on the touchline the game has ever seen and there he was lecturing Conte on how to behave? Do me a favour.
“Liverpool fans remember his ridiculously over-the-top celebrations when his Chelsea side won at Anfield as the Reds were closing in on the Premier League title back in 2014 and that was just one of the incidents that have marred Mourinho’s story.
"What about his charge down the touchline when his FC Porto side beat Man Utd back in 2004? And his run around the pitch after his Inter Milan team beat Barcelona in 2010? I don’t think either of those were showing great respect to the opposition.
“Well, it was pretty clear that someone had a word in Mourinho’s ear in the days following his embarrassing chat with Conte because his attitude was transformed when Man City game to Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
“Mourinho used his programme notes to apologise to United fans for their humiliating defeat at Chelsea and then he was all smiles and unusually polite towards his old foe Pep Guardiola on the touchline.
“A firm reminder had clearly been sent out to Mourinho stating that he was at a big club now and he couldn’t disrespect the badge now on his blazer. He needs to wake up to that reality quickly.”