If Jose Mourinho is allowed to continue what must be called his rebuilding at Manchester United in the summer, it will be evidence, not of patience at Old Trafford, but of panic.
Since Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United have led a life of quiet desperation, coming to terms with the reality that one man’s authority, one man’s need for power and control, was what drove them towards enduring success.
In 2016, Jose Mourinho appeared to be the answer, but increasingly it seems that the idea of Jose Mourinho was the answer. The reality of Jose Mourinho has turned out to be something different.
Manchester United were not devoid of ideas against Sevilla on Tuesday, they were devoid of creative ideas. They had one big idea, the concept Mourinho has pared down to its most basic, a philosophy which is no less of a philosophy because it so often merely resembles fear.
But those who still believe in the manager insist that Mourinho needs time. Another transfer window where Ed Woodward can spend money on a collection of players that don’t seem to fit into any cohesive plan is seen as the next logical step.
Maybe they are right, maybe with time Mourinho will turn the current United team into the version of Manchester United some hope they can be. But if it happens, it will be unusual because, in Jose Mourinho’s world, it is the ordinary manager who needs time. Jose Mourinho has never needed time. In fact, time has always been his enemy.
Mourinho has always been able to…