Burnley face Manchester United this weekend fresh off their Europa League exit to Olympiakos. Playing on Thursday nights is traditionally a struggle for English sides but sadly for Burnley they no longer need to worry about that. Although that and the United match are both home games at least it probably rules out a shock result at Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Clarets have often been a nightmare for visiting Premier League teams but where Manchester United are concerned it’s the trips to Old Trafford that have been most fruitful. Since promotion from the Championship Burnley have lost both home games – 1-0 and 2-0 respectively, but never disgraced. On their travels they earned a point from the goalless draw in 2016 and could have taken all three last season, dropping an early two goal lead to take another point at full time.
In different circumstances I would have liked to back Burnley but apart from finding the 4/1 a little skinny I’m hesitant for the reasons above. As a Manchester United fan I’d love them to take us apart and send Mourinho packing though. I thought Tottenham might do that job but United’s first half was better than we’ve been for a while. If Lukaku had scored the result may have been different and that’s bought Jose a bit more time with the board.
The Case Against Mourinho
I haven’t come to the conclusion that Mourinho should go recently, I never wanted him hired in the first place. I’m generally against the #ManagerOut kind of nonsense except for Wenger, that one was funny. There was a time I was scared Jose would go to Liverpool and end their league drought. That won’t be happening now and the Scousers are of course much better off as much as that pains me. If any club owner read the ‘Dark Side of Mourinho’ by Diego Torres they’d never go anywhere near him again. The plan of throwing the Champions League game v Barcelona to protect his reputation is a particular ‘highlight’.
There is currently a fight back against the Mourinho backlash which quite frankly I find astounding. It is proven that he alienates, humiliates and bullies his players as well as verbally and sometimes physically attacking the opposition. I can’t deny that he’s been a winner but for United that amounts to a Europa League bereft of any real opposition – compare 2016 to 2017 for evidence of that. We also have the League Cup versus Southampton which some would say we were lucky to win too. League position is largely irrelevant because it is again proven that the wage bill dictates that more than anything else. Of course Leicester are the exception but look this up and you’ll see that I’m right.
Harry Redknapp Exclusive on Jose Mourinho
From a transfer point of view he’s been backed to the hilt for the most part. If people say the defenders are terrible well he bought Bailly and Lindelof, why give him money to repeat those mistakes? For the record I like Bailly despite the last hiccup but Lindelof is struggling to put it mildly. As for the likes of Smalling, Jones, Rojo etc well they defended perfectly well under LVG. The football wasn’t great then but you can hardly say it’s better now. The worst football I’ve ever seen United play was under Mourinho v Watford two seasons ago. I’m old enough to remember Big Ron by the way so I’ve seen it all. Van Gaal should have got a third season in my view. Perhaps, having got things right at the back we would have become more potent as an attacking force again. We’ll never know now.
Finally Mourinho himself just looks miserable every time I see him and that has transmitted to the players too. Perhaps he’s realised that he’s not up to the job, he wouldn’t be the first. Maybe he’s coming to realise that his football ‘style’ is out of date now. But imagine the lift if Zidane suddenly came in, and the boost a player like Pogba would get too. He and others would be thriving under Pep at Man City and if we can keep them they might still under ZZ or even Pochettino (sorry Spurs fans). Technically Zidane is unproven despite his success at Real Madrid but if we end up losing games 4-3 but entertaining then I can cope with that. I genuinely couldn’t give a toss about silverware right now, I just want my old team back.