Jose Mourinho refuses to be defined by Europa Final, but should he be?

Historically Manchester United win trophies. Historically Jose Mourinho wins trophies. Both have won almost every major honour possible to win in the game, but with competition growing in strength and perhaps the players at hand weakening, Mourinho has had to settle for what could be considered the lesser silverware this season as the league campaign fell off its rails somewhere around December. It’s been a season of rude awakenings at Old Trafford, and failure to overcome Ajax in the Europa League final may only serve to further the disappointment and pressure at the Manchester club.

The manager is remaining defiant in his typically bullish manner. Never one to show his hand publicly, Mourinho is quoted as saying the season would not be a failure should his side fail to triumph in Stockholm on May 24th, and it would be unfair to call it so should that be the outcome against the Dutch counterparts. Sky Sports News report him as saying;

“I think the media has the right to say [that] and it makes sense to say it.

“But I don’t feel like that. I don’t want the players to feel like that. I don’t think the board feels like that because we have worked very hard.

“I probably worked this season harder than ever. So for me personally, I don’t think that way.”

The work behind the scenes goes unnoticed as fans. We don’t get to see what happens on Carrington, hear what’s said in meetings and see what’s written on the tactics board pre-match. It’s a side of things we fans will never experience on a regular basis, and as such is irrelevant when it comes to judging whether a season was successful or not. For us, it’s what happens on the pitch for the 90 regulation minutes that matters, the points and position in the League table and the number of shiny, silver things held aloft by the captain in the finals. Mourinho may have worked hard for his substantial wage, but that’s what he is paid to do and failing to deliver a Europa League title on the back of a potential sixth place finish would be considered a failure.

This isn’t to say pressure should become so immense he is sacked – as most people will scream is the only option as this wouldn’t happen under Sir Alex Ferguson – as winning the EFL Cup and becoming the first manager to win a major honour in his first season remains something to shout about. But what missing out in the final would do is make things increasingly hard for Mourinho and the money-men behind the scenes to improve further on what’s been on show this season. No Champions League, no superstar signings.

People will bleat on about how much more important finishing above City and Liverpool is, when really so long as United are in the hat for something Champions League based there can be optimism taken from it all. The likes of Pogba and Ibrahimovic won’t sign if this isn’t the case, and soon the domino effect will take hold and things will become much worse. Not winning it would make the season a failure, but it hasn’t happened yet and already everyone is acting as though United are doomed. Let’s wait and see though, hey? Ajax are not a pushover, but it’s Manchester United and Jose Mourinho, both born to win trophies and both on the way to being an unstoppable force.


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