When Jose Mourinho arrived at Manchester United, I saw a match made in heaven.
A born winner, I thought he would learn and grow in the Old Trafford hot seat, become more smiley and a better politician.
But I was wrong.
I see that he just can’t help himself with the snarling and the surliness.
And right now there isn’t a poorer fit of manager and club in the Premier League, arguably not anywhere in Europe.
That is the reason United didn’t get the big-name central defender they were chasing on deadline day and not, as some have suggested, because they have lost their fizz or their cachet.
The fact they brought in Paul Pogba two years ago for a world-record fee shows the clout they still have.
And even if they’d finished eighth, ninth or 10th the year before, as a player, you would still sign for them.
United and Liverpool are the only clubs in England you could say that about because none of the others can offer a player the chance to become a club legend in the same way they can.
You get the opportunity to make yourself a global superstar on the same stage as Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Kenny Dalglish, Ian Rush and Steven Gerrard.
But I just don’t believe players look at Mourinho these days and think, “Yes, I’m desperate to play for him”.
If there was a choice of managers, I’d want to play for – in terms of the privilege of playing for them – it would be Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp, for starters.
Then it would be people like Slavisa Jokanovic and Nuno Espirito Santos.
And even some of the managers lower down I’d rather work with because I’d know I was going to have a happier time as an individual and as a player than I would under Mourinho.
As a player, it all boils down to whether or not you are enjoying your football and your experience – your enjoyment is one of the reasons you play well.
Frank Clark got the best out of me at Nottingham Forest because he let me get away with little things and didn’t come for me all guns blazing, and he knew how to keep me happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I like managers who do come at you and aren’t afraid to say, “You were bang out of order today, that wasn’t acceptable”.
But at the moment I can imagine United’s players in the changing room every morning saying, “He’s been a right, erm, plonker again on TV… who is he going to turn on next?”
Luke Shaw cost loads of dough, Anthony Martial was the same, and Pogba too.
So, with the greatest of respect to Toby Alderweireld, Harry Maguire, Diego Godin or Jerome Boateng, they probably weren’t banging down the door to move to United because they were thinking, “After six games, if things aren’t going well, this fella isn’t going to have a problem throwing me under the bus if he was happy to do it with them”.
That sort of mentality breeds fear, particularly at a club like United.
And if you’re afraid to go out and express yourself because the gaffer might ball you out, it can be hell on earth, with 75,000 in the stadium and 500million-odd worldwide, if figures are to be believed.
The best managers at the biggest clubs all have a great ability to make their players feel a million dollars.
Sir Alex Ferguson was a master at it, even though he could cut players down as well. Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane were the same.
Zidane would be perfect for United – he has done it on and off the pitch, he smiles, he can put an arm round you and he can dig you out as well.
Mourinho, on the other hand, is the one manager who has not been able to get his dressing room fully onside with smiles and laughter at arguably the two biggest clubs in the world in Real Madrid and United.
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