Didier Deschamps’ France winning the World Cup with a template straight out of Jose Mourinho’s tactical book might not be such a great thing for the Portuguese as he tries to win the Premier League title for Manchester United.
Over the years the tactics or style of the World Cup winning teams have tended to affect football tactics in the following seasons and years.
France were probably the worst to watch World Cup winners for me since Brazi’s win in 1994. Those of you reaching for stats to come at me can reach for your devices and play Candy Crush or some other game.
Football is entertainment. Entertainment and winning trophies are not mutually exclusive as many would like to shout down our throats.
Football has changed in the Premier League especially in the approach expected of big teams from when Mourinho arrived in the summer of 2004 at then New Rich Chelsea. However, it seems like the Portuguese wants to apply the same tactics that won him back to back titles then, now at Manchester United.
The big target man/centre forward, the powerful, physical and athletic midfield and wide forwards who have to be just as good defensively. Nothing wrong with this template but the whole league is now different from that time.
But he won the league in 2014. Same template and it unravelled for him quickly the very next season.
Sir Alex Ferguson had to change as the game changed while at United. The Scot was a man welded to his wingers/wide men. He believed in two multi-dimensional players in central midfield and 2 strikers – one of which “dropped in” once in a while during the match.
As the game changed so did he. By the time he built his third all conquering team at United he had gone to a fluid front 3. To make these changes happen he got rid of Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy and brought in Louis Saha.
The current United squad is top heavy on physicality and athleticism but really short on gifted ball manipulators (as well as Jesse Lingard does, he is not in the class of some elsewhere) but that is a Mourinho template. In his last title winning season at Chelsea he had Eden Hazard none like the Belgian at United now.
There is always this feeling I get when watching United over the last 3 seasons (including this infant season) that, offensively, they are playing it by the ear. I could not understand the rationale for wanting to get Alexis Sanchez nor for bending over backwards to keep Marouane Fellaini.
“He was excellent the other week stopping Burnley’s aerial threat” some of you will shout. If a club the size of Manchester United needs a footballer as limited on the deck as Fellaini to beat a battle weary Burnley then they have more problems than reported.
Nothing in the summer – with regards to the supposed transfer targets – showed that Mourinho wanted a shift in his style so it means it could be a long season. Man City have the two Silvas and Kevin de Bruyne, Liverpool front 3 can do it all, Spurs have Christian Eriksen, the South Korean, Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura with Erik Lamela to join when fit, Chelsea have added Mateo Kovacic to a squad that already has Hazard, Willian and Ross Barkley.
Deschamps and France can get away with being obdurate and playing on the counter over 7 matches – 4 of them knock-outs – but it could be a lot harder over 38 matches these days.
If Mourinho is able to win the Premier League title for United this season then he will be “The One Out Of The Bottle” as he described himself that summer of 2004 when he first arrived in England.