Mourinho played dangerous game against Man Utd board – and came out on losing side

Mourinho played dangerous game against Man Utd board – and came out on losing side

Blame Paul Pogba. Blame the whole squad. Blame the club structure. Blame the silent supporters.

Find the boardroom cat and blame it. But according to Jose Mourinho, don’t blame Jose Mourinho.

Well, I do. There may be a few other lesser causes for this season’s struggles but Mourinho must be accused of losing his way at Old Trafford if, indeed, he ever quite found it.

Now heavy words are already being aimed at Woodward, as they were bound to be.

Perhaps somewhere at some time he took a shaky step. We all do, those of us in the boardroom who take ultimate responsibility.

I know I’ve had plenty. I mean, engineering a move to a 60,000-seater stadium, slap in the middle of London, our prime area, helping our community in any number of ways, having the cheapest tickets in the Premier League and doing so at a cost that must turn Spurs chairman Daniel Levy green with envy makes me a target for some social media smarties who don’t know a good thing from a kick in the breaches.

Being a woman doesn’t help either.

Woodward isn’t that, of course. But I know him to be utterly devoted to the Manchester United cause.

Being responsible for one of the most famous clubs in the world is as lonely a job as there is in football and it has not helped that the six Glazer siblings measure success as an investment probably more than they do in achievements.

They appear happy for Woodward to do all the spadework. However, while their 47-year-old point man did the actual sacking it would be fair to say that when Mourinho praised Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday for everything that United weren’t, he had in effect sacked himself.

He had also declared unilaterally that his team were in crisis.

It isn’t Woodward’s doing. He doesn’t take training, pick the players, decide team strategy, and agree to a raft of transfers of the calibre of Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez, neither of whom met Mourinho’s approval and were omitted from a number of recent matches.

In appointing Mourinho, physics-graduate-turned-accountant Woodward chose the best available candidate with easily the most impressive record and can only have been confident he would outperform the two managers who had tried to fill the unfillable boots of Sir Alex Ferguson.

It was a choice millions of United supporters liked. Being kingmaker is almost as hard as being king.

No, Mourinho was largely to blame for his own demise. His behaviour hinted that he was an uncomfortable fit at Old Trafford.

A pampered semi-recluse, he lived in a hotel and for some while I felt he acted like a sour and frustrated prince without roots in the city’s culture.

His failures will not harm him too much, not with a £24million pay-off to sustain him.

Do you remember Mourinho, the self-titled Special One, labelling Arsene Wenger, then of Arsenal, “a specialist in failure”?

Now his target might reply with a line from Bob Dylan, “How does it feel?” Wenger built plenty in 22 years in north London.

Mourinho, once the architect of great teams, wasted 30 months and much of £400m in transfer fees at Old Trafford.

Woodward did his best in an increasingly failing relationship.

While Ole Gunnar Solksjaer stands in for the rest of the season, he will be looking for a youngish leader with fresh ideas and someone respected by players and supporters alike.

Gareth Southgate could be ideal but he has an even bigger role in English football at the moment.

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