Radiohead. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Great bands yes. But the reason for their greatness was not only their instinctive talent. They also had longevity. And that’s because they evolved with the times. They didn’t stick with one formula and allow their sound to date or their popularity to wane.
Instead they had their fingers on the pulse of modern music and constantly involved. Constant evolution equals success.
Why can’t Manchester United’s José Mourinho do the same thing? He’s been a great manager of course with 20 major trophies in his time as a head coach. But he seems so proud and egotistical that he can’t now admit that the tactics which brought him so much success are outdated.
Very few top clubs use a big number nine anymore and Manchester United have an average one in Romelu Lukaku. Perhaps if United had Harry Kane up top then Mourinho could wring a little more success out of this old fashioned football concept.
But they don’t and José Mourinho is way too proud to drop Lukaku which is going to be a big problem for Manchester United moving forward. Because a man with an ego this size is not going to admit that he spent 75m on a player who is part of the current problem.
If Manchester United are to compete with the best in Europe and play attractive football they need to look at Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona.
Barcelona and the best teams in England have a variety of talents up top but they’re all lightning fast and technically brilliant. None of these clubs has an old-fashioned target man because it’s not effective against top defences any more. What defenders hate in the modern game is fast, skilful forwards who are difficult to pick up. It’s hardly difficult to mark Lukaku in terms of his movement and opponents know that Jose will ask his players to find the Belgian with the ball more often than not.
But there appears little sign that the stubborn Portuguese is about to change his ways. After the FA Cup final he alluded to the awful Marouane Fellaini and Lukaku as the players his team missed the most.
The Manchester United managers greatness is at stake here. Will he go down as a true legend of the game or will he be remembered as an egomaniac who wasn’t able to adapt his style when football was so patently changing around him.
Next season is going to be critical not just for Manchester United but for the career of José Mourinho.