Mourinho seems to enjoy life as a pundit but is edging toward Madrid

Jose Mourinho
seems to be enjoying himself as a broadcast commentator but his spells at the microphone look more and more like pit stops on his way back to Real Madrid
That rumour mill started grinding the minute after he was shown the door at Old Trafford. This week has brought more distinct pointers in that direction.
So the Special One can hardly blame us for suspecting this might have been the idea all along.
In that, Paul Scholes and to a certain extent Gary Neville have come round to my way of thinking.
Even before Mourinho got the traditional Christmas sack, this column pondered whether he was looking for a way out of Old Trafford.
Since the Special One was sent packing, those two Manchester United legends have voiced similar opinions.
Scholes expressed the view that Mourinho had deliberately 'engineered' his exit. Neville said the writing was on the Stretford End wall as long ago as last summer, when Mourinho moaned about a shortage of major signings and began criticising the expensive players already in his squad.
All this, of course, was followed by the morose media conferences after constipated team performances and the spectacular bust-ups with stars like Paul Pogba.
All part of the grand design? Scholes became convinced that was the agenda when Mourinho picked a fight with Antonio Valencia, who he describes as 'the nicest man in the world with whom it is impossible to fall out.' 
Neville had previously criticised the United board for not backing Mourinho in the transfer market.
But whoever was most to blame when the blow came - if blow it really was - it was cushioned by the £15million reportedly due to Mourinho by virtue of signing a contract extension last year.
Any embarrassment was short-lived, fading as it has amidst speculation that Real see Mourinho as their saviour come the end of a season which was already crumbling into the Spanish dust beneath Barcelona's feet.
Maybe Scholes, Neville and myself are wrong but on the side of the tracks we come from there is a phrase for it: Working your ticket.
Events under emergency manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - not just the succession of victories but the restoration of United's style - have done nothing to dispel the impression that Mourinho had been functioning well below his best.
However could a manager as talented and dynamic not galvanise a similar response from players of such quality? Perhaps this is just the way he is. 
Mourinho has always been at his most special as an impact manager, his most effective in the first two seasons at a new club before all the drama wears thin in the dressing room.
Tellingly, even at Porto where he began accumulating his large collection of national and European trophies, he has always moved on within three years.
That has applied not only at United and Chelsea, as well as in Portugal and Italy, but in a first spell at Real. 
Hence, down at the Bernabeu, they are fully aware that a sudden burst of Mourinho might kick them back on track... even if he does then fall victim yet again to third-season syndrome.
The stage is being set with Real trailing Barca by 10 points in La Liga. Even if they hold on to their European crown, which looks most unlikely with Cristiano Ronaldo gone to Juventus, embattled president Florentino Perez is expected to reinstate the Special One at the end of the season.
Who knows? Maybe that ticket was stamped some time ago, even as his United team were falling out with themselves and each other.

No comments found