JOSE MOURINHO’S sacking at Manchester United was not a shock. When you have got a £90million player on the bench in Paul Pogba and you bring on Marouane Fellaini ahead of him, you are not going to survive.
Although for Mourinho, a £24 million pay-out is a nice little bonus at Christmas. No wonder he was shopping in Harrods this week. His wife will be getting a good present this Christmas..
I said on air that if United got battered at Liverpool on Sunday, that would be it for Mourinho and that was the case.
The club had to make a change, although I am surprised that they have brought Ole Gunnar Solskjær in as caretaker manager for the rest of the season.
In one of my past columns, people will recall I spoke about Steve Bruce being the perfect candidate to come in as a caretaker at Old Trafford and that is who I thought they should have gone for – a former player who knew the club and had plenty of experience in the management game. I should get on the board there!
For Manchester United to borrow a manager from another club in Molde is a strange one. I cannot get my head around it.
Although for Mourinho, a £24 million pay-out is a nice little bonus at Christmas. No wonder he was shopping in Harrods this week. His wife will be getting a good present this Christmas..Darren Gough
United are underachieving and have high-quality players. There should be no excuses and I would expect a big improvement. All Solskjær has to do is get Pogba in the right position for a start.
Pogba has a point to prove now and if he has any future at United, we are going to find out in the next three games.
You look at Mourinho and only have to look at the way he came out in pre-season and the way he acted about the defence to realise that he did not want any of them.
Although he brought a few of them in Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly, but it just did not work for him. I also think it is obvious that he felt Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were squad players.
Everyone is now having their say on Mourinho and calling him a managerial ‘dinosaur’. But I am still not having that; he has been linked with a return to Real Madrid. So he is not a dinosaur.
The problem he does have is that with the way football is being played now, if you do not play in the style of a Pochettino, Klopp or Guardiola these days, you are going to get slaughtered.
Look at Tony Pulis. All of a sudden, people are also saying he’s a dinosaur again because Middlesbrough are going on a bad run and fans are saying: ‘get rid of him’.
The problem you have got if you are a fan of a team who play pragmatic football is that your team has got to keep winning. If it is not winning games, you are not ultimately going to survive.
Boro have the best Championship defence in conceding 16 goals in 22 games. But they have only scored 24 goals whereas West Brom have scored 46.
Looking at the Champions League draw, Manchester City have got a straightforward tie in Schalke, it is the dream one for them, although they deserved it, having finished top of their group. That is what happens.
Paris Saint-Germain against United is a brilliant tie. Under Mourinho, it would have been a hard draw for PSG. But with the new manager, it will be interesting how United play against them.
United fans want an open style of football and Solskjær will do that. But his record at Molde shows he has conceded 230 goals in 180 games; a ridiculous amount in a poor league. Factor in United’s defence, which needs strengthening and is poor too.
So unless he gets the forwards playing better than Mourinho, it is going to be the same old story.
For me, the best tie of all is Tottenham versus Borussia Dortmund. It is an even game and both teams are playing fast-paced attacking football. Spurs are on a roll again, although Dortmund are top of the Bundesliga.
I think Liverpool’s tie with Bayern Munich is slightly in their favour as Bayern are not playing so well and are third in the Bundesliga, six points behind Dortmund.
Liverpool are flying and against United on Sunday, it could have been 7-1. They were just brilliant.
I know Liverpool are a slightly different proposition, but in the season that Leicester won the league, everyone kept saying: ‘they will not hang on, someone will catch them’. But they did.
Once you get in front and start playing confident, aggressive football and scoring goals, you are hard to stop.
The big one for Liverpool is the game at Manchester City on January 3. If they get through that, I think they will be hard to beat.