Manchester United manager José Mourinho hit a new low on Sunday when his reaction to a Paul Pogba yellow card saw him sent to the stands for the second time in a month.
Previously hailed as a master of the dark arts, Mourinho has drawn condemnation from players and pundits alike for his recent behaviour.
Former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann has been among the most outspoken in his criticism of the Portuguese manager. Speaking to Paddy Power, he said: “It was a brave call (for Chelsea) to get rid of Mourinho, but it was the right call as his behaviour at the club left them with no choice.”
Hamann also accused the 53-year-old of making everything about him and forgetting that football was a team sport.
While the ex-Germany international may have a point, his comments are a far cry from the general perception of Mourinho when all was going well on the pitch.
In January 2015, The Daily Mail quoted one-time Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair as having said: “José is a master of mind games, and the one thing he likes to have within his group is a siege mentality. He has always been like that and gets his group of players behind him, and makes sure they are all pushing in the right direction.”
If Premier League title races were decided by siege mentalities, then Mourinho’s United would be far out of sight at the summit of the table.
His behaviour has not changed one bit since he made unsubstantiated allegations that Swedish referee Anders Frisk allowed then Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard to enter his dressing room at half-time of their 2005 clash with Chelsea.
All that is new is that he is no longer winning football matches – and now, fans, players, and pundits are beginning to ask questions.
Perhaps we as the football community were too quick to assume that Mourinho’s bizzare outbursts were all part of a carefully calculated strategy.
A two-time Champions League winner, he has many qualities that could help turn Manchester United’s season around. However, his knack for irking officials is certainly not among them.