It was a rough evening for Jose Mourinho, as his return to Stamford Bridge was marked by a 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United
The Special One must surely have arrived at Stamford Bridge with mixed feelings. The most successful manager of Chelsea during the Premier League era, Mourinho had built a legacy for himself at Stamford Bridge.
Yet there he was, amongst the enemy, amongst the red shirts, one of the others, not one of them anymore. This reunion was going to be emotional and difficult, but it turned out to be something even more than that. Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge was traumatic.
Chelsea smashed four goals past a hapless Manchester United. Players that he had berated last season for ‘betraying his work’ made short work of his great Man United project. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, the star duo that Mourinho bought in the summer, couldn’t be of any consequence during the game.
The result may have been humiliating, but it was not shocking. The Red Devils went into the game with just one victory in five Premier League games. They did enjoy success in mid-week, but in the Europa League against minnows Fenerbahce. After initial brilliance, Mourinho’s Manchester United project is yet to properly take off.
Mourinho has won wherever he has gone to manager. Whether in England, Italy or Spain, the Special One backed his oft criticized attitude with success on the pitch. This all changed last season, as his Chelsea side were almost dragged into the relegation zone.
Despite his history with the club and record of success, the Portuguese manager was unceremoniously sacked. His crash-landed ego could only take him to one destination, Manchester United.
However, it seems like a completely different Mourinho has arrived at Old Trafford. Where once he greeted interviewers with a smirk and pure panache, he now goes through interviews like a training routine. Mourinho rarely smiles and his quips are reserved to docile comments on ‘Einsteins.‘
The Portuguese manager seems like a shadow of his former self, and the results reflect a similar status. The 4-0 defeat was the heaviest that Mourinho has suffered in the Premier League.
Manchester United’s run of three defeats against Man City, Feyenoord and Watford was the first time Mourinho lost three in a row since 2002, 14 years ago.
The ghosts of last season seem to have possessed Mourinho. After years of being a standard bearer of success, he is on the verge of collapsing into the abyss he fell into last season. It remains to be seen if the Man United manager can exorcise his demons following this weekend’s haunting result.