Premier League: Why Man Utd fans should be thrilled with Mourinho after 2-2 draw with Chelsea

Mourino and Manchester United show they are willing to fight and graft.

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Premier League: Why Man Utd fans should be thrilled with Mourinho after 2-2 draw with Chelsea

The legend of Mourinho, at least on English shores, began with his first press conference at Stamford Bridge when he walked in and proclaimed he was the Special One. If there was a manager born for the Premier League stage, where thespian qualities and charisma were just as important as footballing knowhow, it was Mourinho.

Since then he has a had a love-hate relationship with the British press, with one commentator even comparing him to the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe, and the Chelsea fans, who keep asking him to f*** off, despite the fact that he has won them three league titles.

And in the same place, where he created his legend, Mourinho reiterated that he was not, to borrow a phrase from Dylan Thomas, going to go gently into that good night. At least not as Manchester United manager. 

On Saturday, in a high-octane encounter against Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea, Manchester United showed that they still have the desire to fight, one that they appeared to have lost in the post-Fergie years.

Mourinho, who had promised to be on his best behaviour, managed to keep his insouciant proclivities bottled for the better part of 96 minutes before he exploded in white-hot rage as Stamford Bridge descended into chaos, the kind we witnessed in the aftermath of the UFC fight between Connor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Mourinho was seconds away from a famous win at his old stomping ground before Ross Barkley equalised and he was mercilessly mocked by Sarri’s assistant Marco Ianni. Despite his numerous faults, it probably wasn’t Mourinho’s fault and Ianni’s celebration, inside the Manchester United manager’s technical area should necessitate action from the Premier League’s governing body.

Despite, not winning though, Mourinho, the Manchester United faithful, the higher-ups and even legends who have savaged the manager like Paul Scholes, will be thrilled by the players’ reaction to going a goal down.

Chelsea began the game on a much better note, even though the goal came from a horrible mistake from Paul Pogba who was caught actively napping during a set-piece to allow Rudiger to score in the first half with a thumping header.

After a disappointing first half, the game exploded as Anthony Martial thumped home from close range after a few moments of penalty-box pinball.

 All this happened with Marcos Alonso lay motionless in the penalty area ostensibly injured, even though it didn’t appear to hamper his movement in the game later on.

Martial, who has been vilified during his time at United – despite scoring 40 goals since his debut in 2015 - scored another sumptuous goal after David Luiz decided to show Pogba that falling asleep on the field wasn’t his exclusive right as he meandered and allowed Juan Mata to pass him. Mata found Martial who buried it nonchalantly to give Manchester United hope that they could end their dismal winless run at Stamford Bridge (the last time they won here was Oct 2012).

At that moment, the sun seemed to be shining again for Jose, as he even gave Martial – who he reportedly wanted out – an avuncular slap on the back for chasing down an opponent.

The happy after-glow lasted till the 96th minute when David Luiz’s header came back off the woodwork before substitute Barkley fired home to spark the chaotic scenes on the touchline.

After the match, Mourinho felt the urge to remind the Chelsea fans slagging him that he had won the title thrice for them holding up his fingers to indicate the No.3.

He also threw light on the ballyhoo with Sarri’s assistant Ianni had apologised and that he had accepted it admitting, “I am not annoyed with anything. What happened was with Sarri’s assistant, and Sarri came to me and said he would resolve the problem internally.

Then Sarri’s assistant came to me in Sarri’s office and apologised, and I said if you really feel that way and want to apologise, of course, I accept it, and forget it because I have made lots of mistakes in my career and I’m not going to kill you because of one. It is over, he apologised, and I accepted it!”

Of course, Mourinho who infuriated Sir Alex Ferguson with a touchline slide of his own at Old Trafford after Porto beat Manchester United knows a thing or two about frenzied goal celebrations or as he calls them mistakes.

Despite all the cloudy doom and gloom at Old Trafford, this Manchester United team is looking much more willing to fight and look unrecognisable team that was thumped by West Ham United the last time they were in London.

What’s evident, amply clear is that Mourinho is not going to go away quietly. He might as well be fired, he may not ever match the heights or help regain Manchester United their lost stature, but sure as hell isn’t going to try and give up. If and when he leaves Manchester United it won’t be to gently into the night, but while raging against the dying light.

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