Premier League: The Man United mockery is a hideous exaggeration

Jose Mourinho is being depicted as making the same mistakes at Man Utd as in his final six months at Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is being depicted as making the same mistakes at Man United as in his final six months at Chelsea

Neither Man United nor Jose Mourinho should be dismissed owing to defeat at Watford, insists Michael Lintorn...


"Man United have won five of their 13 Premier League titles, including three of the latest six, from weaker week-five positions than they currently find themselves in, much as Man City slumped to fourth, 15 points behind the Foxes, after an identically faultless start to this 12 months ago."

So Manchester United are finished as a top-level force and Jose Mourinho is no longer an elite manager - indeed don't you know that he's nothing more than the Portuguese Louis van Gaal.

That at least has been the reaction to a dismal week in which they followed a 2-1 home Manchester derby reverse with a 1-0 Europa League defeat to Feyenoord and a 3-1 loss at Watford. The apocalyptic stats were instantly laid out: it was Mourinho's first trio of setbacks since 2002 and the club's first Vicarage Road beating in 30 years.

However, such criticisms would be a lot easier to take seriously if they didn't come a fortnight after the Portuguese tactician was credited with accelerating the Red Devils recovery after three wretched seasons, achieving four accomplished victories in a row over Leicester, Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull.

Just as the positivity was premature and exaggerated then, the negativity is now. Was it such a disaster to lose 2-1 to the Manchester City side who have won every match in every competition, averaging over three goals per game in the other top-flight contests?

Was it really a humiliation to go down 1-0 to flawless Eredivisie leaders Feyenoord with a rotated team in a tournament that they barely care about? And was a 3-1 flop at Watford - being felled in the final eight minutes - really any worse than what befell Liverpool at Burnley or Leicester at Hull?

Of course not, but such is the desire to ridicule them as failures that three results which would each be assessed as acceptable aberrations in isolation are instead being bundled together as portents of doom.

Leicester had a mere three points more than Mourinho's men possess now two fixtures deeper into last term's triumph. Man United have won five of their 13 Premier League titles, including three of the latest six, from weaker week-five positions than they currently find themselves in, much as Man City slumped to fourth, 15 points behind the Foxes, after an identically faultless start to this 12 months ago.

Will Wayne Rooney and company claim the club's 21st English top-tier championship in 2016/17? Probably not, yet there certainly isn't enough evidence to justify their rapid winner betting drift from 3.9 to 16.5, let alone the gleefully overstated media declarations of their demise.

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