In our Week 5 Premier League recap we talked about whether José Mourinho’s magic spell has already been broken. Usually Mou operates on a three-season cycle, peaking with some major trophies before burning too many bridges and having enough of a dip in form where the cost/benefit math turns against him.
But the start of Mourinho’s tenure with Manchester United has hit a rocky patch. The Red Devils have lost three consecutive games in all competitions, including a very surprising 3-1 loss at Watford last weekend. It’s made their EFL Cup match against League One outfit Northampton Town have slightly higher stakes than it might otherwise have.
Meanwhile, Mourinho did what he always does when things go south: blame literallyanyone otherthan himself.
But is it possible that Mou can already see the writing on the wall? Last night a handful of tabloids ran a fairly curious story— the Manchester United manager hasn’t bothered to settle in the city.
Mourinho is still staying at a hotel, roughly four months after his appointment. While his wife and children continue living at their house in London, the United manager has remained at the Lowry Hotel, a luxury hotel in Manchester’s City Centre. Since coming to Old Trafford he’s made due with living out of his suitcase. You’d be tempted to call his adopted lifestyle minimalist were it not for how swanky his accommodations are.
The reasonable speculation is that this is mostly a practical consideration given what’s going on with the Mourinho family. His eldest daughter, 19-year-old Matilde, is pursuing a career in fashion design, which makes leaving London a no-go for her. And his 16-year-old son José Jr. is a youth goalkeeper with Fulham. It would make sense for the family to decide that pulling up sticks and heading to Manchester doesn’t work for everyone, and that dad heading up north by himself is the Least Bad Option.
But, of course, there’s another way to interpret this. Maybe Mou isn’t feeling particularly bullish about his tenure with United, and suspects the inevitable Mutual Consenting might come sooner rather than later. Maybe he just doesn’t want to bother putting down roots in a city that’s just going to run him out on a rail by the end of the season.
Or maybe he saw that Pep Guardiola bought an apartment in downtown Manchester and decided he’d rather not risk running into his fiercest rival at Starbucks.
Again, this probably isn’t a big deal and finding a decent place to live that works for your lifestyle and your family is tough even when you have money. But we’re all used to not taking things with Mourinho at face value. So who knows.
Meanwhile, training for that EFL Cup tie seems to be going well!