Radio phone-ins were surely made for fanatical football fans spitting hyperbole. And on Sunday, José Mourinho’s drab record against rival teams saw one supporter label his Manchester United team a “rich West Brom.”
Dialing in to BBC Radio Five Live, presented by Kelly Cates and joined by former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, the United fan was clearly irritated after seeing his team fall to a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
After the game, Mourinho’s record away to top six rivals was highlighted. Since January 2015, while still at Chelsea, the Portuguese coach had overseen six defeats and five draws in the big games on the road.
“Mourinho has played 10 times against the top six: Five 0-0 draws, six defeats, and you know what we are at the end of the day, Kelly and Ian? We’re just a rich West Brom. That’s all we are. We’re playing boring, horrific football,” the caller said.
“We are a rich West Brom. When we are struggling, we bring on a tree in [Marouane] Fellaini and lump it forwards and hope for the best. We're not going anywhere.”
The comparison to West Brom taps into the widely held belief that Tony Pulis, the club’s manager, plays a negative style of football that is far from pleasing to the eye. He is viewed as a safe pair of hands, but don’t expect to be thrilled.
Unlike Pulis and West Brom, however, Mourinho was able to spend around £150 million (about $197 million) to strengthen his United squad this summer.
The caller added: “Where are we going with this team? We’re paying thousands of pounds to watch our team and we’re passing it backwards. We know what’s going to happen, it’s going to be 0-0 after 20 minutes.”
Take a look here:
The statistics get even worse for Mourinho as at both Chelsea and Manchester United his teams have scored just once in the last nine of those games; Wayne Rooney scored a 71st-minute goal at White Hart Lane in May when Tottenham was already 2-0 ahead.
But the coach insisted he had little concern. “I don’t know the number, I don’t know the quality. I was on the bench following the game and not counting. I think we had chances,” Mourinho said.
“If I remember, [Nemanja] Matić's header in the face of [Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut] Courtois. If I remember, [Romelu] Lukaku's shot in the first half, and if I remember in the last part of the game, [Marcus] Rashford's shot and Courtois without any chance. The cross to the far post to Fellaini with the chest and the volley, and the consequence of that. We had lots of chances to score a goal.”
Just a rich West Brom? Mourinho would disagree.