The Kop’s impassioned—and we’re certain not at all sarcastic—chants of Don’t Sack Mourinho as the minutes of Sunday’s match ticked away turned out in the end to not be enough. José Mourinho is gone. The Special One is no longer manager at Manchester United.
And while, perhaps, Liverpool fans would have hoped the struggling manager could have found a way to continue on at their rivals forever, that he can’t and won’t is easier news to take given his own personal history with the Reds and that they were the ones that got him fired.
From his days at Chelsea when he battled Rafa Benitez through a second stint with the Blues and denying Liverpool’s then-best title challenge and then on to joining up with the Reds’ most successful domestic rivals, Mourinho has always been the anti-Liverpool manager.
His aggressive personal tone and obsession with investing in the brightest, shiniest, most expensive attacking toys only to saddle them with a dull and dreary and defensive gameplan. He was easy to make a villain. Especially when it was clear he didn’t much like your club in return.
So Liverpool fans were quick to enjoy his third-season misery at United. And they enjoyed United’s misery at having third-season José Mourinho leading a club that looked a dysfunctional mess from front to back and top to bottom—both on and off the football pitch.
But good things, in the end, can never last. The good news now, though, at least for fans of Liverpool and United’s other rivals for the top four, is that the mess that extended beyond and above and all around Mourinho at United remains even if he has been removed from the picture.
Getting United back on track will take time, and whichever caretaker manager—something necessary if reports their long-term target is Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino are accurate—is brought in until the end of the season will not be the one who solves their problem.
And if next summer they do get their first choice of Pochettino in to belatedly replace Mourinho, and even if he does manage to make United better over the long run, that in turn will at least have dealt a major blow to another Liverpool top four rival, Tottenham, in the process.
Given how the situation had devolved it might have been nice to have seen Mourinho stay at United forever, but there’s still plenty to be happy about today. After all, Liverpool in the end were the ones that got him sacked and his departure doesn’t fix United’s mess.