01 December 2017

Mou, Man U, and Malignant Narcissism (oh, and Mkhitaryan, too).

José, José, José. Poor little Mou-Mou. No matter how much those sugar-daddies spend, it's never quite enough, is it? How can one be expected to contend for silverware after only having spent—what was it? Oh, yes—£148 million to improve a squad that was already worth more than the GDP of 42 actual countries.This is part of a disturbing trend on Mourinho's part, but this is not yet another post on the oiligarchies that have infected football or of the financial steroids that certain clubs are on. Instead, we're here to look at something much more personal than that. We're here to peer into Mourinho's soul. Bring your antibacterial, kids; this could get messy.

Now, we all know about and are probably tired of the comparisons between Mourinho and Wenger, with Mourinho cast as  the cynical, win-at-all-costs mercenary and Wenger as the pure paladin, devoted to his principles to the end. That's not what we're on about today. We're investigating Mourinho the man (such as it is). What makes him tick? Why is he so driven yet so cautious? The armchair diagnosis? Malignant narcisssism, which consists of the following symptoms:
poor self-identity, inability to appreciate others, entitlement, lack of authenticity, need for control, intolerance of the views or opinions of others, emotional detachment, grandiosity, lack of awareness or concern regarding the impact of their behavior, minimal emotional reciprocity, and a desperate need for the approval and positive attention of others.
Sound like anyone we know? Long story short, Mr. Mourinho exhibits most if not all of these symptoms, and, as a result, all of us should pause for a moment to perform the requisite rites of sympathy. After all, who among us is guilty of pouring too much of his or her emotional satisfactions into the on-pitch performances of a group of perfect strangers, most of whom we will never meet, much less get to know on any meaningful level?

Then again, José has all the time and money in the world invested in getting to know those players on a meaningful level. Instead of managing that time and money, sadly, it seems that he all too often resorts to petty mind-games based on the symptoms of malignant narcissism. Those who fail to genuflect are made an example of: Torres. Casillas. Mata. Schürrle. Should we add to this list Henrikh Mkhitaryan, he of the £37.8m transfer in July 2016? Of him, Mourinho had this to say:

I was not happy with his last performances. I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that, step by step, he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goal scoring and assists, high pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a No.10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough because the others worked to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that.
Fair enough. If a player is not producing, well, what choice does a manage have but to drop him? Then again, to so publicly denounce Mkhitaryan suggests that Mourinho suffers from a certain psychological shortcoming, one that can only be sated by inflicting suffering on others. If he's dissatisfied with Mkhitaryan, it's only a matter of time before Mourinho turns the passive-aggressive screws on other ne'er-do-wells...
Jokes apart, he works amazingly well for the team and I will never, never blame a player like him for the easy chance that he missed.
That would be Mourinho laughing off Lukaku, he of the £76.2m transfer fee, for his choice of shoes. Harmless, right? Who could possibly read subtexts into a phrase like "the easy chance that he missed"? Look at it from Mourinho's point of view. Sometimes, there's such a thing as having "too many attackers" when you're facing such sides as Brighton & Hove. How can a manager be expected to properly park a bus when he's got Mata, Ibrahimovic, Lukaku, Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, and Fellaini, among others, all of them defying orders by daring to create chances or—gasp!—score goals?

Get the smelling salts and the fainting couch, Minerva; I do declare that I've got the vapors!

It seems abundantly clear that we have on our hands a man—and, yes, I do use that term generously—who is deeply in need of some kind of therapeutic intervention. On one hand, he will be satisfied with nothing less than total victory. On the other, he will only tolerate the total, complete, and utter avoidance of anything that might expose him to failure.

He needs help. It is by now obvious that no amount of silverware, no matter how crassly rented or bought, will bring this man satiety. He is a remorseless, amoral facsimile of a man. Does this mean that Arsenal should let the baby have his bottle? Quite the contrary. One way to vaccinate against this vile disorder is with a strong, stern dose of tough love. It is only through suffering that the patient will eventually come to realise the error of his ways.

In other words, for Man U to suffer defeat on Saturday would be deeply therapeutic, even cathartic, to the patient. It is therefore a moral obligation, then, that Arsenal win. We owe Mou nothing less.