LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Jose Mourinho, Manager of Chelsea looks on ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Chelsea FC and FC Porto at Stamford Bridge on December 9, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Examining the 8 Stages of Jose Mourinho's Third Season Collapses & Their Current Relevancy

As you may be aware of, we are currently in the midst of Jose Mourinho's third season at Manchester United. And, in case you need reminding, those haven't historically gone very well.


As a Chelsea fan I can attest to this, having experienced it first-hand on two occasions; one which was quick but painful, another that was prolonged into a fourth but was no less destructive.


Though, as Mourinho was quick to point out with his little finger - I'm guessing?!?! - the comeback win against Newcastle represented a deviation from this script, there have still been enough similarities to warrant speculation that the cycle is repeating. 


So, here is a handy guide to the eight stages of Mourinho's third season collapses, complete with a verdict on the relevance of each to Manchester United:

1. Success

For the third season to sufficiently spiral, the Portuguese tactician usually has to start from a place of success. His trophy haul from the five second seasons of his pre-Manchester United days reads: five League titles, two Champions Leagues and a domestic Cup.


That is an astonishing record, and naturally lifts expectations and excitement for the following year. But is also amounts to an exhausted squad which needs re-invigorating, as Mourinho is always quick to point out.


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 4/10 - His second season at Manchester United was the first time he went trophyless in such a period, so it's not that applicable. 


However, he did still garner second place in the Premier League, with a total which would've been enough to win it in two of the previous seven years - so it wasn't all doom and gloom. 

2. Demand High Profile Recruits to Bolster Squad

As many serial winners will tell you, the biggest requirement following success is fresh faces to create a renewed sense of competition and motivation. 


The 55-year-old is one of these winners, and will always request significant outlay for transfers to counteract any of the hangovers present in his existing crop. Naturally, this has had varied results over the years. Pedro and Luka Modric come to mind was two successful ventures, but were still nowhere near enough in the eyes of JM. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 7/10 - A plethora of players come to mind, mainly centre backs, including Toby Aldwerweireld, Diego Godin, Harry Maguire etc etc etc. 

3. Miss Out on Key Recruits

This is where the malaise begins - with the ones that get away. Think John Stones in 2015 with Chelsea or Steven Gerrard pretty much everywhere he went. 


There is always at least one big name that slips the net, sparking a Mou frenzy that signifies the beginning of the end. FYI - the effects of this can be amplified when you substitute a marquee signing for a preposterous loan deal for Radamel Falcao. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 9/10 - Massively relevant. Mourinho was desperate for a centre back all summer, but missed out on all of them, with the board apparently concerned with his propensity to scout defensive talent. 

4. Fall Out With the Powers That Be

After missing out on some key targets, there's only one thing you can blame - those bloody powers that be.


Now, no one would ever describe Mourinho as agreeable. He is definitely not an affable person, and seems wholly unwilling to compromise, so when he doesn't get his way - he snaps.


This usually translates into public haranguing of his superiors which, funnily enough, doesn't really work. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 8/10 - His relationship with Ed Woodward has never been that friendly, but this summer the fissures seemed to deepen beyond repair. 

5. Lose Games with Bad Football

After a perceived lack of backing in the summer, and several snide remarks about said failings, comes a drop in results. This is often precipitated by one dire, inexplicable loss to some woe-begotten lowly straggler at home. 


Think Crystal Palace in August 2015 or Getafe in 2012 - though the resulting decline wasn't quite as evident at Madrid, because the parameters for success are different, it sowed the seeds for his ensuing fallout. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 8/10 - Brighton away, anyone?

6. Fall Out With Key Player(s)

This is a classic Mourinho move.


The rifts have obviously been bubbling under the surface for some period of time, but were quelled by the success that was had as a result of his difficult, but rewarding methods. 


But as soon as these methods falter, the repercussions are instant. The players in question are almost always the most high profile players at the club, presumably the only ones willing to question the 'Special One'. At Real Madrid the dissenters included Iker Casillas, Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. 


At Chelsea it was presumed to be Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa - though Michael Emenalo would laeter cite a general and "palpable discord" within the squad. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 8/10 - The Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial shenanigans have been well documented. However, props to Mourinho for somehow keeping Luke Shaw onside despite everything he's done to undermine him. 

7. Turn on the Press

So often his ally and muse, and the medium through which he engineers all his ingenious mind games, even the media ultimately fall foul to Mourinho's stupor. 


In the Spanish capital, this materialised in the cornering of one journalist in order to find out which of his players had leaked information about the discontent in the dressing room. He also repeatedly grumbled about how much he loved the English media, and how they reciprocated this feeling. 


Red Devils Relevancy Rating: 8/10 - Admittedly, his relationship with the English media had already denigrated significantly by the time he arrived in Manchester, but he'd never quite sunk to the depths of the "Respect x3" rant.

8. Make the Situation Untenable

With all of these aforementioned factors now working against him, the pressure soon becomes insurmountable. Of course, the second spell at Chelsea was the best example of this, with the club languishing in 16th when the club finally pulled the plug. 


Though he wasn't sacked by Real, leaving by mutual consent three days after the end of the season, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion by the turn of that year. Indeed, you had the sense he would've preferred it to have been sooner, such were the divisions between him and almost everyone at the club.


Red Devils Relevancy Rating - N/A - At half time of the Newcastle game, you would've given this a solid 7/10. For all intents and purposes Mourinho looked a dead man walking. Then his players rose from the dead to mount a surprisingly entertaining fightback. Whether he can continue to defy mortality remains to be seen.