Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho generally gives off the vibe of a grumpy man. The manager’s surly demeanor has gotten him into hot water at times, and he’s not one to often shoulder much blame. The Red Devils have enjoyed a largely successful campaign to this point, but they are in danger of falling behind Liverpool for second in the league after a relatively shaky run of recent form.
Mourinho believes the lack of atmosphere at Old Trafford has hindered his team’s play this season. After a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town earlier this month, Mourinho said that Old Trafford was “a quiet stadium.” The team’s brass apparently took the comments to heart, as Jose Mourinho reportedly met with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to discuss his problems with the home crowd.
Woodward reportedly offered the chance for Mourinho to clear the air and vent about what he feels is a problem. Mourinho even reportedly went so far as to ask for a report on the history of atmosphere issues at the stadium, and asked members of his coaching staff to discuss potential solutions with supporters in the city.
In spite of the relatively docile home crowds, United are still second in the Premier League on 59 points, two clear of Liverpool. Catching Manchester City (72 points) isn’t going to happen at this late stage of the season, so Mourinho’s men will have to focus their attention on staying in the top-four while also attempting to advance in Champions League. United’s odds of earning a spot in next season’s CL remain in excellent shape.
Mourinho reportedly loves the support his club gets during away matches, but he also feels like the home crowd needs to be more vocal in support. Late last year, the Portuguese manager turned down a chance to meet with some of the clubs supporters in order to clarify his comments.
He did agree to stop his criticism in December, only to reopen the debate with his aforementioned comments after the Huddersfield win.
One support group has urged United’s ownership to expand the stadium in order to put more seats in. The group wants to remove executive seats from the Stretford End in order to have more real fans sitting together. The club agreed to let United fans sit in the L Stand – which is normally reserved for away fans – during the team’s FA Cup quarterfinal match against Brighton in March.
The support group believes altering the seating arrangement would go a long way toward helping improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford.
Mourinho and the Red Devils will travel to London to take on relegation candidates Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday. United will then host Liverpool in a huge match the following weekend, with the second leg of their Champions League clash against Sevilla to follow. United and Sevilla played to a scoreless draw in Spain earlier this month, and the English side will have a golden opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals with a win in the home tie.