All is not well between Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and the club’s star player Paul Pogba.
To be fair, we could’ve written that sentence at any point in the past few months, but this week has seen the digital straw break the Portuguese camel’s back. The reported reason? An Instagram Stories video posted by Pogba that showed the World Cup winner, Luke Shaw and Andrea Pereira laughing and joking in an Old Trafford box as their teammates crashed out of the Carabao Cup in an embarrassing home defeat to Derby.
While the record signing’s near 30 million followers would’ve enjoyed it, one man clearly did not. It led to this awkward exchange in training the following morning:
JUST IN! ?
Frosty footage just in from @ManUtd's training session between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho… ❄️
What has been said between the pair this morning? ? pic.twitter.com/nRiTEgDJlH
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 26, 2018
Watching that makes your skin crawl a little, doesn’t it?
Mourinho has a mixed history with Instagram – he signed up to the platform when he was confirmed as the shiny new United manager back in 2016, only to deactivate it this summer claiming he was “bored” with it. That shows he doesn’t have a problem with himself or others using the platform, but he clearly has an issue with the content his players post.
So what would a Mourinho-approved player Instagram account actually look like? We’ve done some personality research to find out…
There’d be weekly videos taken at the local bus garage
Ideally these would be filmed after the final training session before each game. Each video would also focus on one specific theme: how the drivers manage to get such large, expensively assembled objects to come to a stop in a very specific area.
Something tells us that would get one hell of a like from Jose.
Selfies must exclusively be of a morose nature
Although we’ve done no actual research, our instincts tell us the ratio of miserable Mourinho pictures to happy ones must be somewhere in the region of 99:1. Ergo, the player’s account should reflect that. Any instances of exuberance or expressions of happiness simply cannot be tolerated, given Mourinho’s logic that if you’re not miserable, you’re not caring about the team. In short, all smiles are banned.
Those annoying trick maths questions would keep popping up
You know the ones we mean: where the question is “What is 2+2?” and for some reason all the comments say random numbers ranging from 7 to 452 with your smartarse mate showing his working out too. Annoying, aren’t they?
Fortunately for Jose, he’s a fan of manipulating numbers, so he’ll relish seeing those pop up.
The only food pictures posted must be from Nando’s
You can barely move on Instagram for people sharing photos of their dinner, but on this policed account only one genre makes the cut: good ol’ fashioned peri-peri chicken. Naturally, banging the drum for those Portuguese inspired flavours will massage Mourinho’s ego and love for his home country. Handily, given footballers’ inherent love for all things Nando’s, this is actually a pretty easy one to adhere to.
It’d need to have funny videos of people messing around in hotels
At approximately 830 days and counting, it’s been quite a epic hotel stay in Manchester for Jose Mourinho – utterly smashing the previous world record held by a certain Alan Partridge. There’s only so much thumb twiddling, childish room orders and “accidental” viewing of the, ahem, specialist channels you can do in that time until your stay gets boring.
So if Jose’s going to scroll through his charges’ newsfeeds, he could do with enjoying some hotel high-jinx.
After two years, the account will all start to go wrong
With the knowledge of the right sort of content to post to impress their manager, the ideal player’s account will thrive in its first two years. Albeit very dull, it gets enough love and even a couple of awards during this time.
But as the account enters its difficult third year, things all start going Pete Tong: the quality of vision goes and photos become blurry; captions descend into random passive aggressive rants littered with typos; and the fans start to turn on the account, peppering the comments with abuse before unfollowing the page altogether. Finally, the suits at Instagram decide to put you out of your misery and throw you off the platform for generally being an arsehole.
It’s what Jose would want, after all.