So looking at what's happened so far, do these look like the same players from just a few weeks before under the 3rd season ticking porcupine that was José? No - it's no wonder though, because José always gave the impression and spoke as though our players are useless. Again, bar the central defense, that's just untrue.
IMO the manager himself with his self destructive tendencies eroded the confidence in the team. I don't think they downed tools personally. I think they were unhappy and completely bereft of confidence. I saw a lot of the players toil away in many games, but it looked like hard, tedious work, and nobody wanted to be there. If 3/4 years ago you were told we would have Martial, Rashford, Sanchez, Pogba, Mata, Lukaku in the same team, you would have thought it would make a lethal team, suddenly José comes along this season and sells to everyone that they overachieved to come even second. He convinced most that everyone - the board, the actual generation, the players, the fan expectations, everything apart from him were the problem. After matching just about everyone for squad investment in the last few years, could they really have been that poor?
It's easy to sit and blame the players for hanging him out to dry, but anyone who has worked for anyone, or managed any team knows that a happier, more motivated team performs a lot better and delivers better results. It's a fact of life, it doesn't mean they downed tools - there's an energy that pulls that extra out of people who buy in to, believe in, and enjoy what they're doing. If you spend time criticising everyone and declaring how great you are, you (in this case the manager) become the disruptor. In this case it was the manager.
There is only one GOLDEN BOY