One Down, Three To Go For Mourinho’s Manchester United

Posted: February 27, 2017 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Opinion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Alright, it may be asking a bit much to expect this team to win the Premier League. They will also need to play considerably better against Chelsea in the FA Cup than they did against Southampton in the EFL Cup, where they proved that it is possible for the better team to lose.

Take Zlatan Ibrahimovic out of that EFL final team, give Southampton back the goal that was wrongly disallowed and the trophy would be heading to St. Marys, not Old Trafford.

It has been said, usually during the title race, that if you can win whilst not playing well then that is the sign of champions. Not true. In fact, if a team is not playing well they are unlikely to win many games and certainly nowhere near enough to win a league title.

It can happen, however, in a one-off cup game and that is exactly what happened in the EFL Cup final. United were awful, Southampton were, in the main, excellent but José Mourinho has instilled the winning mentality back into the United players and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba in the team they always have a chance.

If they play this badly against Chelsea in the FA Cup then they will be out. Chelsea won’t defend as badly as Southampton did and won’t give United the amount of opportunities they enjoyed against Southampton.

If they play this badly against Rostov in the Europa League then they will also probably be out of that competition as well.

Thankfully, if he can pinpoint the reason for it, it is unlikely that José Mourinho will allow another performance like that one where even he said that Southampton were the better team.

A two-legged tie against Rostov gives United the perfect opportunity to progress in the Europa League which, if they can win the tournament, will mean automatic qualification for next season’s Champion’s League.

Automatic qualification can also be achieved by finishing third or higher in the Premier League and that is not yet entirely out of reach. With Liverpool and Tottenham both showing inconsistencies and both having relatively shallow squads there is a chance. Also, this may be the first year in forever that Arsenal miss out on a top four place due to their current inadequacies.

It is a sad indictment of the so-called “Champion’s” League that it gives reason for celebration when a club finishes fourth in it’s domestic league.

The FA Cup doesn’t really represent anything other than a major trophy in the cabinet and Europa League qualification but it is always a welcome addition and winning it is just as prestigious as ever.

As we said earlier, United won’t win the Premier League title but they can still get into the top three so hope should not yet be abandoned and the reality is that they have, at the moment, two opportunities to qualify for the Champion’s League. They have to take one of them.

José Mourinho is looking for “two or three” new players in the next transfer window. It is always easier to persuade new players to sign if they can be offered Champion’s League football because, for some anyway, the challenge is more the motivation than is the money.

Let’s hope that challenge is there next season.

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