Manchester United Need To Finish In The Top Two Next Season, (Ronaldo Or No Ronaldo)

Posted: June 20, 2017 in Chelsea, European Football, Football, Jose Mourinho, Manchester United, Opinion
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This is not to say that José Mourinho would be sacked if he finished third although he might be on a bit of a tightrope if fourth was the best he could do, even though it would be an improvement on this year’s finish.

Obviously winning the Premier League would excuse any slip-ups in any other competition but, the lower the finish, then the better he has to do in the Champion’s League and the FA Cup.

Mourinho was clever last season in that, towards the end, he prioritised the Europa League which, as we all know, ended with Champion’s League qualification. By prioritising that competition he achieved three objectives. Firstly, he won a competition with United that no other manager had ever won. Secondly he could say, quite rightly, that he qualified for the Champion’s League by being a champion, unlike the clubs finishing second, third and fourth in the Premier League. Finally, he took all the pressure off his players for the final few league games of the season as their finishing position became, to an extent, irrelevant.

Next season will be different. Winning the ‘B’ competitions both domestically and in Europe is an excellent start to a managerial career with any club, let alone Manchester United. It is also laudable for the fact that no other Manchester United manager had won a trophy in his first season in charge.

But next time out, the bar needs to be raised. In Europe it will happen automatically because the competition is higher. The EFL Cup can still be targeted but it should be targeted along with the FA Cup or as a secondary option. Last season saw the ‘B’ competitions as United’s only chance of silverware. Next season, hopefully, that will all change.

The signing of Victor Lindelof will address shortcomings in a defence which, in fairness, Mourinho had managed to turn into quite a mean outfit. Smalling still looked like a baby giraffe learning to walk but, if the rumours are true, he won’t be there next season. We can only hope that the rumours are true! The rest performed admirably and with Rojo, Jones, Bailly and Lindelof to choose from, the centre backs should be even better.

Goals were a problem last season and only Zlatan managed to find the net regularly. This also needs to change. More goals are needed from midfield although Pogba might argue that if the framework had been two inches wider and two inches higher he would have finished the season comfortably on double figures.

Whatever is going to happen with Ibrahimović, United need another striker. Ed Woodward, having signed Lindelof in only two transfer windows, appears to be back to his old dithering self. If reports can be believed then personal terms with Alvaro Morata have all been agreed and only the fee needs to be negotiated with Real Madrid. This, however, has been the case for nearly three weeks! How long does it take to make an offer, have it refused, then make another offer. Negotiations should very quickly reach the stage where they are either concluded or abandoned.

If the situation with Cristiano Ronaldo is muddying the waters then don’t let it. Do the deal for Morata, then go back for Ronaldo if that is what is required. The chances are that he will remain a Madrid player anyway and all of this is an attempt to have Madrid pay his tax bill and massage his ego at the same time.

Manchester United finished last season with the intention of doing better next season. They weren’t considering Ronaldo as part of their team at that stage so they have to continue planning with that same consideration. If he is genuinely available then buy him but if, as we suspect, he isn’t, then just carry on as normal.

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