Did José Mourinho Underestimate The Size Of The Rebuilding Job At Manchester United?

Posted: February 22, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Jose Mourinho, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Louis van Gaal – The only United manager as boring as Dave Sexton and Frank O’Farrell, although Moyes came close!

When José Mourinho breezed into Manchester it was, for all but the most cynical of United fans, like a breath of fresh air.

The days of David Moyes promising that the team would try to be as good as City and making Liverpool favourites to win a league game at Old Trafford were a distant memory.

The days of Louis van Gaal sitting rigidly in his seat rather than encouraging his team from the sidelines while they sent the crowd to sleep with mind-numbingly boring football were also consigned to the history books.

Mourinho was here! The “Special One” was now the Manchester United manager having been anything but special in his final season at Stamford Bridge, from where he had been sacked with Chelsea in 16th position in the league.

One of the first items on his agenda appeared to be to rid the club of some of the signings on which the previous manager had spent around £250 million.

Over the course of the next few months out went Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Another signing who has never really impressed has been Matteo Darmian, while Luke Shaw is still striving to become a regular in the first team.

Marcos Rojo has been unlucky with injuries whilst Sergio Romero was never going to be the number one goalkeeper as long as David De Gea is at the club.

Radamel Garcia

Falcao – May have flourished under José Mourinho

Ironically, two signings made by van Gaal who may have flourished under Mourinho were both shown the door before he arrived. Angel Di Maria went to PSG complaining of being played out of position and then dropped by the Dutchman and Radamel Falcao returned to Monaco after his season-long loan produced nothing but a stiff back from warming the bench.

So Mourinho set about bringing in HIS players. Eric Bailly arrived from Villareal closely followed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund. Then Paul Pogba was bought from Juventus and he was followed by Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matić and Alexis Sánchez.

Mourinho had made his mark. Or so we thought.

His first season finish of sixth in the Premier League was more than compensated for by the winning of the Carabao Cup and the Europa League, the latter of which was accompanied by Champion’s League qualification.

He is now approaching the final stage of his second season and the team don’t appear to have greatly improved. They sit in second place in the Premier League which IS an improvement on last season but that position will only bring another qualification for the Champion’s League so the reward is no greater, other than financially.

They are out of the Carabao Cup, having lost to Bristol City in the quarter-finals, and it is unlikely that they will win the Champion’s League.

So the only realistic trophy this season would be the FA Cup and, with a favourable home draw in the quarter final, they should progress to the semis.

Would one trophy and a second place finish, (neither of which are guaranteed at present), be seen as an improvement on last season? Probably not and that being the case Mourinho will undoubtedly be splashing the cash again in the summer as he tries to bring his defence up to scratch and find another midfielder to play with Matić and Pogba.


Pep Guardiola – Winning the battle of Manchester at present?

It will irk Mourinho that, for the first time in his career he has failed to win the title in his second season at a club. It will also irk him that his nemesis, Pep Guardiola, has been the one to prevent him from doing so, especially when the City boss also had a career-first last season when he ended up trophy-less.

So the Special One, for his own peace of mind and the fans eternal gratitude, will need to win the title in his third season at United. Doing so would be the first time he has achieved the feat, mainly because he is usually gone from the club by the time the third season comes around and this, therefore, would represent a little piece of history far more satisfying to his ego than continuously winning in his second season.

Having grasped, reasonably quickly, that rebuilding the Manchester United team was not going to be an easy or speedy task, he seems to have decided on what he needs and is, at present anyway, showing signs of wanting to stick around and get on with the job.

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