Jose Mourinho - Defining the new Manchester United Way
8 matches into the Premier League season, 20 points already in the account for Manchester United. Even though the last match against Liverpool didn't go to plan, it was more of a not to lose approach, to ensure they kept their impressive away form intact. Though the approach might not go down well with some of the fans, you need pragmatism in the big games to pick up vital points.
There have been mixed outings for United this season. The win against Southampton away and the draw at Anfield were about grit and determination. The big wins at home against Leicester City and West Ham United as well as on the away trip to Swansea was just about flamboyance and dismantling the opposition. So you can't really complain about a defensive approach, can you?
Long gone are the days where the Premier League was predictable. Even lesser known teams -- Leicester, for example -- know what it takes to get the better of the bigger teams and pick up points.
This evolution has led every team to go more for a conservative approach rather than playing champagne football. The lack of steel and determination in the mindset was a concern in the United roster. The lack of harmony in the squads and inappropriate recruitment made it a much-maligned squad to work with.
With the recruitment of Mourinho, the club moved in the right direction. The much said "winning mentality" has started to creep into the United squad. The team is learning to put themselves on the line and the sacrifice needed to get the result in their favour. This was highlighted by the Cup double of last season, even though United finished sixth in the league. The signings Mourinho made also helped his cause.
Zlatan was very important signing for him as his presence was felt by the whole United fan base as he scored 28 goals in his debut season and his charismatic personality along with winning habit helped the squad. His United season sadly ended prematurely when he suffered a serious knee injury during Europa League clash against Anderlecht, but having proven his fitness in the offseason, he earned a contract extension. This is exactly the virtue Jose has managed to imbue in his squad.
Take the example of Fellaini; he was a much-maligned figure at Old Trafford before Mourinho's arrival, but prior to his injury a week ago, he was an indispensable figure.
Paul Pogba's signing was a massive statement, but what Jose has managed to do well is manage the egos of the big-money signings. Despite opinions that he has been shackled by Mourinho's tactics, he continues to shine and it's easy to see what Jose has done; it's not about the player or his transfer fee, it's about how the team plays at the end of the day.
United have started the current campaign on a high with more than one free-scoring display, but the real test will arrive as the season progresses but the real acid test lies for this young squad in the big matches.
It's still early days and they have still a long way to go but, yeah we can expect big things from them this season and surely they have the right man to guide them towards that target.