Jose Mourinho set to ring in the changes at Manchester United this season
“What will he be this time ?”,”The Special One ?”,”The Chosen One ?”, or “The Happy One ?” These were the questions most commonly discussed in anticipation of the first official press conference of the most difficult stint of arguably the best manager of this generation. Of course, there will be critics who point out that Pep Guardiola is the better manager, or probably Sir Alex Ferguson. But let’s withhold that discussion for some other time. Coming back to his unveiling. Jose Mourinho stated his intentions pretty clearly, which was to win, Not to qualify for the Champions League.
He was definitely disappointed that he would be in the Europa League this season, but he wouldn’t let that happen again. And this is why Manchester United needed him. Since Sir Alex’s departure, the major thing that has changed at Old Trafford is not the availability of European Football or Fear Factor or the so-called ‘Philosophy’, It’s the aim, the desire, the goal.
They are no longer targeting titles, instead are very much satisfied with a top-four finish. Many would say that it is down to the lack of talent or depth in the squad. But didn’t Sir Alex have the same group of players when he won the Premier League twice in three years? Didn’t Mourinho do the unthinkable by winning the Treble with Inter Milan whose squad was not among the best ones in Italy, let alone Europe?
He did the same with FC Porto. The thing common among these cited instances is the desire to achieve, to win, which has been quite evidently absent from the Red Devil’s dressing room. Jose, along with the likes of Zlatan, would bring back that desire which would solve half of the problem.
Youth team still an issue for Mourinho
When questioned about youngsters, he quite arrogantly put forward a document stating that in his time at all the clubs, he has collectively brought up 49 academy players. Following that, he reasoned out that it’s easy to push youngsters forward when one is not competing for major honours, which for him was never the case. This doesn’t mean that the likes of Marcus Rashford and Tim Fosu-Mensah wouldn’t get a chance. It just means that they would have to perform or at least convince Mourinho that they can play at the big stage, which they have already shown.
So, if you are a United fan, do not expect the line-up to be filled with academy graduates, but he sure would incorporate them into his plans. This is the price one has to pay if they have to win. To be blunt, youngsters won’t win you league and European titles. This is something the management and Ed Woodward very well know, and that is why they have brought Jose.
He also laid out his plans for the players and transfers. His inclination towards specialists could spell the end of the likes of Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo. Also, Wayne Rooney would not be playing in the midfield, which is not a good news for him in reference to his well-documented struggles in more attacking positions. So Wayne, has his work cut out as far as competing with Zlatan, Martial and Rashford is concerned. But given Mou’s liking towards him, it is safe to say that he would be taken care of.
Signings galore for United
Mourinho, along with Woodward, had set his sights on a “nucleus” of four players covering the required inadequacies in the squad. Two have been signed. Eric Bailey at Center Back, Zlatan as a Forward. Mkhitaryan is on his way, according to Borussia Dortmund CEO Watzke.
The question is who is the fourth. If reports are to be believed, he is none other than the once prodigal son, Paul Pogba. That surely would be a fairytale, and that too worth a fortune. Assuming United are successful in signing him, how would they line up?
Given Jose’s inclination to protect his back four, it would be a safe bet that his united would line up as a 4-2-3-1. The pairing of Chris Smalling-Eric Bailey could be a one to look forward to, with Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian as the full-backs. The double pivot in front of them should ideally have Morgan Schneiderlin and Pogba. It could turn out to be a very good pairing with the physicality and guile of Morgan coupled with the talent and artistry of Pogba. With Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the final puzzle in the attacking cog, Rooney and Martial would provide the needed creative support behind Zlatan.
There is no denying that this side does have the potential to be a champion team. But only time will tell how things pan out. To round things up, he presented his views on Giggs and stated that Ryan wanted the managerial post and nothing else. To be fair, Giggs must gather requisite lower level managerial experience before he can be entrusted with such a massive job.
So, all in all, we can expect the same Mourinho we are used to, with his pragmatic approach, tactical nous and adaptability and huge loads of shenanigans and digs at his rivals. This season is sure to be a delight for fans with Mourinho-Guardiola rivalry the icing on the proverbial cake. If you are a United fan, sit tight because we are going in for a hell of a ride!