Stats: Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal or David Moyes - Who had the best start at Manchester United?
The three managers have had mixed starts to the Premier League campaign in the past four seasons
As the second international break comes around, it may have come at the right time for Manchester United. A disappointing 1-1 draw with Stoke City, who are yet to win a game this season, saw the Red Devils fail to reel in their Premier League title rivals.
Jose Mourinho’s side are currently sixth in the table after seven games. 13 points from four wins and a draw sees the Old Trafford side have a similar record to Antonio Conte’s Chelsea has two of the traditional big four sides struggle to find consistency in the 2016/17 season.
While they could be excused as the squad comes to terms with a new philosophy and new tactics, on the other side of Manchester, Pep Guardiola’s City is top of the table with 18 points from six wins.
Mourinho did have the perfect start to the season and it all looked good after three seasons of mediocrity following the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. David Moyes and Louis van Gaal never lived up to expectations even though the Dutch boss won the FA Cup before he was sacked. Van Gaal’s philosophy had stifled United’s attack, once one of the most exciting attacking sides in England.
However, the perfect start to this season started to unravel following a defeat to Manchester City in the derby. Guardiola’s side had dominated the game and there was no question which Manchester side were better prepared for the season.
A midweek Europa League loss against Feyenoord and then a second EPL loss to Watford saw Mourinho criticised from both sides – the media and the club’s fans. Mourinho had even resorted to using the media to retaliate at ‘Einsteins who tried to delete his experience of 16 years and United’s history’.
Mourinho still trying to change United’s philosophy
A few games have seen United struggle to make headway in attack, though. And a number of fans have likened it to the football witnessed during the reign of Mourinho’s predecessor, Van Gaal. United are still looking to shake off the tag of playing “boring football” and fortunes soon changed when the out-of-form Wayne Rooney was finally dropped to the bench.
United suddenly looked more fluid when Rooney did not start, allowing new signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to thrive with some free-flowing football, evident in their 4-1 win over defending champions Leicester City. However, all is not well in the United camp and there were reports of a few players who were unhappy with being left out in every other game.
So how good has his start been compared to Van Gaal? It may come as a surprise that Van Gaal’s United had a better start in 2015/16. Last season saw United start brightly with crucial wins, especially over Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. They topped the table but soon faltered when they were beaten by Arsenal and Van Gaal’s side never recovered.
But Mourinho’s debut season still has a better start than Van Gaal’s first season at Old Trafford. However, both Mourinho and Van Gaal had better starts than Moyes’ stint at Old Trafford.
|After 7 matches (EPL)||Wins||Draws||Losses||Points|
|2014/15 (Van Gaal)||3||2||2||11|
|2015/16 (Van Gaal)||5||1||1||16|