Analysis : Jose Mourinho’s key challenges at Manchester United this season

This will be Jose Mourinho's third season at Old Trafford.


It seems all is not well with Jose Mourinho. The Manchester United manager is yet to make a mark at the Old Trafford and the upcoming season could be a make or break season for him. United haven’t been quite active in the transfer market like the other English heavyweights as they have only roped in Diego Dalot, Fred and veteran custodian Lee Grant.

On pen and paper it would seem the Red Devils have a very strong squad when it comes to challenging their City rivals Manchester City but with competition growing day by day the mood needs to be lifted up. There has been serious concern from the fans regarding United’s stance in the summer transfer window and it remains to be seen how Mourinho deals with transfers as there is a very little time left to negotiate player arrivals.

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Last season United had the perfect opportunity to give Manchester City a run for their money but somehow things didn’t shape up the way Mourinho would have thought as City ran away with the title. Mourinho’s strategy earned him sheer criticisms as fans were outraged watching their beloved club struggling on the pitch.

This issue is still there and United’s approach in the new season needs some urgent stimulation. There are a number of attacking players with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata at Mourinho’s disposal and he should mold the players in a new way which would be far more entertaining.

The winter arrival of Alexis Sanchez had the supporters dancing to his tunes but the Chilean international didn’t live up to the expectations. The gaffer is pinning his hopes on Sanchez again as the player had a long break following Chile’s absence from the recently concluding World Cup. The former Barcelona player would be the centre of attraction when the season starts and he needs to get it going once the ball rolls up.

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Paul Pogba had a wonderful World Cup and was one of the standout players of the tournament. France went on to clinch the World Cup and Pogba’s contribution was in the thick of things. But in United colours, the Frenchman never looked that player what he is used to be barring a number of games.

Mourinho’s foremost priority should be to unlock Pogba and to provide him with more freedom. Pogba often had to exercise his defensive attributes last season despite Nemanja Matic’s presence and the arrival of Fred could be the perfect opportunity to unleash talismanic midfielder. The 25 year old can create havoc in the opponent ranks on his day but he needs to be consistent with his performance at this level.

The most important thing which could resurrect United’s season is Mourinho’s approach to his players. United dominated the Premier League from 1990-2013 but the cash-rich owners of Chelsea and Manchester City started to share the spoils. When the Portuguese arrived in England he created an enigma through his elegant presence but he seems to be a changed man nowadays.

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Moreover, his way of handling his players has been criticised. The likes of Anthony Martial and Eric Bailly have not been used more often and they should play a pivotal role if United are to compete with other title contenders. Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard have big boots to fill and one can expect some more fireworks from them on a regular basis.

It will be the gaffer’s third season at the helm of the Red Devils and all eyes will be on Jose Mourinho as he prepares to restore the rich legacy of the club.