The long-awaited third season syndrome has begun to startle around as Jose Mourinho begins his quest for the Premier League title. The Manchester United boss hasn’t had an easy journey so far as he often hogs the limelight for the wrong reason.
Last season was a progressive one although United’s slow and steady approach earned their fair share of criticism. They gave a very little joy to the eyes but Mourinho’s style appeared to be fruitful as United netted more goals and conceded very fewer goals with a comparatively weaker defensive setup.
Manchester City’s domination in the Premier League didn’t allow United much space as the Red Devils finished second to have their best finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla was very hard to digest but there were a number of positives from which the gaffer can really put to some use.
The arrival of Fred will offer some much-needed depth to the United midfield which has been missing for some time. Fred’s incisive vision and his knack and ability to move the ball forward could be a game changer as it could lift the mood at the Theatre of Dreams.
Much had been written over the unsettling and uncomfortable situation between Paul Pogba and the manager but Mourinho has refuted all the claims, “The truth is we have been together for two years, and a couple of weeks, and I’ve never been so happy with him as I am now. That’s the truth. I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him.”
He further added, “He’s very polite, he’s very educated, he never had a fight with me. We never had a warm or hard, I don’t know how you like to say, exchange of words. Everything is respected. I have no problems at all.”
Pogba is yet to justify the mammoth fee that United paid Juventus to bring him back to the Old Trafford and after two seasons the club hierarchy feels tie has come for the French World Cup winner to show his worth. The 25-year-old has been the base of creativity for the Red Devils and once again the onus will be on him to deliver but this time on a consistent basis.
The defence did look impressive last season but had it not been David De Gea the results could have been worse. Mourinho deployed Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in the heart of the defence and it seems Mourinho’s failure to bring a defender would be a blessing in disguise for them. Also, Luke Shaw’s return to life should help Mourinho to plug the leaky defence and bring stability to the team.
It would take a bit of fairytale for Mourinho to beat knock City off their perch. So a second placed finish with an attractive brand of football would do enough for Mourinho to restore his lost pride. Simultaneously a place in the Champions League should leave enough reason to rejoice for the United supporters.
Overall it could be a defining season for both United and Mourinho and it remains to be seen how the season fares for them.