What Will Jose Mourinho Bring to Manchester United?
After two unfulfilling campaigns at Old Trafford, Louis Van Gaal was sacked this offseason. In the process, however, he left the club in better shape than what it was in when he found it. He gave numerous Manchester United youth players their debuts and did a decent job of getting the Red Devils back to European play, as well as winning last year's FA Cup.
But promoting youth and winning a single trophy in two years doesn’t exactly meet all requirements at a massive club like Manchester United, and that’s where “The Special One” comes in.
Mourinho is all about winning trophies, and his success-or-bust attitude is exactly what United need if they are to return to their once dominant ways.
With eight league titles across four countries, plus two Champions League trophies and a total of 22 pieces of silverware since he took over FC Porto in 2002, Mourinho's status as one of the sport's top managers is set it stone. Man United isn’t just getting a manager, they’re getting one of the best in the world. There’s good history and reason to think that he will waste no time getting United to old heights in his first season.
Mourinho’s debut seasons at his various clubs have been spectacular, as seen in the table below.
|2002-03||Porto||Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal, UEFA Cup|
|2004-05||Chelsea||Premier League, Football League Cup|
|2008-09||Inter Milan||Serie A|
|2010-11||Real Madrid||Copa Del Rey|
It’s no secret that Mourinho gets off to a fast start at a new club, and that’s likely because of his ability to blend talent and tactics. Mourinho is well-known for being demanding and rigid in his strategy, but it's hard to argue with him because it works.
The aforementioned foundation that Van Gaal built gives Mourinho some talent to work with -- namely youngsters Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford -- although United's roster is expected to see some turnover with reports coming that the Portuguese boss is looking to unload nine or so players before the end of the transfer window.
The additions of the promising Eric Bailly, the peaking Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic should freshen up the squad at all levels. And this is all without the seemingly inevitable high-profile, high-dollar addition of world-class midfielder Paul Pogba, with the latest reports from ESPN FC saying that the clubs have agreed on a €120 million fee.
It seems like the Red Devils have everything in place -- some youth mixed, veteran experience and superstar talent at a few key positions, especially in the final third -- to succeed immediately.
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Ligue 1||36||13||31|
However, there are new hurdles Mourinho will face, particularly on the touchline. Manchester City has Pep Guardiola, Chelsea is guided by Antonio Conte, Jurgen Klopp is at Liverpool and up-and-coming managerial star Mauricio Pochettino has Tottenham trending upwards. Not to mention that every Premier League club is rolling in money and hasn't been shy about splashing cash in this transfer window.
The only negative with Mourinho is his shortness and focus on victories. While he doesn’t hesitate to play youth if they have the talent, he’s not exactly patient with mistakes, and that lack of patience appears in his managerial record. Mourinho hasn’t spent more than four years at a club, and while his first year at clubs have been phenomenal, he certainly has had seasons where his teams flame out -- look no further than Chelsea a year ago.Mourinho was not hired to rebuild the cycle of United legend Alex Ferguson -- and he’s not going to do that -- but after three seasons of varying degrees of disappointment, United saw an opportunity to bring in a coach that expects to challenge for every piece of silverware available. The Red Devils' brass jumped at the chance to get Mourinho, and with a talented roster, United enter the year among the favorites to win the league, per oddsmakers.