Will Jose Mourinho propel Man Utd to Premier League glory?by Mike Holden / 15 August 2017, 10:10Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) takes a look at what we can expect from Jose Mourinho and Man Utd during the 2017/18 Premier League season.
Jose Mourinho endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford, falling way below his normal standards as Manchester United drew 15 games and finished sixth. But it was hardly a barren season - the Red Devils lifted the League Cup and booked a return to the Champions League when adding the Europa League to their honours list in their final game. Namanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku are ready-made arrivals. Top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic departs but could return in 2018 if his recovery from knee ligament damage goes well.
Mourinho is a fearsome end-goal merchant, driven purely by an insatiable hunger for bottom-line achievement. There’s no holding back on account of morality - the end justifies the means, always. Almost every move he makes is strategic, with a bigger picture in mind. He has a remarkable capacity to retain a long-term focus while executing each step of his plan with precision and determination. And much of his strategy is played out through the media, where he strives to control the narrative and assert pressure on his rivals.
"Yes, we can win the title. Last season, we lost only one match at home and, in the cups, we never lost. But too many draws. We had lots of dominance at home, lots of chances, matches when it should be 2-0 or 3-0 and in the end it was 1-1. At other clubs; I had more players scoring goals. We had midfielders and wingers scoring, central defenders at set pieces. Last season, that didn’t happen much. We were focused on strikers scoring goals and when it didn’t happen we were in trouble."
United will fare better at breaking down the raft of mediocre teams who departed Old Trafford with a point last season, while possibly retaining the ability to grind out results in big matches. The first 11 looks a formidable proposition but there’s not a great deal in reserve, which makes them more vulnerable to injuries and suspensions than most. They need to gain at least 15 points to win the title, which is a stretch to say the least, but they ought to be in the reckoning this time around.