By John Ryan
- Mourinho doesn’t back down when it comes to a battle
Since busting onto the scene with Porto in 2004. Mourinho has shown that when it comes to conflict he likes to be the winner.
Every challenge he has faced has brought him and his employers a degree of success. Since winning the Europa League in May he has been looking to strengthen his squad.
Reports have emerged that the Glazers were not happy with the prospect of paying Forty Million pounds for players like Nemanja Matic or Ivan Perisic. Yet the manager has got his way with one and will possibly get his way with the other.
Mourinho’s Summer additions are players who will make Manchester United play with power and physicality. However nobody should be fooled as to what he is trying to achieve here. Mourinho is moulding a title winning side.
Mourinho Has Options
In every position on the field Mourinho will now have two options.
With Lindelof and Bailly at the heart of the defence. Manchester United will have physicality but also two players who can tackle and are rarely caught out by runs behind the defence.
In the full-back positions Antonio Valencia was outstanding for a lot of last season so he should be able to maintain another season at this level.
On the left, every Manchester United fan will be hoping Luke Shaw is no longer described with the word ‘potential’ and instead words like ‘precision’ and ‘powerful’ are used.
In midfield the signing of Matic should release Paul Pogba to play further forward. That part looks straightforward but Mourinho now has plenty of options at his disposal.
Ander Herrera can play in front of his own back four or further forward. Mata and Martial have played wide to date but also allow the manager to plot for a three, four or five man midfield.
Mkhitaryan gives the Mourinho a pacy option to link midfield to attack while Michael Carrick brings composure, solidity and experience.
Lukaku Will Bring Goals
In attack the signing of Lukaku will bring goals. Critics have pointed to his less than average goal scoring record against top six sides for Everton.
While Everton now look to be a stronger side than least season, they haven’t had the same attacking power at their disposal as United.
Lukaku at times looked lethal in his pre-season games and a lot of play will go through him. Mourinho has the option of playing Rashford alongside him, or indeed Martial.
If Zlatan Ibrahimovic re-signs once he returns from his cruciate ligament injury United will have a lot of power to spearhead the Premier League assault next season.
Youngsters Will Be Looking To Impress
United’s squad is impressive. Youngsters like Tuanzebe, Pereira, Borthwick Jackson and Fosu Mensah are all learning their trade. With experience from last season and a full pre-season under their belts each will give the manager plenty to think about.
Mourinho showed some managerial class in the way he eased Wayne Rooney towards the Old Trafford exit door.
The player was given enough time on the field to break Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United scoring record. He was allowed to play in the Europa League win and he exited gracefully.
Mourinho is astute enough to realise that not everything needs to be a battle and as seen with his recent ‘will not be losing my hair’ comments on Antonio Conte he is maturing into a wiser manager as time goes on.
Those who predicted that Mourinho was finished after being sacked by Chelsea wrote this man off too soon.
In a season where he performed much needed surgery on United he restored the winning mentality. Landed the League Cup and the Europa League and has built for the future.
The 2017-2018 Champions League will prove to be just out of reach for United in the coming season. A last eight exit would be a measure of progress in many respects.
However Mourinho craves success and nine months from now. Manchester United will be champions and Romelu Lukaku will end the season as Premier League top scorer.