Mourinho cut a grim figure during the news conference after the Spurs defeat at Old Trafford. Even though he was not to blame for United’s last two defeats, the Portuguese tactician was the first one to be criticized by the media and so-called football experts. Right after the game, Mourinho was defiant. His team had played well and lost only due to bad finishing and individual defensive mistakes, he claimed. He was quite right and all this early season chaos is not really the coach’s fault.
Related: Jose Mourinho’s Mind Games
Mourinho clearly wanted to sign a world class center back during the transfer window but did not get one. It has been claimed that the reason he did not get one is because the board felt the current crop of center backs already at United were already good enough. Regardless of whether that is true or not, Mourinho is now vindicated. United have already conceded 7 goals in 3 games even though they have what’s probably the best goalkeeper in the World behind that defence. Bailly and Lindelof committed too many mistakes against Brighton and put their team in a tight spot. Jones and Smalling did the same against Spurs. Marcos Rojo is the only center back who has not yet played, due to injury, and will be out until September.
If you watch the first half versus Spurs from an unbiased viewer’s perspective, United deserved to be atleast two up before half time. Lukaku missed an open net, Fred had a goal scoring chance in the very first minute. Had the finishing been better, this would have been a different story. Tactically, Mourinho set his team up well. He cannot be held accountable for his players being profligate infront of goal. The attacking intent that fans have been crying out for was there. The quality players were certainly present, minus the center back partnership which showed fragility.
See Also: Andreas Pereira’s Time Has Come
All indicates to Manchester United rising above this early season bump in the road and starting winning games, provided they keep the level of play seen against Leicester and Tottenham and improve on it, especially at the back. The next five games are against so-called “weaker” opposition and should United take all 15 points, they will face Chelsea with confidence on the 20th of October. Win the next 6 games and the title challenge is still on. Not to mention both domestic cups and the Champions League are also in play soon. If not in the league, at least the cups can bring success for Mourinho.
This Manchester United squad is very united and will only get stronger as the season moves on. With the return of stalwarts Matic, Herrera and Valencia, Mourinho can hope for more stability defensively. Matic when in top form protects the defence effectively. Once the likes of Pogba, Lukaku, Lingard and Fred hit top form, the mancunians will be a pain to play against. Another good sign is the renaissance of Luke Shaw, who was singled out by his manager for his showing against Spurs. Three games in, Shaw looks like a totally different player. United now have the left back they have been craving for.
United still have everything to play for this season. Three games do not decide a season. I would bet good money on Mourinho turning this around. He certainly has the support of the players, the CEO and the fans.
Please follow us for more!
See also: Beautiful World Cup Anecdotes