Despite finishing as runners up to bitter rivals Manchester City, the red half of Manchester certainly flattered to deceive for large parts of the season. Despite comfortably being second best, United finished 19 points behind their rivals and this has left a large amount of Manchester United fans disgruntled and frustrated. However, it was a rare season for Mourinho not to win a trophy further intensifying his frustrations as well as the fans. The Red Devils will have to do much better in the new season with expectations once again high for success and trophies. Many fans and pundits will suggest United did well to be the best of rest with many people feeling this was a one- off season for Manchester City’s dominance. Despite this, Manchester United will have to show vast amounts of improvement to show they can challenge for the title after disappointing seasons following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Jose Mourinho will be desperate to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford and the United fans will want the same having witnessed Manchester City, Chelsea and even Leicester win the league in the years gone by. United need to put their focus into every competition and show they can compete all fronts and be a dominant force both domestically and in Europe.
The ‘Manchester United Way’ has been thrown at Mourinho since the day he walked in as manager. This only further increases the pressure on his shoulders with fans expecting an exciting, attacking style of play. However, with Mourinho having different ways of playing, United fans have quickly had to adapt to change because the fact is, Mourinho has won everything in the game despite players, fans and pundits arguing he is a negative manager. He has brought success to Old Trafford winning 3 trophies in his debut season and getting United back into Europe’s elite competition. However, last season saw trophies dry very quickly and improvement in whole team is required for United to sustain a title challenge. Manchester United have an excellent crop of players who underperformed during the previous season which ultimately saw win nothing. However, consistently David De Gea has shone for United even in disappointing team displays last season. Season after season he has grown and just keeps getting better and certainly since Mourinho took over, he has found a new level not even he would off have expected to reach, and he is comfortably the best goalkeeper in the world. However, it isn’t just an excellent goalkeeper at Mourinho’s disposal, as he has one of the best attacks across the whole of Europe. Talented players such as Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford making up a glittering, young attacking line and Mourinho has got a tune out of Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard with both excelling in an underwhelming season. United showed during the previous season they have the power to really hurt teams however, consistency was a big problem for them and Paul Pogba epitomises this notion. When Pogba is on his game, he can be unstoppable and one of the best central midfielders. However, these typical performances are not often enough leaving Mourinho and the fans frustrated because they know he has the talent to succeed and certainly Mourinho will be hopeful Pogba brings his world cup performances to Old Trafford during the new season. On the other hand, Jose Mourinho has struggled for consistency from his defence line. Despite the overall solid performances of Antonio Valencia, Mourinho has struggled to find his best back 4 and this is a big issue that needs addressing. Disappointing displays from Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo and injury to Eric Bailly has left Mourinho with difficulty finding his best centre back partnership. Too many errors and average performances have cost United in games and this isn’t just from their defenders. However, as well as Valencia, Mourinho has been able to rely on the excellent Nemanja Matic. Signing the Serbian international from former club Chelsea was a stroke of genius from Mourinho as Matic has superbly anchored United’s back four with solid, consistent performances. Mourinho will be hoping the rest of the United squad can follow the examples of Matic and Valencia by showing regular consistency and showing a determination to achieve and grow as a footballer.
Manchester United will certainly need to be active in the transfer window with the club desperate to the top dog of England and Mourinho has already added Brazilian international Fred and highly rated full back Diogo Dalot. Mourinho was certainly looking for something different in his midfield and dynamic Fred will add ball quality, pace and energy. Whereas, young full back Dalot will add competition for places giving Mourinho more options. However, he will certainly look to add to his defence with a new centre back very high on his shopping list. Injuries and poor displays have frustrated Mourinho and he will want a partner certainly for Eric Bailly who is their best centre back when fully fit. In addition, Mourinho have a strong interest in signing a new left back due to struggling performances once again at left back from Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian. With the latter also wanting to leave, Mourinho will be looking for a consistent, solid left back who adds the necessary quality he is looking for. Furthermore, Mourinho may well be on the hunt for a new winger with Alexis Sanchez really being his only recognised wingers with Martial and Rashford having to play out wide out of their natural positions. He will be scouting across much of Europe looking for new players and he will be determined to enhance United’s chances of mounting a title challenge with a stronger squad. A lack of consistency has frustrated Mourinho and he will be hoping any new signings can add consistency to the squad and their overall performances as a team.
The Red Devils must show signs of improvement after finishing so behind their noisy neighbours. The fans will want success both domestically and on the European stage. However, Mourinho will be desperate for consistency across each competition and show a fighting desire that they mean business this season. There will be an expectation for success and Mourinho and this squad must take the pressure in their stride and go and win the trophies in front of them. This could be a good season if Mourinho gets what he wants but another below par season could spell trouble for Mourinho and his team.