After what felt like years of perpetual speculation, Martin Tyler ‘goal-gasms’ and clipboard-wielding Dutch philosophers, the heavily-anticipated Manchester United revolution finally began during this summer’s transfer window. There were seismic changes both on and off the field, with footballing colossi being added into the dressing room at huge expense – no more so than dab-merchant Paul Pogba -, in the hope that the glory days will once again return to the Theatre of Dreams.
So with the most expensive footballer of all time being joined by Armenia’s favourite trequartista Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ivorian defensive prospect Eric Bailly and the ultimate self-proclaimed daemon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, naturally there is only one man capable of managing such an array of egos – a man with an even bigger one. Bring in the man that has revolutionised modern-day management; the one, the only, Jose Maria dos Santos Mourinho.
At the time of writing, it is 5:04 on Tuesday 20th September, and I have just completed my daily inspection of Twitter. It was during my check-up that I read the following “Mourinho has lost it – last won the league 2 years ago… clearly he’s past it and not going to turn it round. Absolutely mental”.
Strong words, no doubt about that – but is it slightly premature? Is doubting the man that has won eight league titles in four countries, two Champions Leagues and ten domestic cups in what has been an amazing career, after just over a month slightly melodramatic?
A loss to the impulsively attractive Manchester City at home, combined with an away defeat to PSV Eindhoven and an embarrassing loss at Vicarage Road is what has triggered such protests. Performances were relatively lack-lustre on the whole, and only two goals were scored in all encounters. But of course – three defeats in a row translates to a much-needed resignation, right?
It is impossible to predict just how the rest of the season is going to unfold for the Red Devils, but do not forget just who is at the helm. A fantastically talented squad is lead by the one man capable of stopping Pep Guardiola from painting the city – and indeed England – sky blue. Old Trafford will witness some incredible football over the coming campaign, especially once Paul Pogba finds his feet in a league that is so different to it’s counterpart in Italy. No side will want to face Manchester United this season, no matter what the form, but it’ll take time for it to all fall into place; no overhaul is an instant success.
Just ask Sir Alex Ferguson – he only won one league away game in his first season in charge of United. Football, especially here in England, is full of surprises. Nobody knows what’s around the corner. But that ladies and gentlemen, is why we love it so dearly. And as for those doubtful Manchester United fans – in Jose you should trust.
By Dan Wiseman