Announced as Manchester United manager this morning, Jose Mourinho must now focus on getting Manchester United back into the big time.
3 seasons of sub par performances and barely meeting targets has taken it’s toll on the club but many believe they now have the manager that will get them back to the big time as they were under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Jose will of course have to go and buy, a team that has performed as badly as United have in front of goal and relied heavily on the heroics of goalkeeper David De Gea demands it, but that isn’t to say that Jose has a squad that he can’t work with.
There is plenty of talent in the side and it is up to Mourinho to utilise it in a manner that will get the best out them, unlike previous manager Louis Van Gaal who’s bizarre selection decisions left many, both fans and players, scratching their heads.
We spoke to Football Fanzone’s Jason Cundy about what Mourinho is likely to do when he comes in and what areas of the team he will get to grips with first as he looks to pull the 20 times English champions out of a nose dive:
Jose will walk into Old Trafford, look at his side and think what is the maximum I can get out of this current squad and it is from there that he will begin working.
For me his first job will be to secure the future of goalkeeper David De Gea. There have been reports that De Gea is willing to remain at Old Trafford to work with Jose amidst renewed reports that Real Madrid could come back in for him, after their failed attempt to sign him on deadline day last summer. It is believed that Real have a deadline of June 15th to sign De Gea for a fee of £50m and after that they will have to negotiate a figure with United, so Mourinho will be waiting for the date to pass.
He will most certainly be looking to sign a centre-back as seen with recent reports linking United with both Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Raphael Varane from former club Real Madrid. Interestingly he has been a long time admirer of Phil Jones and could perhaps revive the forlorn defender’s fortunes. At fullback he seems set with Luke Shaw set to return from injury whilst Darmian will, if injuries permit, improve on his debut season. He also has Timothy Fosu Mensah to fall back on, with the Dutch youngster looking impressive in his showings at the tail end of last season.
Jose loves a DM and could turn Schneiderlin into a star or just as easily show him the door. The French midfielder is clearly a player of some talent as seen at Southampton but failed to show it enough last season for United, so Jose will have to decide if he is up to the job.
Rooney is an interesting proposition and could be used to do a similar job that Cesc did last season. We saw last weekend that Rooney can dictate and even saw a throwback to his younger days with the run for United’s first goal.
That said United will need another striker, they cannot rely on Rashford and Martial to get the goals that will see United either 1. become champions 2. mount a sustained title challenge. It appears that will be Zlatan Ibrahimovic following his presser yesterday and even though the deal will likely be a short one, what he adds to United off field could prove invaluable.
Speaking of Rashford, there are a number of people that are banging the ‘Jose and youth doesn’t work’ drum but I disagree. If they are good enough he will play them. He opted to use a 21 year old Petr Cech over Carlo Cudicini when he first joined Chelsea and he wasn’t afraid to use Raphael Varane at Real Madrid when he signed from Lens aged 18, Kurt Zouma played a prominent role under Jose despite his relatively young age, Balotelli, Carlos Alberto at Porto, the list of young stars that have shone under Jose isn’t a short one. The fact is if they are good enough and reliable he will give them a chance. Rashford has shown he can do a job as has Fosu Mensah and I’m pretty sure that some of the other players in United’s u21s that won the Premier League like Andreas Pereira will get a shot if they can prove their reliability.
Speaking of getting a chance it is assumed that Juan Mata will be shown the door now that Jose has come in, this isn’t necessarily true. Mata hasn’t done himself any favours; his role in Palace’s goal last Saturday highlights everything that Mourinho didn’t like about him as he fell asleep and allowed Jason Puncheon to steal a yard on him before scoring past De Gea but then you saw the good as he went down the other end and equalised. United haven’t seen the best of Mata, it didn’t help that he was played out wide to accommodate Jesse Lingard in Mata’s preferred #10 position but Jose may allow the much loved Spaniard to prove his worth in the position.
Another player that could get a shot is Memphis Depay. The Dutch youngster hasn’t had the best season after a £19m move to Old Trafford last summer, but could Mourinho make the talented 22 year old into his version of Arjen Robben? Robben became a world star under Mourinho at Chelsea before moving to Real Madrid and with Robben mentoring Depay and Jose as his manager he could turn things around. Jose has shown with Cole and Hazard that he can get the best out of those types of players so if Jose invests in him, it will be on him to step up.
It will be interesting to see what Jose does with this squad; Under LVG at times they looked lost but with a few additions and tweaks I feel Jose could get something out of this side.