Manchester United somehow and finally qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League as a last minute goal from Marouane Fellaini was enough to see out Young Boys a team that at Old Trafford United were expected to score 3 or more goals against and ease into a victory.
Instead and yet again United underwhelmed and yet a victory is a victory and Mourinho punched the air with delight. He didn’t mind a 1-0 win, but there has to be serious doubts over this United team. One does get the feeling that Mourinho is trying to mould this side into the great Inter Milan team that he coached for 3 seasons. A dogs of war side that won 3 Serie A titles in a row and a famous Champions League title, their first for 45 years. The problem is that there was a major difference between that team and this United one, which was the players believed in Mourinho’s project and had thick skin.
Thick skin has been quite the subject this week too as Luke Shaw who Mourinho wants to be his lieutenant in the side just like Javier Zanetti was all those years ago at Inter said in a recent interview that you need thick skin to be in this side. He is absolutely right because Mourinho unlike most coaches will publicly criticise you if you don’t perform- Shaw included. His methods seem alien in a footballing world where the megastar player has been pampered too. Are Mourinho’s methods right? One could believe there is no definite answer, except they are his way of approaching things and he isn’t going to change now after all of the trophies he has won.
Romelu Lukakau the striker who has faded this season has stuck up for Mourinho lately, suggesting that players need to man up, and Mourinho himself has said that if some players are nervous they should just watch United’s games on the TV.
But Mourinho isn’t blameless in United’s start to the season, which forgetting the odd very good result, not losing to Chelsea away from home and victory over Juventus in Turin and has not been a good start to the new football campaign. After all he was the one that bought Paul Pogba, a player he is clearly at odds with and can’t seem to work with him. The other is Alexis Sanchez, an outrageously talented footballer who now plays like a journeyman under Mourinho he plays one week and not the next tactics.
Manchester United have not been the club we know since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and it does feel that whatever Mourinho will try with this club just won’t stick. Of course he has won the Europa League and League Cup with them, so is by far the most successful coach at the club since Ferguson left. But that is going on for 2 seasons ago now.
United have zero chance to win the Premier League this season and the big one for them now is the Champions League. It is where the teams concentration and priority will be focused on. After all if they can beat the tournament favourites Juventus away, then why not? For now United are not a club worth watching, which is the saddest aspect of Mourinho’s time here.