News breaking this evening (Thursday 26th May) is that Man United are finally going to announce the worst kept secret in football and unveil Jose Mourinho as their new manager. Although unquestionably an excellent coach and one of the games most successful and charismatic managers, I for one have stated openly that I do not feel he is the right man. Don’t get me wrong, I felt he would achieve things at Old Trafford, but perhaps not succeed.
The main reason behind this belief is Jose’s teams are infamous for being defensively solid, this is the nice way of saying boring. To be fair, this is what Van Gaal got sacked for in the first place. Do a little bit of research though and perhaps this is an unfair description. This season United only reached 49 league goals, this is shocking by their standards, especially when you consider the attacking players at their disposal. Compare this to Mourinho sides:
2005/06 – Porto – 73 goals (second)
2006/07 – Chelsea – 72 goals (second)
2007/08 – Chelsea – 72 goals (joint top)
2008/09 – Inter – 70 goals (joint top)
2009/10 – Inter – 75 goals (top)
2010/11 – Real madrid – 102 goals (top)
2011/12 – Real Madrid – 121 goals (top)
2012/13 – Real Madrid – 103 goals (second highest)
2014/15 – Chelsea – 73 goals (second highest)
What I am sure of is the man knows how to succeed and win early. He has a rich history of early success. In his first full season at Porto he won the Taca de Portugal (Portugal’s version of the FA Cup), the Primera Liga and most impressively the Champions League – a success that can only be compared to Leicester’s exploits this season. He moved to Chelsea and won the League Cup and the Premier League – the clubs first top flight success in 50 years. More success at Inter where he won the Supercoppa Italia and Serie A. Finally at Madrid he won the Copa Del Rey in his first season.
For all of these reasons I am starting to think he may not be such a bad appointment. One thing people will always do is draw comparison to Sir Alex Ferguson and the one thing he did better than anyone else is bring through talented youngsters. This is one area I am concerned about in the pending Mourinho tenure. They may not yet be the class of 92, but Van Gaal has also given chances to a number of highly talented young players. This may have been due to necessity rather than desire but his record speaks for itself. Marcus Rashford obviously makes the most headlines but Fosu-Mensah, Paddy McNair and Verela among others are excellent talents coming through. Uniteds under 21’s have just won the title for the second year running so there is obvious talent there to develop and bring through. Will he do it? Jose does not have a reputation for this sadly. Chelsea u21s have achieved great success both domestically and in Europe in recent years, yet it took Hiddink to be appointed for the likes of Loftus-Cheik to get his chance n the Premier League.
To achieve any level of success, Jose will have to adapt the squad. Some big decisions need to be made. The established players are getting older and arguably less effective, where as the younger players are starting to shine. What do the futures hold for the likes of Juan Mata who has already been sold by Jose once? Will star man De Gea finally move to Madrid? Can he “trim the fat” so to speak and offload the likes of Fellaini? Will he persevere with the likes of Depay? Caution in the market needs to be taken though. Moyes and Van Gaal have spent a lot of money for little return, in particular by comparison to the impact of Lingaard and Rashford. Specualation is United are going to #DaretoZlatan and sign the talent is free agent Ibrahimovic. An excellent signing on paper obviously, but does that send the right message to the ever improving Martial?
I see Mourinho as another short term answer to a long term problem. I personally feel Koeman or Pochettino were the ideal candidates but I am more confident Jose is the right man. United fans want someone to bring entertaining football and build a squad, Jose may only offer one of two but it seem in Mourinho Woodward trusts.