As the new football season looms large, Manchester United and Jose Mourinho know that another year of Premier League mediocrity might not be tolerated by the fans. Involvement in the Champions League might help as it would mean lesser games played over the course of this season in comparison to the last.
With almost all of the top clubs adding steel to their lineups, while the others have managed to retain their important players; the next season promises to be unpredictable and highly-competitive. The title may be decided on the grounds of consistency, and the ones who manage to keep it up for a longer time than the others.
Mourinho has got a taste of what it means to manage a club like Manchester United, where success is demanded season after season. The fans have been accustomed to winning under the patronage of Sir Alex Ferguson, and expect nothing less from Jose.
While he made some questionable decisions last season, here are some he should avoid making in the next season.
Daley Blind at Left Back
Having joined Manchester United after a successful World Cup in Brazil, Daley Blind was ecstatic at the opportunity of working under his former national coach, Louis van Gaal.
Both of them enjoyed a fairly successful spell in Brazil, after managing to reach the semi-finals, before losing to Argentina in a hard-fought encounter. He was largely employed as a LWB by Van Gaal, proving to be an effective outlet for the Oranje down the left. The following season saw Daley being employed as a LB, LWB and CDM; proving his versatility.
Jose Mourinho has used Daley as a CB and LB last season. While Daley has proven his versatility, the position of Left Back hasn’t worked well for the 27-year-old.
Daley is a composed player with an eye for a pass. His calmness on the ball and his ability to keep the play ticking is one of his best traits, which often are overlooked and go to waste whenever he’s employed as a left back. He offers very little offensively given his lack of pace.
Mourinho must use him as a CB, or a CDM where his array of passing can trouble the opposition.
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Drop and substitute star players if they are underperforming
Jose Mourinho got in Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his main attacker. Zlatan was very much central to Jose’s tactics. While he did provide entertainment and goals in abundance last season, there were moments where he failed to have any impact on games. If a fringe player has an off game, he is sure to be withdrawn after half time. Why give the so-called star-players more time to prove their worth?
Maybe removing Zlatan would render United toothless in attack, but it would send out a statement to the players that failure to perform will surely be dealt with withdrawal from the game. Wouldn’t that fire them up and given the incentive to perform and perform well?
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Too much defensive football can hurt
Manchester United for the most part of last season adopted the ‘wait-it-out’ strategy. They basically gave the opposition time and space on the ball and asked them to show what they could do with it. While this may tire the opposition, and help save the energy of our players, it may have catastrophic consequences with opponents who have pace and agility in their ranks. Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, all able title contenders for the next season rely on their high intensity attacking to deliver goals. Can Manchester United afford to give them time and space on the ball? A big no at that.