Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Manchester United still a major rebuilding job

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 30 Oct 2016

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has his work cut out to help Red Devils back to the glory days

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has his work cut out to help the Red Devils back to the glory days

If the Manchester United hierarchy thought that bringing in high-profile figures was the answer to the clubs problems they were sorely mistaken.

The Red Devils were once again frustrated in the Premier League on Saturday as Burnley came to Old Trafford and left with a goalless draw.

The goalless score-line was mainly due to former-United ‘keeper Tom Heaton’s brilliance. However, United had 37 shots on goal. Poor finishing also played a big part in blank scoreline.

Superstars do not solve every problem

For decades Sir Alex Ferguson made managing Manchester United look easy. He built and dismantled many a winning team. The veteran Scot even jettisoned some big names. But kept on winning trophies. His teams were not always built on big name players. In fact, when he retired in 2013 the Red Devils had very few star players still at the club.

Subsequently, successor David Moyes struggled and Louis van Gaal underachieved. Despite the latter trying to throw money at the situation. Not learning from their mistakes this summer United again went stargazing.

The Red Devils hired star boss Jose Mourinho. Then veteran Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer. They then decided to bring in French midfielder Paul Pogba for a world-record fee.

Early signs suggest that the moves may not help United bring back the glory days. Ibrahimovic and Pogba are good players. They would improve most teams when on form of course.

Ibrahimovic has been struggling of late for the Red Devils. While Pogba still looks to be getting re-accustomed to the English game.

It seemed United believed that signing the pair would make it appear like the Red Devils they were big time again. Unfortunately for United, their signings only papered over the cracks in their team elsewhere.

What has happened to Mourinho?

United Mourinho seems to have some sort of personality transplant. During his winning-days at Chelsea he was a big character. He was controversial, entertaining and loved to play mind games. Love him or loathe him he always brought an edge to football.

The Portuguese boss seems like a more restrained character since arriving at Old Trafford. Question marks were raised by certain United legends about his controversial behaviour prior to his appointment as United boss.

Possibly for the first time in his managerial career he is actually restraining himself. Maybe he is playing down his personality. The fiery Mourinho is still in there, as was proven by the fact he was sent to the stands against Burnley on Saturday.

Mourinho appears to be a shadow of his former-self. The problem for Mourinho is that his former persona was probably the key to him being so successful earlier in his career.

United did not hire him to be restrained. They hired him on the strength of his silverware collection. That silverware was achieved by being a controversial and fiery boss. Mourinho needs to change something or his career as Manchester United boss will not be a successful or long one.

Top-four a priority this season

The appointment of Mourinho as Manchester United boss was supposed to solve all the Red Devils problems. However, it was highly optimistic that United would go from finishing fifth in the table to becoming champions.

The Red Devils are currently eighth in the Premier League table, eight points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Manchester City. United’s current position leaves them as very much outsiders for the title at odds of 25/1.

Those odds are a far cry to the start of the season when they were regarded as one of the favourites to win the title this season. The Red Devils’ priority this season has to be finishing in the top-four. In itself that could be very difficult.

If anybody thought that just hiring Mourinho and signing big name stars would take United back to the glory days then they must have been naïve. The Premier League is getting more and more competitive every season. Even finishing in the top-four is highly difficult.

United discovering past glories make take longer than expected. The Red Devils team is still in major need of rebuilding. Whether Mourinho still has it in him to turn things around at United remains to be seen.

Are Manchester United genuine title contenders?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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