Football

Manchester United players Marouane Fellaini and Daley Blind .

Three under-performing players set to be given a chance by Jose Mourinho at Manchester United

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Over the past three seasons, Manchester United have fallen from grace following the departure of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Under both David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the team had a ragged look, as it was extremely uncertain who the first team players were, with the Dutchman often choosing to deploy vastly different players during different games in an experimental fashion. 

With the arrival of newly appointed manager Jose Mourinho in Manchester, there is a great source of optimism at the club as the Portuguese manager knows full well what it takes to excel at the highest level. 

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The former Chelsea manager is a master tactician and puts great emphasis on discipline and organisation, which will come as a relief to United fans after three uncertain seasons. 

Mourinho has already made it clear in his first press conference at Old Trafford that he wants "specialists" in his team, players who have defined roles, as opposed to individuals who are the jack of all trades, but lack in-depth quality with respect to any particular position.

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Therefore, it is rather surprising that the former Chelsea manager has decided to include the following players in his first team at United. 

Marouane Fellaini

The Belgian midfielder was brought in by Moyes, the Scottish manager having taken over managerial responsibilities at Old Trafford following the departure of Sir Alex back in 2013.

Fellaini was a first team regular under Moyes during their time together at Everton, which proved to be a fruitful combination as the afro-haired midfielder excelled in a box-to-box midfielder role. 

However, both experienced a torrid first season at United, with the 28-year-old not being able to replicate his performances from Goodison Park. 

FBL-ENG-FACUP-WEST HAM-MAN UTD

Having made only 15 starts for the Red Devils during 2013/2014, in contrast to 31 for the Toffees the previous season, Fellaini suffered a dismal campaign, being labeled as one of the worst signings of the season. 

The following season saw a decent run for the Belgian international, as he featured on a more regular basis under Van Gaal, making 27 league appearances and scoring six goals. 

Despite the promising season, the former Everton player was played out of position by the Dutch manager on several occasions, even being deployed as a striker. This continued into the 2015/2016 season, as Fellaini played below average yet again. 

The player's ideal position is still uncertain, having served multiple roles in midfield, as well as in attack, instead of making a position his own, something Mourinho is not a fan of as mentioned earlier. 

FBL-ENG-FACUP-EVERTON-MAN UTD

Fellaini's technical ability with the ball has come into question continually, as the midfielder does not excel in any key attributes, but rather just provides an imposing presence in midfield, allowing more creative players to express themselves. 

The Belgian international is often erratic on-and-off the ball, which has seemed to effect his disciplinary record. Offering very little in terms of specific attacking or defensive attributes, Fellaini is more of a liability than anything at Old Trafford. 

According to the Daily Mail, Mourinho is set to give the Belgian a chance to prove himself during pre-season, but it difficult to see how the big midfielder fits into the Portuguese manager's plans for next season. 

After moving to United for £27.5 million, the once promising player has far from justified the transfer fee. Therefore, the Manchester club might be better off without the Belgian, especially with a plethora of existing options in midfield. 

Daley Blind

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Another player to have been given a lifeline by Mourinho, the Dutch player has been mediocre at best during his two seasons at Old Trafford. 

The 26-year-old is a versatile player able to operate at left-back, centre-back, and central midfield, possessing a wider array of skills than the aforementioned Fellaini. That, however, does not necessarily command a place in the United team. 

Having been deployed in several positions by Van Gaal, Blind has also never quite managed to stamp his authority on the team as a specialist in a certain role. Hence, he can be viewed as a squad player at best, able to slot into positions that require reinforcing. 

Van Gaal's experimental move to install the former Ajax player alongside Michael Carrick in central defence backfired last season, as exemplified by the side's 1-0 loss to Southampton at home. 

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

Even at his seemingly preferred position in central midfield, Blind has not shown too many signs of excellence or immense quality, whereby leading to doubts regarding his big stage potential. 

Much was expected of the midfielder after winning the Dutch Eredevisie Player of the Year award, as well as featuring prominently for the national side during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, helping the team to a third-placed finish.

Blind has not provided enough evidence to support his claim to a place in the first team next season, and it would take a tremendous effort from the Netherlands international in pre-season to convince Mourinho of his abilities and importance to the club. 

Phil Jones

Having been at Old Trafford for five seasons, the England international has been far from convincing for the Red Devils. 

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League

The 24-year-old's promising performances for Blackburn Rovers seem to be a thing of the past as Jones has been lackluster and disappointing during his time in Manchester. Fans are yet to witness any real quality from the defender, as he has failed to make a mark on the team. 

United's defense has been shaky during the last three campaigns, with goalkeeper David de Gea proving to be their savior on a regular basis. Much of that uncertainty at the back could be attributed to Jones' poor performances. 

Therefore, it is quite surprising that Mourinho has announced his intentions of deploying the former Blackburn defender alongside the capable Chris Smalling in central defence, as reported by the Guardian

International Champions Cup 2015 - Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain

Even in the presence of Marcos Rojo and the newly signed Eric Bailly, Jones has been selected by the former Chelsea manager as the first choice centre-back. Whether it is a smart choice or not, fans will soon find out, as the Premier League is set to resume in a few weeks time. 

However, if the defender's past displays are anything to go by, Mourinho might need to rethink his strategy at the heart of the defense. 

Can Jose Mourinho get the best out of this trio at Manchester United? Leave YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!

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Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Phil Jones
Daley Blind
Football
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
David Beckham
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs
Marouane Fellaini
Jose Mourinho

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