Manchester United have the chance to complete what Jamie Carragher referred to as the ‘Mickey Mouse Treble’ next week.
The Red Devils already have the Community Shield and the EFL Cup in the bag. And they will play their biggest game of the season on Wednesday when they take on Ajax in the final of the Europa League.
Jose Mourinho has been building up to the game in Stockholm for some time now. The United manager has rested key players in the Premier League to ensure they are ready to take on Ajax, knowing that victory will secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.
So Mourinho has sacrificed United’s position in the league. The final standings will show that, for the fourth straight season, the club will finish outside of the top three.
But Mourinho is confident heading into next season, insisting that he will have a better understanding of his players next time around.
"I try to analyse the realities before I arrived in the club, but you only know the reality when you are inside," the 54-year-old told Omnisport, via Goal.
"The first season is hard. I enjoy the second because in the second I know I'm not making mistakes.
"You think you know the players, but you don't. You only know them when you have them in good moments and bad moments. The one I really enjoy to do is the transition from the first to the second season."
Moyes and Van Gaal failed
The goal is, of course, a Premier League title. United haven’t come close since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, David Moyes and Louis van Gaal both trying and failing to deliver.
Moyes didn’t even see out his first season at Old Trafford as United stuttered to seventh in 2014. They finished fourth and fifth in Van Gaal’s two seasons in charge - not anything to get excited about.
The pressure of living up to Ferguson’s legacy seemed to cause Moyes to struggle. The current Sunderland boss was selected by Ferguson to succeed him, only adding to the pressure.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal was let down by poor signings and some questionable tactics.
Mourinho explains why United have struggled
Mourinho offered another explanation for United’s struggles post-Ferguson - the overall strength of the Premier League.
The English top flight is known as a league in which no win is guaranteed. There have been five different winners since 2004 - including Leicester City last season - and the latest TV deal, worth £8.3 billion globally, ensures even the teams not competing at the top can afford quality players.
"I always had the question mark, what happened that stopped Man United being successful in the last three, four, five years?” Mourinho added.
"One answer: the reality of the Premier League, the economic power in many clubs. The stability that clubs manage to give.
"There is work to be done on the Manchester squad. The good thing is the club knows, the board knows and we are together on this process."
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