Thanks to Jose Mourinho, Manchester United look to be on their first serious title charge since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
The Special One has guided United to the top of the table with a solid start to the season only blotted by a 2-2 draw away to Stoke City. And while it would be too easy to jump to conclusions, it’s fair to say their squad is looking menacing.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has produced more assists than anybody in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season and big-money signing Romelu Lukaku already has six goals under his belt.
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The aforementioned draw with Stoke did raise its fair share of questions, though. United aren’t alone in struggling at the Bet365 Stadium but the draw exposed defensive flaws few supporters thought they had.
Phil Jones – in particular – won’t look back on the game too fondly.
His marking of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting left a lot to be desired with the Englishman essentially flopping backwards as his opponent evaded him to score. Ultimately, it cost United the three points.
In the run-up to his side’s next Premier League clash with Everton, it brought up the conversation of individual errors. Mourinho didn’t just talk about Jones but Marouane Fellaini, too, who let his side down at Goodison Park last season.
Having been subbed on with the score at 1-0, Fellaini conceded a penalty to his old side after just two minutes on the pitch. Leighton Baines dually converted and United had to settle for the point.
Relive the gaffe below:
It could have been an error that cost Fellaini his career at Old Trafford with the Belgian bombarded with boos from the crowd in proceeding games.
Mourinho, however, has a brilliant way of dealing with such errors with Fellaini and Jones getting exactly the same treatment.
As per the Manchester Evening News, the Portuguese expounded: "His mistake last season [Fellaini] was the kind of mistake that I accept in a player.
"I accept the goalkeeper that concedes a bad goal. I accept the player who misses a penalty. I accept the player who makes a mistake and gives a penalty away.
"I accept all these individual mistakes, that are part of the game and part of football players. What I did with Marouane [play him in the next game] is what I do normally with every player.
“Like Jones, he made a bad mistake for Stoke's second goal. Did I kill him? No. Will he be on the bench on Sunday? No.
"So life goes on, and that's the way I did it last season with Fellaini.”
Mourinho isn’t exactly wrong, the players themselves are always more than aware of their errors and what better way to stop them dwelling about it than by throwing them straight back into the action.
Fellaini lives to fight another day.
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