Well, love him or hate him, Jose Mourinho is now leading arguably one of the greatest clubs in football history.
Manchester United hope the Portuguese manager can lead them back to the glory that Sir Alex Ferguson gave them for over two decades.
But, as good as his track record is, Mourinho must heed the mistakes of the last two managerial casualties, and improve the areas where they failed to.
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Having said this, where exactly does he need to improve? Here are three things Mourinho must do at United in order to succeed.
Sort out centre-back problems
Since the departure of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić, one of the best partnerships the Premier League has ever seen, United have struggled to find a defensive partnership that would get anywhere near rivalling the two men who gave Sir Alex Ferguson’s team stability for nine seasons.
Chris Smalling and Daley Blind have been the favoured pairing under Louis van Gaal with Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian, Antonio Valencia, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Guillermo Varela and even Michael Carrick having had stints in United’s back line.
But where injuries have struck down some players, Luke Shaw the most notable with the horrific double leg fracture against PSV Eindhoven, and youngsters like Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Timothy Fosu-Mensah having to step up from the youth team, United have looked frail defensively, meaning this is an area that Mourinho must work on.
Buying Eric Bailly for £30 million from Villarreal has sent out a statement that Mourinho is keen to improve an area in the United squad that needs a revamp.
However, another centre-back to cover Chris Smalling through injury, suspension or poor form will need to be made. The front runners have to be Everton’s John Stones, Paris Saint-Germain’s Marquinhos or long term target, Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.
Find Paul Scholes Replacement
It’s a tall order, but one Mourinho must try and do. So many in the game, past and present talk of Scholes as the ultimate midfielder – we’ll forget he could never tackle properly. Greats like Zinedine Zidane, Brazil’s Socrates and Sir Bobby Charlton are amongst a giant list who sing Scholes’ praises.
However, since his departure back in 2011, then re-appearance in 2012-13 and his final departure, United have failed to find a suitable replacement.
Juan Mata has a different, slower style of play whereas Marouane Fellaini is, well, Marouane Fellaini. Players like Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger just don’t have the same influence where Scholes once did. Wayne Rooney’s new position in central midfield is the closest we’ve seen, but it’s still way off.
Mourinho’s solution has to be a previous United youngster, Paul Pogba. In the game against Romania in the Euro 2016 opener, Pogba dominated possession, he used his range of vision to pick outrageous passes and he attacked – all key attributes which Scholes possessed.
The only drawback has to be the proposed £73 million price tag Juventus have slapped on him – especially since United sold him for a ludicrous £800,000. Not one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest moments.
Although, Real Madrid have other ideas, according to The Sun, who believe an exchange deal involving Toni Kroos will take place instead.
Use the strikeforce at his disposal
If the end of last season at Old Trafford is anything to go by, one thing is certain for Jose Mourinho, he has a formidable strike force in the making.
Anthony Martial burst onto the scene with a wonderful debut goal against Liverpool, Jesse Lingard scored a stunning winning volley in the FA Cup final, and newbie Marcus Rashford scored twice on his debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League and then another brace against Arsenal a few days after.
This sort of firepower is something Mourinho should utilise in his first season and not go looking for strikers that are not available.
The likes of Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Karim Benzema are not going to leave Champions League sides for Manchester United, and the proposed move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which is wildly being speculated about, seems to be the wrong move when these three players are firing on all cylinders.
Mourinho will need to be aware of their talents to ensure he does not squander money as Van Gaal did in his two seasons at Old Trafford.
Mourinho needs to solidify the defence, add class into the midfield, and preserve with his strikers if he is going to succeed in his first season.
If he truly is ‘The Special One’, Manchester United should be his match made in heaven.
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