Jose Mourinho's six most surprising decisions at Manchester United

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Football News

Four wins from four competitive matches and Jose Mourinho could not have wished for a better start as Manchester United manager.

The slow, structured and patient style of Louis van Gaal has been thrown out of the window and Mourinho's more swashbuckling approach has brought an instant return in the form of consistent results.

In case he didn't realise before he took the job, Mourinho should now be fully aware that every move and decision made is scrutinised and closely analysed like never before.

While a lot of his judgements have just been acts of simple common sense in the eyes of most, the Portuguese boss has still been able to surprise a few with some of his more unpredictable changes at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata's role

Man United fans far and wide feared the worst for Juan Mata after Mourinho's appointment was officially confirmed.

It was the ex-Chelsea manager who sold him to United in the first place and it looked like a repeat scenario was inevitable.

But, despite being substituted less than half an hour after coming on in the Community Shield, Mata has started all three Premier League matches since and is thriving with the backing of Mourinho.

Shunning a fan favourite would have been a risky move so early on but the United boss has kept faith and the tricky Spaniard is firmly in his plans for the season.

Marouane Fellaini's selection

The big Belgian has split opinion ever since he moved to Manchester three years ago, nevertheless, Marouane Fellaini is a key favourite and mainstay of Mourinho's team.

Playing in a deeper, more defensive role, Fellaini has struck up a decent relationship with Paul Pogba and their combined height will make it very difficult for any midfield to overpower them.

He has been able to show he can be more than just a battering ram in the penalty box and is slowly winning supporters round game-by-game.

Preference for Daley Blind over Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling's form was one of the few positives to come out from last season and under Van Gaal's tutelage, he became one of the best defenders in the country.

Now, he can't even get in the starting XI.

Daley Blind's brilliantly composed and assured performances alongside Eric Bailly have meant that David de Gea has rarely been tested and Smalling is now the third choice centre-back.

Blind being left footed adds more balance to United's backline and the way he has started the campaign has left Smalling trailing way behind in the pecking order.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan's place on the bench

When you purchase the reigning Bundesliga player of the year, it is fair to expect him to slot straight into the starting XI.

Well, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has found himself on the bench in every game so far and being given a few minutes here and there is hardly going to speed up his transition to the Premier League.

Mata's form has made it difficult for Mourinho to leave him out and in such a competitive squad, the Armenian has little choice but to wait for his chance.

In the long-term, though, Mkhitaryan is expected to be United's first-choice right-winger once he fully adapts to his new surroundings.

Treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger

Admittedly, Bastian Schweinsteiger's form and fitness last term were anything but adequate however the way he has been treated by the new man at the helm has been surprising, to say the least.

The World Cup winner has been told he has no future at Old Trafford and been made to train with reserves as a result.

Fair enough if he isn't part of Mourinho's plans but someone of Schweinsteiger's stature surely deserves a bit more respect.

The club remain desperate to sell and any potential suitors would be getting a useful player at a very cheap price.

Letting Ryan Giggs depart

One of Mourinho's toughest decisions came early on in his reign when he picked his backroom staff.

Understandably, Mourinho wanted his own people around him hence Red Devils hero Ryan Giggs was shelved for Rui Faria.

Despite being told afterwards he could effectively have any other job he wanted at the club, the Welshman still decided to leave to pursue his management career.

Giggs remained a big presence, not just in the dressing room but generally in and around the club setup so his absence does leave quite the void at Old Trafford.

But Mourinho was brought in to get results. If that means buying the most expensive player in the world and casting a legend aside, Ed Woodward and co. have had to support him.

It appears to be paying off so far.

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Premier League
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho
Juan Mata

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