Watching the exciting game between Manchester United and Chelsea made me think a lot about the power of the youth in this team and how a manager like Jose Mourinho, a proven winner is still being put in doubt by the majority of the fans about his decisions. Once again, he didn’t just prove them wrong but enchanted the opposition with such great performance.
However, the main point is how Mourinho has changed this team and himself for that matter as he seems like someone who we would like to have around for a long time at this club. The main argument of the whole Mourinho drama the fans create, is one key point, one powerful source I may say; the youth system and the fact that Mourinho cannot simply fit them into the first team. Over the past few days, I have been involved in several debates that have left a mark on me, in a good term though.
In match-day, I faced a United fan who somehow was not happy with the words Mourinho said about Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly, with them being the only options left in the heart of the defence. Of course, we are all aware that Axel Tuanzebe is there and he really needs to be mentioned often, not just because he is a homegrown player, but also he is incredibly talented. A player’s confidence is boosted when you mention them often, but sometimes people should realise, or better understand that Mourinho cannot simply satisfy everyone, as there is also Timothy Fosu-Mensah who is waiting to play more minutes for the first-team also.
What really got on my nerves was the saying: ‘it’s about tradition too’. Right now we focus in the most important part of the season, where every game is like a final, as every point dropped or every goal conceded (in the Europa League especially) could leave United out of Europe again, the Champions League at least. You cannot ask or demand the manager for the sake of tradition as it would be unhealthy and unfair to other players at this club. You can’t leave anyone out as players come to this club to play and perform, setting an order and not leaving many chances for our youngsters to make the break.
I am a big fan of Manchester United’s youth teams and I understand the frustration of some, but they should also understand the hard position of the manager in this situation. Anyway, this manager keeps enchanting and surprising you in the most amazing and crazy ways, as in one of the most important games of the season, he chose to play the youth up front rather than experience, but he was careful in every detail.
That’s exactly what I am trying to say the whole time, a mix of youth and experienced players is the perfect recipe to make United great again. It feels like a Donald Trump statement, but yesterday this worked nicely and the result was magnificent. Rather than comparing this to any United performance during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, I would like to thank Jose Mourinho for making life miserable for anyone who thought United were done, even before the game started.
Getting back to the recipe, Jose Mourinho’s masterclass showed how great this Manchester United can become. Who would have thought that playing Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford together upfront would function perfectly? The dynamism of two tireless players full of energy coming from the academy, and experienced players surrounding them created the balance which surprised everyone. With this being said, Mourinho got everyone thinking: Is this the right thing to do?
This probably will not help all of those haters but here’s something to get you started:
Minutes given to teenagers in the Premier League this season:
Conte – 0
Wenger – 1
Pochettino – 19
Guardiola – 415
Mourinho – 1,443 pic.twitter.com/mdrRuwqSnK
— bet365 (@bet365) April 16, 2017
As you can see it’s not just this game that counts, but this season overall. We have seen glimpses of United’s Fergie era and the signs show that United are heading in the right direction. The team didn’t have to play the usual way, they had to make the right choices and playing youth was definitely a key point. The start of this season saw Kieran McKenna leading our U18’s while U23’s despite the difficult season, Nicky Butt has great plans for them in the future. Every single detail is being discussed and in the backstage, all of this has one name, Jose Mourinho.
Without taking any credit to anyone who’s taking care of the academy, if the first team’s manager isn’t interested then no one will come through the ranks. Mourinho, however, has already stated the potential; Fosu-Mensah is always with the first team, Tuanzebe and Joel Pereira made their debut, whilst Rashford and Lingard are now regulars in the first team. Both goalkeepers, Kieran O’Hara and Dean Henderson are around as well learning from David De Gea and Sergio Romero. If that’s not a perfect mix, I don’t know what it is.
People should once and for all understand that this is how youth is nurtured and we, the supporters, are glad to have them. Under Mourinho’s name, we have the debut of Alvaro Morata at Real Madrid, who is now important to Real Madrid. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. The atmosphere at Old Trafford seems perfect and those academy players know this United team is worth fighting for. Jose Mourinho doesn’t just love youth, he absolutely loves talent.