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Jaap Stam shows support Ryan Giggs didn’t, tips Manchester United for Premier League success

Manchester United in the past few seasons have begun to resemble their arch enemies, their most hated rivals, Liverpool. The club instead of regularly challenging for titles and dominating the English game has been relegated to reminiscing on their trophy laden past. While United would need to exist without a title for a further twenty-two years to truly match the Liverpudlian club, the comparison brings about many of United fans worst fears. It seems as if the four season wait between titles has the potential to end this season, with Jose Mourinho making several high-profile signings to complement his work during the previous summer transfer window.

Former players, particularly those hailing from Manchester United’s era of dominance during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, are clearly frustrated with the state of the club. Club legends like Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, and Jaap Stam have all come out with varying levels of support for Jose Mourinho’s progress with United. Keane in his typical “no excuses” attitude issued a brutal review of Mourinho’s first season saying that the club should be “embarrassed”. While it is not unusual to hear Roy Keane issue harsh criticism on any manner of things it speaks to the state of the club at the time. Ryan Giggs, United’s record holder for appearances, tipped cross-city rivals Manchester City for glory in the upcoming Premier League season undoubtedly stinging the United faithful. Giggs was quoted saying “I think Manchester City are the team to beat” attributing this to their improvements in defense and their bevy of attacking options.

It was Jaap Stam, part of the back line that brought United the famous treble in 1999 that issued his review on the team with the most faith in the club’s current state. Stam began saying “A club like United, you always want to win the league. It’s always their aim. It has to be their aim, to win the league.” Fans of the club will undoubtedly agree that this season major strides need to be made in order for this upcoming campaign to be considered a success. Stam added “You can see now, with the signings that they’ve done, bought some great players in; quality-wise very good, experience-wise very good as well”, Stam is likely referring to the additions of Lukaku and Matic, two massive talents with Premier League pedigree.

When examining the clubs chances in the league this season it is clear that, in this new era of big money football, there will be no easy routes to the title. Manchester City, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur all represent massive rivals to the title this upcoming season. Arsenal, Liverpool, and even the resurgent Everton are three further clubs capable of usurping United in the table should a league performance like last year’s be seen again. The league has never been more competitive but when examining the changes made within the club and at other title challengers there are certainly issues to capitalize on.

City will be playing with a new back line and goalkeeper that will undoubtedly need time to mesh. There also were no upgrades made at center back (yet) leaving the back line vulnerable should Vincent Kompany return to the physio’s table. Chelsea will face the challenge of extra fixtures in Europe making Conte’s brutal training all the more difficult on the players. Tottenham will be playing in a stadium they have struggled in and will struggle to adjust initially. Manchester United will need to capitalize on these weaknesses in order to push through what will likely be an extremely challenging campaign.

The opinions of former players can often serve as distractions or rallying cries in the dressing room, especially coming from stars of this stature from a club the size of Manchester United. If United are to succeed this season it would be wise for Mourinho to allow both the doubt and the support from legends to fuel the team in chasing the success that has been alluding the club since the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Written by Bobby Frazier

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