Manchester United’s Premier League campaign has started with three wins in three, and the morale around Old Trafford is higher than it has been in years. No Manchester United manager ever won their first four matches until Jose Mourinho, who is nominated for the Premier League manager of the month. Now, even legendary midfielder Paul Scholes, who was highly critical of United under Louis van Gaal, is impressed with United’s work this summer.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Scholes said that the new players at United are the biggest difference from last season, as they poise the club to challenge for the Premier League title. Scholes argued that the likes of van Gaal and David Moyes made slightly riskier signings than Mourinho, who instead approached players ready to win the Premier League. Scholes applauded Mourinho’s recognition that this season wasn’t a good time to risk failing in the market.
“The quality of the players he (Mourinho) has brought in, that’s the biggest difference. The previous managers (David Moyes and Louis van Gaal) took a risk by playing some players that could have worked but probably didn’t work as well as they should have done. But he [Mourinho] brought in ready-made players. That was what was needed, ready-made players for the Premier League. It wasn’t the right time for Mourinho to take risks.”
Speaking specifically about Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival at Manchester United, Scholes said that he will be great for the club’s young players, particularly Marcus Rashford. In a statement that I very much agree with, Scholes said that Rashford’s role this season will still be very important, but the club isn’t so reliant on him that his poor performances could put his future into doubt.
“Ibra[himovic] is great for young players, especially for someone like Rashford. Marcus will have a massive role to play this season and to have someone to look up to like that and teach him how to play the game properly, it’s great for his future.”
Scholes mentioned Ibrahimovic in the category of confident United players who have a winning mentality, and, adding Pogba to that list, he believes United has added sufficient experience in winning Premier League titles. Neither has won a Champions League yet, and both very much want to do so at United, as they have both stated in the media.
“United have always had that type of player with a presence and that arrogance where they expect to win. Ibrahimovic, wherever he has been, has won the league. Pogba, with Juventus, the last three years he’s been close to winning the Champions League and I think they won the league title every year. That winning mentality, like I say, Mourinho couldn’t afford to take that risk. These players are not a risk, they are winners.”
Finally, Scholes praised the start of United’s season, which, as aforementioned, yielded three wins in three. Scholes believes the mentality added to United by players like Pogba and Ibrahimovic could prove as important as their massive early contributions on the pitch.
“Every player has started the season well. There has been confidence brought to the team. It gives you a massive lift when you sign big players like Pogba and Ibra. It gives you a massive lift all-round the dressing room and your performance has to live up to what they expect and I think Untied players have done that so far.”
Though Scholes didn’t speak about them directly, United has also added the likes of Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The former, an Ivorian defender from Villareal, looks the part and a world class project at 22. The latter, the first Armenian to play in the Premier League, and the national team captain, is a skillful attacking midfielder, a top-tier talent, and one of the hardest players to defend against in England already.
United seems to have added the quality, mentality and tactical edge to their squad in just four players, and with Moyes’ and van Gaal’s additions completing the side and beginning to play their best football, United’s squad is shaping up with quality in massive depth. Hopefully United can maintain similar morale and form throughout the season because it will bring massive success and brace the rest of Europe for next season, which will be massive as United likely enters the Champions League under Jose Mourinho.