Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has admitted that he is looking forward to the new season after seeing the “confidence and winning mentality” which was brought to the club by new manager Jose Mourinho. The French midfielder had an extended holiday due to representing France in the European Championships this summer in his home country, returning to the AON Training Complex last Thursday and playing his first match against Galatasaray in Gothenburg, Sweden on Saturday, a match United won 5-2 – coming back from 2-1 down at the end of the first half with goals scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a brace from Wayne Rooney, a header from Marouane Fellaini and a stunning effort from Juan Mata. Despite being back at the club for just a few days, Schneiderlin, speaking to the official Manchester United website, is confident that Mourinho can guide the club to success this coming season.
“I can see a lot of smiles and a lot of enjoyment in the training sessions, which is good. The training sessions are sharp and it is very enjoyable. I can feel that confidence and winning mentality which will make us a very good team this season.”
United signed Schneiderlin from Southampton last summer in a deal worth £25 million. The Frenchman had a mixed season, looking good at times and facing a lot of time on the bench, which was something many supporters were complaining about last season. United, though, finished fifth in the Premier League, level on points with fourth-placed Manchester City (separated by goal difference) and missing out on the UEFA Champions League for the second season post-Sir Alex Ferguson. United, however, did lift the Emirates FA Cup, a trophy which evaded them for twelve years, the same amount of time Arsenal have failed to win the Premier League. Schneiderlin is now determined to impress Mourinho and improve the team with him steering the ship.
“It is a big season for me. Of course there were a lot of things that happened last season, but I am looking forward and this season is going to be very important for me. I am really enjoying every training session, which is good. It is good to have this joy and I can’t wait to start the season.
“I came back training on Thursday and my feeling in the first game against Galatasaray was great, to be honest with you. I felt good, I felt like I could run even more so that is good. The first half was a bit harder than the second half for the team, but it was good to have those 45 minutes under my belt and to keep on working hard. I’m looking forward to the next match now.”
Mourinho has made three new signings so far this summer with Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming to the Old Trafford club. The Swede came to United on a free after seeing out his contract with Paris Saint-Germain, which was confirmed on the 1st July 2016. Ibrahimovic scored on his debut in his native Sweden on Saturday – taking just four minutes to score a stunning scissor-kick goal. Schneiderlin feels that the Swede is a massive addition to the club and his confidence and winning mentality – added to that of Mourinho is going to add something to the team.
“Zlatan came into the dressing room and he already had an aura. He has this thing about him, it is a presence and a stature. He is tall, powerful and, on the training pitch, you can see he has a lot of quality. Of course, this is just his first week back as well so he will continue progressing physically.
“But you can see his touch, his movement and his way of seeing football is brilliant so this season I think he will give us something great.”
Manchester United have a lot to prove after the last three years – winning just two trophies; the FA Community Shield and the Emirates FA Cup. United turned from champions to a seventh-placed side by David Moyes, rising back up to the top-four in Louis van Gaal’s first season, then falling to fifth place during his second and final season. United will now be looking to regain their position at the top, which could happen considering the changes already made at the Theatre of Dreams. The opposition supporters are talking about United again, suggesting they are trying to buy the league with the £100 million pursuit of Paul Pogba, who could be announced in the coming days, but really the start of the fear factor at the club it returning. Many hate Manchester United again, and that is a good sign.