It has been a rough time for Manchester United fans with heavy losses against big rivals. This time, United were completely trounced by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 4-0. In United’s last six games, the Red Devils only have earned only five points and are five points from the European spots on the Premier League table. It’s early. But there are early signs of another David Moyes season at Old Trafford, this time with Mourinho in charge. After a summer full of big signings and hundreds of millions of pounds later, United have only an FA Cup to show since the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 27-year tenure. So with this poor form, should fans begin to panic that the club will go through a title drought?
Short answer: not yet. United is in trouble but no need to panic. Fans should not grow impatient with Mourinho in the way that they did with Moyes. Mourinho has a track record but the title chances that United had with the current personnel is surely out the window. Focus needs to turn to UEFA Champions League qualification but it may not come from the table; it could come with a Europa League title. For former United captain Gary Neville, European qualification is a big concern.
“What will be concerning for United is that eight or nine weeks ago, we were saying that they have a chance to win the title this season.
“It is very, very early and there is time to come back, but a gap has appeared of five points between them and fifth place.
“Those five teams at the top of the league – Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, City, Liverpool – at the moment all look better.
“United have to get better because it would be a hammer blow for them not to get into the top four.
“They have a lot of work to do to get near to that, let alone get into it.”
There is no one answer for United’s struggles. There are new players who are becoming used to their new teammates, there is yet another new manager at Old Trafford and there are high expectations that this team will win the league with the firepower and the hefty price tags that came with many of United’s players. United will not have a long titleless slump for decades like Liverpool but the club’s fans will have to get used to frustration and settle for top-four races instead of title races in many cases. With player chemistry something that will come with time, how does coaching play into this?
United did not give Moyes much time, which it attempted to correct by giving Louis van Gaal two full seasons. With that still not up to the desired standards of the club, Mourinho was brought in. Mourinho is a proven manager, especially in his first season with clubs, and United knew what they were getting into with him. He is coming off a horrendous season with Chelsea where the Portuguese manager was fired for a far from decent attempt at a title defence. Mourinho may be feeling weak after getting drubbed by his former employer, and he is taking a lot of the blame. However, the blame might not be on him.
It will all come down to how the players act and how they interact with the manager. With Ryan Giggs saying the players acted improper following the end of the match in London, the players need to take a look at themselves to see if they are playing for the badge on the front and not the name on the back and the brand that comes with it. Fans should be patient, but frustration is going to set in and soon enough, similar calls for reform will occur in the same manner that they did with Moyes and Van Gaal. Mourinho will have to turn things around immediately, and it will have to start with the players.