When the old guard approves the new guard, it can only mean good things are ahead. For Manchester United, the approval of Jose Mourinho’s appointment from the club’s most legendary manager is certainly all that fans can ask for. Sir Alex Ferguson’s endorsement of Mourinho does not come as a surprise after a sub-par second season from Louis van Gaal. Mourinho taking charge at Old Trafford will be a dramatic change, but it could be the change that is needed to spark something special at the Theatre of Dreams. Ferguson values the record that Mourinho brings to United, saying:
“I think there’ll be a massive improvement. I think Jose was wrong to go back to Chelsea. It’s always difficult when you go back somewhere for a second time.
“He’s won the European Cup twice with different clubs and won titles with all the clubs he’s been at. You can’t ignore his record and I think Manchester United is the right kind of club for him.”
Mourinho had a rough year at Chelsea in the 2015/16 season, even worse than Van Gaal’s most recent season. He was sacked long before the end of the season, and Ferguson does not seem fazed by that. Van Gaal had success in other leagues, but not the Premier League when he first signed with United. Mourinho has prior success in England, which brings an allure about him that was not seen in Van Gaal. Mourinho knows what needs to be done to win, and that is what is most important for United in the club’s current state.
What Mourinho brings to United is a successful past in the Premier League along with consistent success in the UEFA Champions League. Though United will not be in the Champions League in Mourinho’s debut season as manager, the club will push for berth into the competition again and gun for the Premier League title. Mourinho has been extremely successful in both competitions and the Portuguese boss will get a chance to work with a great amount of talent at United.
Mourinho has a different attitude that is similar to what Ferguson had. It is a sense of confidence and desire to succeed. He is aware of the challenges he will face following a dreadful end to his career at Chelsea. United need that edge that Mourinho brings and should get some consistency from it. The work that will be done will be long and hard to accomplish but United did not have a terrible season last year. The Red Devils finished above Liverpool and won the FA Cup, but the deal breaker seemed to be the failure to qualify for Champions League football.
The Premier League is becoming more brutal each year. With more teams having more money and better players, the top four is difficult to predict. The fact that Leicester City is coming into the season as defending champions is simply incredible. West Ham United made a move up the table last season and nearly had a late push for the top four. United will have to be smart and the individual players will have to work as a unit to get back to the Champions League and challenge for the Premier League title.
Without Champions League football, it will be interesting to see if Mourinho will value the Europa League, which could guarantee Champions League berth if United win the tournament. Liverpool came close but fell short in the final against Sevilla, who won the competition for the third straight year. United’s strategy will be difficult to grasp because of the unpredictability that is the Premier League. The long-term goals are clear, but the short-term ideas will only become clear as the season gets going. Mourinho is under a lot of pressure at United and will not have the time to make mistakes. Having Ferguson back him is a great boost for him and will help his already high level of confidence. Then again, Ferguson also favoured David Moyes back in 2013, so it is not definite that Mourinho is pleased with Ferguson’s blessing. Nevertheless, Mourinho is in charge and he will be sitting in the hot seat that faces the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand when the season rolls around.