Despite an encouraging 3-1 away victory against Swansea City last weekend, United sit sixth in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of first placed Liverpool – underwhelming feat for a club who have been so used to dominating the Premier League spectrum.
With Jose Mourinho now United’s third boss in four seasons, it’s clear to see the issues are far deeper-rooted then just the manager. Fans and media alike demand United throw money at the problem – after all, it’s the obvious thing to do, right?
But then of course, Manchester United have spent £500 million since Sir Alex Ferguson left…
So why are United still faltering when they boast such an illustrious manager alongside a squad oozing with star-studded talent?
Time – something United and the fans are still yet to invest into the right manager.
Although United were stuck with Louis van Gaal for two seasons. His outdated and somewhat lacklustre ‘philosophy’ just wasn’t suited to the Premier League. Moreover, Louis van Gaal was never going to be a long-term option – he made his position abundantly clear by regularly stating his intention to only stay for three seasons.
Manchester United have spent £514 million since the turn of Ferguson’s era – staggering when you take into consideration the Scotsman only spent £546.5 million across 26 years at the helm.
Manchester United’s three managerial changes and a major overhaul of the side have severely stalled the transition out of the golden Ferguson era. Although heavy expenditure was due – particularly given how underinvested United were in Ferguson’s latter years – United are now a completely different team.
Shockingly only seven players remain from Sir Alex Ferguson’s acclaimed era, just four seasons ago – and that’s before mentioning high-profile backroom departures such as René Meulensteen and Paul McGuinness.
The Devils need to give Mourinho time to implement his changes, and to allow the players to truly acclimatise to the club. But of course, time is such a precious commodity in the modern game. But despite mass impatience, we need to invest into Jose Mourinho, and throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer.
United have a terrific side, a fantastic blend of experience, raw talent and world-class ability. But as the team has been so recently formed, the spine of the side are still alien to each other. They need time to click, bed in, and familiarise themselves with each other, and of course the manager.
Of course, the irony is United didn’t really sign Mourinho for longevity – particularly because he’s never stayed at a club longer then three seasons. The Portuguese is renowned for delivering trophies in short-term succession.
However, in a career that has toured him across Europe, Mourinho boldly stated an intention to create a ‘ten-year dynasty’ with Chelsea in 2015. Now in what he regards as his dream role, it’s safe to suspect Mourinho will intend to stick around, even if he’s wary of saying so.
Although the table frustratingly doesn’t reflect it, United have actually made remarkable progress on the pitch – plying some of the most entertaining, direct and attacking football seen from a United side in years. They have suffered from inconsistency, something I believe that is borne from unfamiliarity within the team.
Moreover, it’s still widely argued that Jose Mourinho doesn’t know his best eleven – so with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan yet to be tested, how can we resort to sanctioning yet more unnecessary splashes in the market? So although the likes of Antoine Griezmann may flirt with a transfer, we simply must give time to the players we already have.
With some of Europe’s most exciting young blood at his disposal, Mourinho has the ingredients to make an all-conquering side. Although it’s tireless asking for more time, our managerial changes and overturn in staff have severely stalled the team.
My message? Stay patient. Jose Mourinho needs to show long-term strategy, and bring through some of the young boys and make the most of the players he has before United make anymore-big signings. With the January transfer window fast approaching, we must resist the temptation to make any inflated panic signings. Mourinho will likely make any of his changes next summer – a year after extensively assessing his side.
But of course, Mourinho needs to buy himself time with good results. Now the title is seemingly very unlikely (although not out of the realm of possibility), the squad will ultimately fall short of what is typically expected of Manchester United.
But, with the popularity of impatience in the game today, the club must stick to consistency and managerial longevity; after all, Sir Alex Ferguson needed it!