Manchester United lost its exciting football when it lost Sir Alex Ferguson to retirement. Under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, United’s play slowed down and the winning ways of the Ferguson era came to a halt. This season, Jose Mourinho takes charge and United looks to get back on the winning track. Mourinho has a winning record with Chelsea in the Premier League and knows how to win titles. He coached against United on multiple occasions with several clubs but now is in charge of his dream club. He knows United well, but only from the outside. Now, Mourinho has a chance to restore an attacking culture to United, one that he was familiar with as an opposition coach.
“I have grown up in football as a manager since 2001 more or less and especially when I came to England in 2004, I saw Man United as a winning team, not as always an attacking team. I played sometimes against Man United and Man United was a defensive team.
“I play Real Madrid against United at Madrid and they crossed the midfield line twice and Wayne Rooney played outside left to defend my right back.
“I saw them always as a winning team with an attacking philosophy. A winning team needs to score more goals than they concede. Man United was always a winning team and that’s the challenge for Man United to try to be a winning team in a new era of the Premier League.
“That is much more difficult than before so our job is really difficult but we want to win matches. We want to win competitions and to win isolated matches you can play bad but to win competitions you need to play well, you need to play well. That’s what we want.”
Mourinho will manage United’s first match of the Premier League on Sunday against Bournemouth, and the Portuguese is hoping to spark a title-winning season with the Old Trafford club. A problem that Mourinho has faced since joining the club is the pre-season tour. United’s tour in China turned into a weeklong nightmare. From a 4-1 drubbing against Borussia Dortmund to a forced landing due to weather and a cancelled game, the tour lacked success of past tours. Mourinho was also upset by the amount of time United players have been able to train before the kick-off of the Premier League season, even downplaying United’s performance before the match has taken place.
“I think it’s more difficult, especially because pre-seasons are shorter and pre-seasons are less football and more other areas. It’s very difficult today to be able to in one month pre-season work non-stop with everybody, every day.
“I want to go into the Premier League on day one with 33 training sessions behind me but half of the players are not here.
“The players I started with are the players that are going on loan, other players who are going to the under-21 team and the under-18 team.
“Instead of 33 training sessions, which would be the normal situation 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I have guys who are going into the Premier League day one with eight training sessions.
“You cannot start as a train. You can start good and in condition to win the match at Bournemouth but not at the highest intensity. It’s not possible.”
United have the potential to win the Premier League this year, especially considering the players brought in during the summer transfer window. Paul Pogba cannot play against Bournemouth because of a suspension from the Italian FA for two yellow cards in the Coppa Italia. It is probably best that he does not play because he is not used to his new team-mates. The small ground of Vitality Stadium could cause problems for United and players who are better in the less intimate stadiums. United should come out with three points and hopefully, play with a pace that fans have craved for during the years under Van Gaal.