Monday 23 May 2016

Jose Mourinho: 10 priorities at Old Trafford

10. Clear out the dead wood

There is certainly enough around United to set up a fire sale so who might Mourinho target?

There are plenty of underachievers that might catch his attention.

31-year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger is injury prone and past his best and Michael Carrick is 35 and out of contract in June: Mourinho may feel they are both surplus to requirements.

Memphis Depay, a flop since his £18 million move from PSV last year does not fit the Mourinho template and Van Gaal did not even consider him worthy of a place in the FA Cup final squad.

Phil Jones was once considered one of England's brightest products but has been constantly blighted by injuries whilst Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera will also come under close scrutiny.

9. Settle Juan Mata's future

Juan Mata is one of United's most popular figures, with players and fans alike and this will only have increased with his equaliser in the Cup win against Crystal Palace.

The 28-year-old held similar status at Chelsea but it cut no ice with Mourinho when he felt Mata was not mobile or pacy enough and did not contribute enough defensively, to fit his needs.

Mourinho was happy to sanction the £37 million move for the two-time Chelsea Player of the Year and his arrival does not sound like good news for one of the game's genuine nice guys.

8. Answer the Giggs question

Mourinho's appointment will mean Ryan Giggs is once again passed over for a job many- including senior officials at United- thought would be his.
He has been virtually the silent sideman to David Moyes and then Van Gaal and Mourinho always works with his own staff Rui Faria and Silvino Louro- what influence would Giggs have and would he simply be a symbolic nod to United's glittering history?

It may be time for Giggs to go elsewhere and prove his managerial credentials for the United job rather than remain a token appointment.

7. Win over the Old Trafford doubters

United pride themselves on a certain style and Sir Bobby Charlton has publicly expressed doubts about Mourinho's demeanour in the past, saying "he pontificates too much"
It may well be that United demand for Mourinho to ditch the confrontational approach that has bought him into constant conflict with authority throughout his career.
Mourinho has shown nothing but reverence for United and Old Trafford in the past and he is smart enough to know there will be those who do not see him as the right man for a United manager- he can ease those fears by dealing in the one currency he knows best - success.

6. Give United's youth its chance

United have a history of developing and watching with pride as they graduate to senior level but Mourinho, by contrast, has earned a reputation on battle-hardened players he can rely on.
Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne were swiftly sold under the Portuguese at Chelsea, but he has youth to work with at United with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
All earmaked as future stars who should be flourished not cast aside, even 21-year-old Adnan Januzaj is a player United retain high hopes for.

5. Deliver success with style

Questions have already been raised about Mourinho's pragmatic approach that has winning as its sole objective.
He will need to add dash and colour to enliven Old Trafford and reignite a fanbase bored into submission under Moyes and Van Gaal in the last three seasons.

It would be fallacy to suggest that this is beyond Mourinho and the statistics back this up.
Records tumbled when he was at Real Madrid, his Chelsea side scored the join highest amount of goals in his second title-winning season in 2006 and they scored 73 goals last term.

Mourinho is not a one trick pony.

4. Challenge Pep's profile

When City announced that Pep Guardiola would be arriving as their boss this summer, it was a stunning coup and a shot across United's bows.
In recruiting Mourinho as manager, United are recreating a bitter, intense, personal and footballing rivalry from their time together in La Liga at Real and Barcelona.
The Reds appointment of Mourinho can easily be seen as their response to City- a declaration that they are not prepared to stand aside and let them have things their own way.
United will hope that Mourinho will challenge Guardiola's profile, prove they mean business once more and- most importantly- compete with the Catalan for trophies.

3. Keep DDG

Spanish keeper David de Gea is quite simply United's best and most important player, the 25 year old wins points and matches and his importance has become even more influential since his failed move to Madrid last year.
De Gea signed a new four year contract last September, but there is the lingering fear that Real may return to try again- Mourinho knows how hard his chances of success would be hit if he left.
He must make it his business to ensure De Gea is satisfied about his ambitions.

2. Freshen up a stale squad

City will move their aspirations on to a new level under Guardiola while Chelsea will expect to fight for honours again under Antonio Conte.
Liverpool will also be strong under Klopp and Mourinho must lead United's response.
He will surely focus on rebooting United's central defence that, Chris Smalling apart, lacks class and quality.
Mourinho wanted Everton's John Stones last summer but may have a battle to secure his services and has also been linked with Raphael Varane and Juventus's Paul Pogba.
Will he go for a Hollywood signing in 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic who he managed at Inter Milan or Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
Mourinho will know United's squad needs urgent work and has probably prepared for his arrival months in advance

1. Bring back the glory days

Easier said than done with competition increasing with the arrivals of Guardiola and Conte as well Jurgen Klopp getting his feet under the table at Liverpool.
Mauricio Pochettino will build on a fine season at Spurs while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will want to prove that his optimism is not misplaced.
There will be reservations about Mourinho at United but they have gone for the managerial default option when it comes to success.
He is as close to a guarantee of trophies as it gets.
 He will want to be challenging for the Premier League right away- that is what United will demand and they will give him the financial firepower to help him achieve his objective. 

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