Monday 30 May 2016

United Faithful Season Review 2015/16: August

It was the worst-kept secret in football: Jose Mourinho has been appointed as the club's new manager and is already preparing for next term ahead of taking office on July 1st.

That seemed a stretch of the imagination last June, when we were looking to the 2015/16 campaign with genuine optimism: Louis van Gaal had led us to a fourth-placed finish and back into the Champions League in his first season in charge and soon set about bolstering his squad.

One that we hoped would- mistakenly as it turned out- prove capable mount a serious and consistent challenge for the title,

Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao were swiftly moved on, as were Robin van Persie, Nani, Rafael, Jonny Evans and Javier Hernandez.
In came Memphis from PSV for £30 million, Italian full-back Matteo Darmian for £18 million, midfield pair Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger with Argentinian keeper Sergio Romero on a free as back up and £36 million man Anthony Martial from Monaco.

We did not start Van Gaal's first season well but, having spent close to £100 million on strengthening the side, early signs are good as a promising pre-season- and the Dutchman's idiosyncrasies going down a storm- mean we go into the new season with new-found belief.

United win three out of four matches on the US Tour and the season opener against Spurs is settled through a solitary Kyle Walker own goal as Sergio Romero impresses on his debut with David de Gea's 'will he won't he' transfer saga still rumbling on. 

Adnan Januzaj scores the winner at Villa as the Reds make it two from two in the league and, four days later, see off Belgian outfit Brugge 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League play-off at Old Trafford.

Memphis shines on his European debut with a brace of goals but the first points of the campaign are dropped the following weekend as a resolute Newcastle rearguard display frustrate United.

Wayne Rooney hits a hat-trick as United complete a 7-1 aggregate thumping of Brugge to qualify for the group stage where we are drawn to face PSV, Russian side CSKA and Bundesliga team Wolfsburg. 

Bogey team Swansea clip the Reds wings again with a third successive 2-1 victory over Van Gaal's side- Juan Mata getting the goal- and United end the opening month in fifth with seven points from twelve in August.

Despite that defeat in south Wales, there is relief and delight for Reds fans everywhere as De Gea's move to Real Madrid falls through and ends with him signing a new four year contract at the club.

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