Friday 19 August 2016

Early days but promising signs for Jose's United

As starts go, Jose Mourinho could not have hoped for much more from his first two matches in charge.

The Mourinho era has begun with two solid and largely comfortable wins against opponents that got the better of Van Gaal's United last term - inspired this time around by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The 34-year-old, signed on a free from PSG, marked his home debut with a combative and confident display that may well prove that Jose's oldest signing could be his shrewdest.

Any concerns that the frenetic pace of the English top flight might not suit him looked to have been swiftly dispelled with his fourth goal in three games following his neat finishes against Leicester and Bournemouth. 

His force of personality could be every bit an asset as his ability for us. 

The Swede's movement and link-up play was significant in a Reds attack that looked far more fluid and lively than it did under the management of Louis van Gaal.

Intriguingly, Ibrahimovic also appears to have bumped skipper Wayne Rooney off penalty duties: he was quick to take responsibility when we were awarded a spot-kick and was duly rewarded with a 25th conversion in 28 attempts. 

Already we can see that Mourinho's imprint has been stamped on this United side: we're moving the ball quicker, getting it wide more, every player knows their job and there's a striking balance between high-tempo attacking interplay and effective defensive play when the need arises.

Meanwhile, Paul Pogba's Old Trafford return, four years after he left Manchester for Juventus, has been eagerly awaited by the fans this summer.

His second debut for the club was delayed at Bournemouth because of suspension and manager Mourinho warned against expecting too much too soon from the world record signing. 

Despite the colossal fee, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Mourinho was right to spend so much money to bring Pogba back to the club.
His performance was largely a positive one, with more touches and passes in the opposing half than any other team mate.
One surging run towards the end of the first half left four Southampton players in his wake and he demonstrated his power with a second-half header that flew narrowly over the bar.

He did, understandably, fade as the match reached its later stages undoubtedly because he has not had a proper pre-season, but the Frenchman found enough energy to blast narrowly off target at the end of an injury-time counter attack.

Early days still, but you can't argue with six points out of six and a squad that looks the strongest its been for years. 

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