Saturday 10 September 2016

Reality check for Jose and United as City take the honours

Jose Mourinho is a perfect fit for Old Trafford but this was never going to be a quick fix after the last three years of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

United look stronger and more physically imposing with the addition of players like Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Eric Bailly but it is up front where he has the big dilemma.

Ibrahimovic is the main man but the question is how does Jose fit in his array of attacking riches around him?

The United boss has Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial while he must also work out how to utilise Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata.

This selection looked a bit mix and match but Mourinho is a manager who specialises in finding successful solutions.
The Portuguese gave his summer signing Mkhitaryan his first start of the season in an unfamilar right-wing role and although Mourinho had always maintained the Armenian would not play 90 minutes it was no surprise when he was replaced by Marcus Rashford after a disappointing first half. 

Mourinho also put on Ander Herrera for Jesse Lingard for the second 45, but City survived an improved United showing to maintain their flawless start to the season.

This was the first setback for Jose's new-look United side, but it would be churlish to not give City credit for a simply superb first half showing that already marks them down as the team to beat this season.

The visitors were in a completely different class to Mourinho's expensively assembled outfit as they overran us in midfield, created space and chances and remained cool and composed when under pressure.

We showed them too much respect but it was a magnificent first 40 minutes of clinical passing, precision, pace and movement that did not allow United a sniff and left our midfield, including £89 million world record buy Paul Pogba, as virtual spectators. 

If control and flair put City in command during that first half, then the second was a very different approach of resolve, resilience and game management as they survived a late United bombardment. 

Guardiola stalked his technical area, micro-managing ever aspect of City's game, while Mourinho crouched and made notes as the match progressed.

United still remain very much a work in progress and this defeat will only highlight that we're yet to be the finished article under Mourinho but the season is only a month old and this setback - after three wins from four-  will hardly have the Old Trafford alarm bells ringing. 

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