Monday, 27 February 2017

EFL Cup win just the start for success hungry Jose

Louis van Gaal led United to FA Cup success in May and was then replaced almost immediately by Jose Mourinho.

That cup victory felt like the end of a story but our fifth League Cup win - for all its good fortune - had the sense of a new chapter.

Mourinho claimed the season's first major trophy as he became the first United boss to win silverware in his maiden campaign in charge.

The Portuguese drew level with his illustrious predecessors Sir Alex and Brian Clough as he lifted the League Cup for a fourth time

History suggests that winning this trophy leads to bigger things. 

A league title - and then the double - followed the 1992 League Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
The success of Sir Alex's 2008 vintage can be traced back to the 4-0 win over Wigan in the final two years previously, which marked the first silverware for the emerging talents of Messers Ronaldo and Rooney. 

This competition is where it all began for Jose, too, with the first of his triumphs back in 2005 during his first season in England with Chelsea.
As with United's victory a year later, it sparked a new era of dominance for the west London side and the Portuguese will demand the same at United. 

Success breeds success and in a few years time this could be earmarked as the moment that  kick-started something special. 

Mourinho was bought to United as the man to revive our fortunes after a depressing and dismal three seasons of chaotic upheaval under David Moyes and Van Gaal.

The joyless existence post-Fergie needed change and in Jose we finally have a silver-laden manager to relish and embrace our history rather than shrink from it. 

Seven months after his appointment, it's a good start for the serial winner but he will want more, with United still in contention to add the FA Cup and Europa League trophies to the cabinet.

An FA Cup win was not enough to save Van Gaal's job, so it figures that a solitary EFL Cup cannot be considered as the limit of the club's ambitions.

Whilst trophy wins provide success and satisfaction, Mourinho's primary ambition must be to lead the team back into the Champions League.

After the world record purchase of Paul Pogba and the Ibra coup, a return to Europe's top table is surely the minimum requirement.

Mourinho looked downbeat throughout Sunday's dramatic denouement because of the modest prize on offer and ragged performance by his side.

He will be aware that there's still a long way to go, but this cup win was another step on the road to our recovery since he took over.

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