Manchester United head into the international break with two defeats and two victories in the four matches played so far.
They suffered consecutive hiccups against Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur. However, the team returned to winning ways in a convincing fashion against Burnley.
There were major calls to sack Jose Mourinho after the loss against Spurs, but here, I try to imply three reasons why the Portuguese deserves full backing from United’s board.
- He took the team out from the puddle:
Manchester United were in shambles after Louis Van Gaal’s tenure, as despite winning the FA Cup, there was an aura of uncertainty surrounding the club. United had failed to qualify for the Champions League too, and Mourinho undertook a very imbalanced, inexperienced squad. Mourinho has ensured consecutive Champions League qualifications, something that the club did not have before that.
While United’s ambitions are higher than that, he surely has brought some much-required consistency in the club. His record against the top-six clubs last time around was impressive too, as United secured 19 points in the league against their top oppositions, having defeated all of them at least once.
- Board was incompetent in the summer:
Coming into the current season, it was essential that United had a full-fledged squad so that Mourinho could bridge the massive 19 points gap between them and City. However, after luring the likes of Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant (who would be a backup goalkeeper), the board was quite dormant. Ed Woodward’s inability to bring a centre-back and a right-winger means that Mourinho’s demands weren’t fulfilled as such.
Apparently, we saw the difference in the matches against Brighton and Spurs, when United’s lacklustre defending cost them the match. Toby Alderweireld was arguably the difference between United and Spurs, as the Belgian led his backline with aplomb and discipline, quite a contrast to United’s defence. Having not backed Mourinho with his transfer targets, the least the board could do is show him support with the current squad.
- Believe it or not, things are changing:
United’s defeat to Brighton was dismal, but the team has shown signs of improvement in the two matches after that. Mourinho has earned the backing of the fans with his small gestures, and as the fans are with him, the boss is looking to turn things around with some flair this time around. United dominated the proceedings against Spurs, and had it not been for individual mistakes in both the attacking and defensive fronts, the result could have been different.
Against Burnley, there was a dynamism in United’s gameplay that was lacking for long. If the manager and players manage to be consistent with this playing pattern, then gradually the results and outcomes will change for the good.
Currently, United are in the safe hands of Mourinho and the board must not even consider sacking him unless the top 4 is mathematically out of the equation, or unless any other major issue arises.