August 12, 2017
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has called on his players to score more goals this season. Last season, goals from the midfield were few and far between and there seemed to be a reliance on striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who could still play for the Old Trafford club this season. The Portuguese manager has called for his players to spread the goals, seemingly calling for the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba to find the back of the net, not relying on Romelu Lukaku to do it week in and week out. Ibrahimovic scored 17 Premier League goals last season, 28 in all competition. Lukaku scored 25 for Everton in the Premier League.
Last season, no other player reached double figures for goals scored in the Premier League. After Ibrahimovic’s 17, Juan Mata was next with six goals. Mourinho suggested that he wanted an improvement in goals scored from all players. distributing the goals throughout the team, which will build confidence, team morale and also show less of a reliance on Lukaku, who may need time to settle in at United, despite scoring his first competitive goal for the club against Real Madrid on Tuesday. Speaking about United reaching the heights of Chelsea in the Premier League and Real Madrid in Europe, Mourinho told the official Manchester United website the following:
“Real Madrid is out of context because it’s a league, and now even more so, where the top teams are much better than the other teams, where the top teams easily win 3-0, 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, so the 126 goals we scored that season are out of context.”
When speaking about his former clubs contributing goals from all areas of the pitch, Mourinho said that he hoped his team could ease the burden on the strikers this season, freely scoring goals from the midfield, even from defenders rushing forward. A goal is a goal and they help to win games. I don’t think Mourinho was playing down the abilities of his strikers, but if you think about it, them feeling responsible for United not scoring in matches would not be right if they were the only ones trying. United have always scored goals from all areas of the pitch and now is the time for players to start shining and doing the same. Mourinho concluded by saying:
“In my other clubs, what I had was more people scoring goals – midfield players scoring goals, wingers scoring goals, central defenders good in the air, scoring goals at set-pieces. We always had that.
“My teams always had the goalscorer – the guy that scores more goals – but then we had the winger that scored 15 goals, the midfield player that scored 10 goals and we had the central defender that scored five goals.
“And, last season, that didn’t happen much – we were focused on the goals that our striker was scoring, and when the striker was not scoring, the team was in a bit of trouble to win matches.”
United look in good stead to face West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday, which should hopefully see them take three points. If United win by four goals or more, they will be at the top of the league, depending on the result between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur, of course. It was not a great start for some Premier League teams this weekend. Arsenal seemed to struggle at times against Leicester City, falling behind but they eventually won 4-3. Liverpool fell to a 3-3 away draw with Watford and Chelsea, the reigning Premier League champions were beaten 3-2 by Burnley with Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas both being sent off. Manchester City beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 in the evening kick off on Saturday.