Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is convinced he can maintain his record this season. During his second season as a manager at clubs, he has gone on to lift the league title. The Portuguese manager led Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan and Real Madrid to league titles in his second season at each club, something he will be expected to do at United this season. Last season, United won the FA Community Shield, the EFL Cup, and the UEFA Europa League, earning a place in the group stages of the Champions League this season, which United could not do by finishing sixth in the Premier League, the competition the club found tougher than the others.
Mourinho won three Premier League titles with Chelsea during his two spells as the manager and by the end of the season, it will have been five years since United last lifted the trophy with the Portuguese special one aiming to win Manchester United their 21st league title, which would be a great occasion. Speaking during his press conference on Friday, comments which were embargoed for Saturday’s newspapers stated Mourinho as suggesting he will aim for a league title this season, keeping his record in tact. The Mirror reported the United manager as saying:
“It’s not because I’ve always done it that I’m going to do it again.
“There’s no relation between clubs, countries, seasons and periods. So obviously there’s no guarantee. Or do I think I’m going to win it because I always win in the second season? Not at all.
“I just think naturally that a manager in the second season knows the players better, knows the club better.
“I don’t say the league because I’ve been in this league for a long time. But we’re in a position to do better quality work than we did in the first season.
“So I’m convinced I have – not just the hope – but the conviction that our second season, in terms of the quality of our team, is going to be better.
“I have the conditions to deliver a better team than I did in the first season. If that’s going to mean better results and the title, I don’t know.”
United finished sixth in the Premier League last season, falling well short of the top four, but 24 points shy of league champions Chelsea, who the previous season had suffered poor form, finishing tenth in the league. United seem to be written off by many with winning the title classed as impossible, but if Chelsea can turn from chumps to champions in the space of a season, I am sure Manchester United can do the same. United have always been written off. Back to when they were dominating the English top-flight, many were suggesting United could not do the inevitable. Alan Hansen said you could not win anything with kids, Liverpool fans suggested United would never catch up with their 18 league title haul, and United did win with kids and have won 20 league titles. When you write someone off, they become that little bit more determined. Mourinho continued by saying:
“The challenge is to win more matches than we did. By scoring more or conceding less? I don’t know.
“We lost only one match at home and in the cups we never lost, in the Europa League we never lost, but we had too many draws.
“It would be better to lose two or three matches, but win three or four more and then we would have six or eight more points, and then be in a different position in the table.
“We had lots of dominance at home, lots of chances, lots of matches where the result could and should have been 2-0 or 3-0, but in the end was 1-1.
“I know all of that, but to have a better position in the table we need to win more matches.
“I don’t feel more or less pressure than last season. But we have to put ourselves in a position in the Premier League that allows us to fight for the title.”
This summer United have added three more players to their team, £30 million Victor Lindelof, £35 million Nemanja Matic, a title winner with Chelsea last season and £75 million signing Romelu Lukaku, brought in to replace the goals scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season and give United that extra bit of physicality in the forward line. There is even a chance that Ibrahimovic could be back before the turn of the year with United discussing bringing him back for the second half of the season, once he has proved his fitness, recovering at the club’s AON Training Complex throughout the summer. It has been a while since United challenged for the Premier League crown, and this season could be the best chance yet. First stop, sending West Ham United packing on Sunday.