August 20, 2017
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has played down his side’s chances of storming the Premier League this season despite beating both West Ham United and Swansea City in 4-0 scorelines which have shown the Old Trafford outfit as a dominant side in the Premier League this season. United are yet to face a team who challenged them last season with their first big test of the season coming against Liverpool in October. Mourinho wants to see if his side can handle adversity. The Portuguese manager has added to his side this summer with Victor Lindelof, Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic joining Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, who arrived last summer.
The first two matches of the season have been promising, seeing United top the Premier League table with eight goals scored, none conceded and six points to the good. There are, however, 36 matches to play so United supporters should not get carried away, no matter how good the early signs are. United won their first three Premier League matches last season and after the first international break, they suffered three defeats in a row; two in the league and one in Europe. That needs to be something United get through this season, or they could be facing a long, hard season once again. Mourinho is none the less pleased with the start but wonders if his side can come back from a goal or two down. The manager said:
“The thing I want to happen is for the team to be losing. So I can see the way we react emotionally.
“At this moment, everything is going in our favour, but it is not always going to be a motorway.
“You can always find difficult journeys and road blocks, and we have to be ready for that.
“It has not happened so far but going a goal behind will be a different challenge and I want to see how these players try to change a result.
“Let’s see how we are when we are in difficulties, when we need the last minutes to win matches.”
The start to the season shows some good signs with goals not only coming from Romelu Lukaku, who has three goals to his name this season, but also Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, both having two each and Eric Bailly getting his first Manchester United goal. Three goals have come from a striker, five have come from midfield, including the wing and further back, which is what Mourinho wanted to see this season, goals coming from all over the pitch. Speaking about the start to the season, which still sees Manchester United at the top of the Premier League after two matches, despite Manchester City and Everton going head-to-head on Monday evening, the manager said:
“Of course I am happy with the way we have started the season. And the quality of our performances has given me even more confidence.
“But I don’t forget that we started last season with six points from our first two matches and still finished sixth.
“That is not a lesson, it’s the reality of football. Two wins are not paradise, just as two defeats are not the end of the world.”
United will be pitted against Leicester City at Old Trafford in the third match of the new season, just before the international break, which is where United slipped up last season. It will be a big match for United, who will want to maintain their winning run to the start of the season. This week will also bring a further seven fixtures this season with the UEFA Champions League draw coming on Thursday and the Carabao Cup third round draw coming on Wednesday. This could see United have to travel some distances between league matches, which could cause some problems, but it could also be very kind to United.