Manchester United’s Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla has sparked plenty of debate about the job manager Jose Mourinho is doing at Old Trafford.
Recent home victories in the Premier League against Chelsea and Liverpool should have sealed a top four finish this term, but United are still a long way adrift of local rivals Manchester City.
The measure of the task Mourinho inherited at Old Trafford shouldn’t be underestimated, although a serious challenge must be forthcoming next term if his time at the club is to be viewed as a success.
Read on to find out the three things United must do to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League titles next season.
Get the ‘superstars’ performing
It’s fair to say that neither Paul Pogba or Alexis Sanchez have produced the goods for United on a consistent basis.
Pogba has often looked a shadow of the player who was so impressive at Juventus, while Sanchez has done little to justify his massive salary since joining from Arsenal.
The French midfielder has yet to recognise the importance of getting behind the ball quickly when possession is lost and he would do well to spend some time watching videos of the likes of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane to improve this side of his game.
Sanchez’s arrival at the club was supposed to be the catalyst for United to close the gap on City, but the Chilean forward has been disappointing so far.
Lots of pundits have claimed that Pogba and Sanchez have upset United’s balance, but if Mourinho can resolve the problem it would be worth using this Betchain bonus code to back United to win silverware next season.
Resolve their defensive issues
Eric Bailly and Phil Jones looked like they were forming a formidable centre-half pairing earlier in the season, but injuries have led to Mourinho regularly shuffling his defence.
Victor Lindelof has struggled to adapt to the Premier League and United desperately need to sign someone to slot in alongside Bailly.
Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti and Tottenham star Toby Alderweireld have been touted for moves to Old Trafford. In an ideal world Mournho would sign both players, but adding one or the other to his squad would be an improvement on what he currently has at his disposal.
United’s full-back areas are also a cause for concern. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have played well this term, but both are heading to the latter stages of their careers.
Luke Shaw has struggled to convince Mourinho that he can nail down the left-back spot and United continue to be linked with other full-backs.
Celtic’s Kieran Tierney and Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi would be excellent additions to the squad and help to improve United’s defensive options.
Clear out the dead wood
United still have plenty of players on the books who simply haven’t delivered on a consistent enough basis.
The likes of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini aren’t the types to build serious Premier League and Champions League challenges around.
Mourinho must move the vast majority of these players along and improve his squad with replacements who are capable of making their mark in a United shirt.
The Red Devils’ boss has given six academy graduates their debuts over the last 18 months, while others have had involvement with the first team in training.
Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah look good bets to follow in the footsteps of youngsters like Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay and herald a return to the days when United had more than a sprinkling of home-grown talent.
The jury is still out on whether Mourinho will be viewed as a success at Old Trafford and this summer could be one of the most important in the club’s recent history.