Jose Mourinho did not manage to win the Premier League title in his famed second season at the club. Manchester City have been exhilarating and impeccable throughout the season and no wonder that Manchester United stayed behind them. In these circumstances, every team around City, including United, had to understand they will not get anywhere near the trophy.
However, planning for the next season will most definitely affect the way the club will approach the summer transfer window. Simply, Manchester United cannot sit around and be satisfied with staying in second place. The proper attack on City’s great team should be a must next season. Clearly, Jose Mourinho is the man that can launch such an attack, with all of the experience and qualities he has.
Yet, the manager should not be the only one building this team for the next season. Another man should be to work alongside him, whether that would be the sporting director or someone else. Manchester United cannot allow themselves to bring in players that will not fit the long-term plans of the club. Sure, that will be a tough thing to ask, having in mind Mourinho’s strength of character and mentality. At least it seems the Portuguese is aware of the task ahead.
“How many points separate us from Manchester City? Not two, three or four. A lot of points. Some of the people we have, they have to be more consistent in their performance and we need more quality”, said the manager in a press conference.
“I trust some more than others that can bridge that gap. That’s normal. I know the players. I worked with the players for a couple of years. I know them better than anyone. And of course, some of the players I am totally convinced are going to make it, some others I have good hopes that they are going to make it and some others I don’t believe they are going to make it.
“Unless you can do that, and you go in the direction of the perfect squad, you have to keep players you don’t love – when I say love, I say it footballistically – and players you don’t totally believe have the level of the squad. But you have to keep.”
And Mourinho has a point. He realizes that the team needs to be able to do different things in different situations. Versatility can be a very powerful tool, but Manchester United should guard themselves from poor decisions in the market. Mourinho is known for wanting more experienced players – and Willian of Chelsea is the one being mentioned – which in itself is not always a bad thing. The problem is that United do not need to go in that direction right now.
Younger players could suffer from playing – and yes, there is the argument of the best 11 players playing regardless of their age – but also the club has to think about the future. Players like Rashford and Martial are big talents and they need the continuity to prosper fully.
Daniel Storey made a good point on Twitter, saying that these younger players are not being given longer runs in starting XI. Rashford started consecutive Premier League matches on 25 November, while Martial did on 20 January. Changing that could be a good start.