The last Manchester United were getting on an international break, before the September matches, we talked about an important run of matches awaiting the Red Devils. These were the words from back then, when a situation was different than it is now.
What is very important here is that all five of these matches are truly winnable. Think about how important this run of matches is. Few weeks ago, Man United had consecutive Premier League losses, conceding three goals in each of them. Before them was a run of three matches away from home, while Jose Mourinho was under immense pressure. Three matches later and Man United seem to be getting a momentum.
We talked about how United’s season could be defined in a very positive way if the team was to win all five of the matches before the October break. In the end, Jose Mourinho’s players only managed to beat Newcastle United and that was after a late surge, trailing by two goals for the most part of the match.
But now, as some players are getting ready to play for their national sides, and other ones are training in Manchester, the situation will be completely different. Man United are in a crisis, with the worst start in the top flight in the last 29 years and there has been plenty of turmoil surrounding Jose Mourinho, Paul Pogba, the rest of the squad and even Ed Woodward and club hierarchy. Also, the matches ahead should be a lot tougher than those against Wolves, West Ham or Derby.
Coming after the October break and before the November one, Man United will play six matches – first up is Chelsea away, than at home against Juventus and Everton, before travelling to Bournemouth. The run will be ended with another two away matches – against Juventus in Champions League and then a Manchester Derby four days later.
A month ago we talked about United having a great chance to continue good results, to continue their winning run. That was far from happening and Mourinho’s place in the dugout was not secured at one point. What is then realistic now? What would make Man United fans content?
Of all Premier League rivals, only Everton are not above United in the standings and two Juventus clashes could bring a big toll on the players. If Manchester United’s season is to have any chance of being regarded as a decent one, than the wins against biggest rivals must start happening.
However, for that, Mourinho and his players need to step up and heavily. What we have seen from the past five matches has been appalling for the best part of it. Chelsea and Man City are currently on a completely different level than United and the same could be said of Juventus.
What if Man United are still mid-table when the next international break arrives? Will both Mourinho and Woodward go amidst terrible results? For Manchester United, there is plenty to lose in the next month, both on and off the pitch, but also, there is a lot to win.
Still, that does not seem so realistic at this point. Hopefully Stamford Bridge will see a different Man United 12 days from now.