Monday 20 August 2018

Jose Mourinho in focus: A look at the Manchester United manager's performance in win over Leicester

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauds fans after the match
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauds fans after the match

Rory Dollard

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has cut a frustrated figure throughout pre-season but was able to celebrate a home win to kick off the Premier League season.

Here we monitor the Red Devils boss during the 2-1 victory over Leicester.

SELECTION

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Mourinho's first team sheet of the season was the small 'c' next to Paul Pogba's name. Relations between the pair continue to draw interest and speculation in equal measure so handing the World Cup winner the captain's armband constituted a statement of public support. His starting XI was a mix-and-match affair in terms of those whose pre-seasons were delayed by involvement in Russia - Pogba and Marcus Rashford deemed fit to enough to take the field while Romelu Lukaku began on the bench. There was also a rare look at Andreas Pereira and a debut for Fred.

TACTICS

With Lukaku among the substitutes Mourinho granted Rashford his wish of a start in the central striking role, a modest audition which was halted after 65 minutes. He also paired up Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof in the heart of defence, the latter preferred to Chris Smalling, and saw some encouraging signs from a partnership that is still in its infancy after more than a year at the club together.

United dropped deep enough after their opening goal to be taunted by away fans for 'parking the bus' but with conservative substitutions - Scott McTominay and Marouane Fellaini ahead of Anthony Martial - they held their lead.

DEMEANOUR

The Portuguese patrolled his technical area for most of the game, occasionally hunching down to make a note but rarely retreating for the comfort of the dugout. For the most part he cut an impassive figure, barely showing a flicker of recognition at the penalty award or Pogba's conversion from 12 yards.

Yet the fires were clearly burning beneath the surface. The final half-hour saw the veneer crack as he became ever more vocal with his players, nervously checked his watch on multiple occasions and flung his arms in the air as Lukaku missed a one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel. He eventually allowed himself a full-blown fist-pumping celebration when Luke Shaw doubled the lead.

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