Sunday 18 March 2018

Jose Mourinho's to-do list: Five pressing matters he must address at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho has officially begun work as Manchester United manager
Jose Mourinho has officially begun work as Manchester United manager

Luke Edwards

The Special One has landed and he has a big task on his hands. Here are five issues he needs to address as soon as possible.

Meet as many people as possible

Like every person starting a new job, Mourinho will need to get to know his new surroundings, meet the staff at the training ground, his secretary, medical staff, security and so on.

It is a chance to get vital, but unseen, relationships off to a good start. It is not the glamorous side of the job, but first impressions last, so today is a crucial one. Get everyone onside and pulling in the same direction behind the scenes and Mourinho will have won a vital first battle in his new role. It really does make things easier for a manager if he has a team behind him who like, as well as respect, him.

Disturb Wayne Rooney's holiday

Rooney will be sore. He will be ashamed, he will be angry, he will be experiencing new feelings of vulnerability and he will be fearing his career is unravelling. As the captain of an England team that has just exited a major championship in excruciatingly embarrassing fashion, Rooney will be suffering more than most. His own performance against Iceland was arguably his worst in an England shirt.

Wayne Rooney is yet to win an FA Cup with Manchester United

Mourinho will need to rebuild the confidence of the Manchester United captain and nurture him back to form. Rooney is clearly not the player he once was and his international future is uncertain, but he remains a pivotal figure at Old Trafford and the new manager needs him, not just as a player, but as a leader in the dressing room. In the short term, his relationship with Rooney is a top priority.

Ring Paul Pogba's agent

The France international has not had the sort of impact at the Euros that the pre-tournament hype suggested, but there have still been enough flashes of brilliance to prove he is one of the world's best all-round midfielders. He could be the best signing (resigning) United have made in years and this is a deal Mourinho needs to pull out all the stops to achieve.

Paul Pogba is a wanted man

United need a star like Pogba to launch the Mourinho era. The Juventus player is heading towards the peak years of his career and is coveted by all the top clubs in Europe. It would be a marvellous coup if they land him and Mourinho needs to turn on the charm with those who will help influence his decision. He then needs to make sure Ed Woodward is ready with the cheque book (online bank details) to sign him.

Get to know the young players at the club

If there has been one criticism of Mourinho throughout his career it is that he is always reluctant to give young players a chance in the first team. Indeed, it is one of the main arguments used by those who did not think he was the right man to manage a club like Manchester United, which has always tried to bring through their own players from the Academy.

Nicky Butt has recently taken charge of United's Academy and Mourinho needs to speak to him as soon as possible so he can evaluate the strength of the development squad. Butt will also be able to recommend players who should be allowed to train with the first team during pre-season.

Mourinho must not ignore the youth team set up at United and he needs to show he is interested in offering a pathway from Academy to first team.

Decide whether he is going to sell Juan Mata

Having sold Mata to Manchester United because he did not think the Spaniard fitted into his system at Chelsea, the player will have spent all summer expecting to be told he can find a new club as soon as he returned to training.

Mata is an influential figure at Old Trafford and Mourinho must not allow uncertainty to turn into resentment in case it poisons the atmosphere. If he really does not think Mata can play for him, he needs to make it clear quickly so that a transfer can be arranged.

Jose Mourinho sold Juan Mata to Manchester United when they were both at Chelsea.

There will be no shortage of interest in the 28-year-old and Everton are already preparing a bid. If he's not wanted, get him out of the door as fast as possible. If he is part of his plans, tell him, reassure him and publicly put an end to the media speculation.

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