Monday 23 October 2017

5 issues Jose Mourinho must resolve during first 100 days in charge at Man United

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is the new Manchester United manager
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Jose Mourinho will be at his most powerful in his first 100 days as Manchester United manager - and he needs to make the most of that authority to lay foundations for success at Old Trafford.

After the misery of his final few months as Chelsea manager earlier this season, Mourinho’s enduring pursuit of his dream job came to an end with confirmation of his appointment as United manager on Friday morning.

Make no mistake, this is the job he was craved throughout his career, with his courtship of United including interviews with the club's website and this sit down chat with MUTV when he was manager of their Champions League opponents Real Madrid.

At last, he has United in his hands and here is your guide to the pressing issue that will clog up his inbox in his first few days as the club's new leader.

End the transfer farce

Manchester United’s transfer dealings over the past three seasons have been nothing short of shambolic, with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward at the centre of a chaotic tale that has seen the club enter negotiations to sign a series of players they had little or no chance of getting.

Sergio Ramos and Neymar are among the host of out of reach transfer targets were pursued by Woodward and United with ridiculous eagerness, with their only major transfer coups coming after their paid huge money to sign the likes of Angel di Maria and Anthony Martial.

Mourinho and his agent Jorge Mendes need to bring some credibility back to United’s transfer policy, with Woodward’s lack of experience in the football business meaning he needs to be sidelines in transfer negotiations.

After Mourinho failed to secure control of transfer dealings at Chelsea, it can be assumed that he will have changed that script before signing his Man Utd contract.

Control his inner demons

Mourinho will face the media for the first time as Man Utd manager expressing a desire to be a statesman of the game, as he follows in the footsteps of football royalty in Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

Yet when the heat of battle boils his blood at the start of the new Premier League season, Mourinho may struggle to control an inner rage that has escaped from within him time and again throughout his management career.

Mourinho needs to turn every rivalry into a war, he needs to give the impression that the world is out to get him and his team, so don’t expect that firebrand attitude to change simply because he has joined English football’s marquee name.

Change the mood at Old Trafford

United fans have been a mix of the depressed as the desperate in the three years since Alex Ferguson’s retirement as the club’s manager, with their fall from grace tough to accept after a quarter of a century of success.

It has resulted in a curiously muted atmosphere among the club’s supporters, with their craving for success tempered by an unpleasant reality that it might never be as good as it was in the Fergie years.

United’s supporters were muted as their side lifted the FA Cup at Wembley last weekend, with their joy diluted by the uncertainty that has enveloped their ambitions of late.

Mourinho gets the chance to change that mood from the negative to the positive.

Out with the old, in with the new

The futures of Juan Mata, Bastian Schweignsteiger, Marouane Fellaini and Memphis Depay will all need to be considered by Mourinho in the coming weeks, with his transfer targets likely to reveal whether any of those four high earners has a future in his Old Trafford dream.

Mata must fear he has played his final game for United after Mourinho off-loaded him in pretty unceremonious fashion at Chelsea, while Schweignsteiger’s injury concerns and Depay’s lack of form during their first seasons at the club suggest their future may lie elsewhere.

Mourinho will also look to make some marquee signings ahead of the new season, with the newspapers likely to move into overdrive predicting who will be in the United line-up when they kick off the first game of another new era in August.

Mourinho is believed to have more control over transfer policy than he has had at any of his clubs so expect big changes in a faltering United line-up.

Win over his doubters

It has been evident for the past three years that there are several high profile figures at Manchester United who are not fans of Mourinho’s firebrand management style, with club director and legend Bobby Charlton among those know to be wary of the coach now in charge of his beloved club.

“Mourinho is a really good coach but that’s as far as I would go really. He pontificates too much for my liking,” said Charlton has he suggested the Portuguese tactician was not fit to be United manager, so it would be useful if the Old Trafford icon now made it clear that he was fully behind the new manager.

Ferguson also has a role to play in offering a swift endorsement to Mourinho, with the signings Mourinho’s will make in the next few weeks setting a tone for his reign at Old Trafford.

Often viewed as a quick fix, Mourinho had every intention of staying at Chelsea for the long-haul and confirmation that his United contract has provision for a minimum of a four year stay at Old Trafford suggests he will aim for an extended spell in Manchester.

This job is likely to define Mourinho’s career and he will do everything he can to learn from the numerous mistakes he has made in the past.

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