Home Football English Football A Massive Summer Ahead For Jose Mourinho, But Will It Make Any Difference?

A Massive Summer Ahead For Jose Mourinho, But Will It Make Any Difference?

Manchester United fans face the week from hell, coming fresh off the back of a dour FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea where even if they had won most true United supporters would be cringing at the way it was achieved.

Mourinho cried foul of Antonio Conte’s tactics, when in truth had his side scored first, the bus would have been red.

To make matters worse, the blue half of the city have just celebrated their deserved title success with more scenes like last Monday a real possibility for Pep Guardiola’s side while Liverpool, of all clubs, are in the Champions League final this weekend, where all United fans will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo remembers his old rivalry with the club.

Manchester United meanwhile can only watch. Jose Mourinho has a massive job to overhaul his squad. After two years in the job the club still look further away from winning the league title than ever.

Over that two year period, arguably only Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have worked out, with Eric Bailly apparently frozen out and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic having already departed.

We’re still waiting for the real Alexis Sanchez to arrive and for Paul Pogba to mature.

Sir Alex Ferguson left five years ago, yet on Saturday at Wembley the back four read Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young.

How can this be when certainly two of those four should no longer be wearing the red of United, and the other two are converted wingers having to do a job at the greatest club in the world where money seemingly is no object.

Manchester United’s best defender is Eric Bailly, and his omission from the showpiece final last weekend was a major surprise with perhaps more revelations to emerge from his absence from the first team in recent weeks.

The defence should be built around Bailly with Toby Alderweireld a fantastic addition to the squad should he be available.

Nobody was buying Mourinho’s excuse about giving the guys with a chance of going to the World Cup an opportunity to perform.  Even if that was the case, Saturday was not a day to do so and was already too late for Chris Smalling, who hopefully will use his summer off to find another club.

Smalling should not be the only player saying his goodbyes this summer with a major clearout needed at Carrington.

Luke Shaw should be on the plane for Russia this summer, but like at club level he has let Ashley Young, a former winger, take his spot.

Every manager to have coached Shaw has questioned his lifestyle, attitude and diet. Pochettino, Hodgson, Van Gaal and Mourinho cannot all be wrong. The player has to take some responsibility, and even more frustratingly, the player has shown what he has to offer when given the opportunity.

Luke Shaw will wake up one day in the future and realise he threw away the greatest opportunity most players can only dream of to become a Manchester United legend.

Matteo Darmian is another player who showed early promise and faded quickly. He, like Daley Blind, have been surplus to requirements this season and must move on for the sake of their own careers.

Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have been excellent of late, but Manchester United need quality in both positions with the rumoured addition of Alex Sandro welcome news.

United fans got a boost following the weekends result with rumours that Marouane Fellaini is not renewing his Manchester United contract and could be off to AC Milan. While unfairly made the scapegoat for the past five years, he is not a Manchester United player and his departure will not be mourned.

The toothless attack showed once more on Saturday that changes need to be made despite Mourinho saying he is happy with his attacking options, with midfield and defence his priority.

Alexis Sanchez cannot be much worse next season and a summer away from football might be just what the player needs. While Jesse Lingard has had a positive season with United, it seems either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial will be out the door this summer with the Frenchman looking the likeliest to departure following a mixed season and his failure to make the French World Cup squad.

Mourinho would be wise to hold onto to both, giving Martial more opportunities next season while Marcus Rashford should go out on loan. People forget Rashford is only twenty years of age and needs to be playing regular first team football.

Rashford was thrown into the first team way ahead of schedule and perhaps the expectations of the player are now too high. Harry Kane had four loan moves away from White Hart Lane before finding his feet at Tottenham, and perhaps a loan move for Rashford would do wonders for his long term Manchester United future.

Chelsea’s Willian would add some much needed creativity to Manchester United’s attack. The only negative is his age but his experience could also prove vital.

The midfield needs an overhaul following Michael Carrick’s retirement and the expected departure of Fellaini.  While Ander Herrera does a job, he could find himself down the pecking order this summer.

Fred, Sergej Milinkovic Savic and Jorginho have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford, with all a step up on what Mourinho currently has to choose from.

Of course, it doesn’t matter who Jose Mourinho buys unless he loosens the shackles at Manchester United and lets his side play attacking football, the way their neighbours do and the way all United supporters are crying out for.

It was a welcome relief that the season is over for Manchester United fans, as they watch to see what Mourinho will do this summer. It is clear many changes are needed and perhaps the biggest change of all should be a change in tactics.

While there has been progress and finishing runners up is better than the humiliation of finishing sixth, five years after Sir Alex and the club is still stuck in transition.

It could get a lot worse before it gets better.

Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena

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