Manchester United never do things the easy way. Even when the club was sweeping up all before them, they sought to do it with more difficulty than others would perhaps choose to. Since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, this tradition has continued, as each manager since has brought about their own complications to ensure the club experience one of its worst patches of form in the most elaborate of fashions.
The appointment of Jose Mourinho was supposed to be simple, it was supposed to be the perfect marriage that delivered instant success and the type of football we fans grew so used to over the decades previous. Three years later and it seems the rot is set.
This is until two weeks before the international break mind you. Though the scoreline is not one we look back upon fondly, cast your minds back to the first 45 minutes against Tottenham at Old Trafford. The shackles appeared to be off as United made a busy and electrifying start to a game they would eventually be worse than second best in, it suddenly perked the Old Trafford faithful up and gave those at home the opportunity to perch closer to the edge of their seats as they had been allowed for what feels a generation.
READ MORE: Carragher agrees with Mourinho’s rant while reiterating view Rashford may need to leave Man Utd
Yes, the defeat was derisory, conceding three goals at home can never be excused, but it seemed to set a prelude for what might be on the horizon. And fortunately for us all, it appears to be the case.
A week later and United set to the task against Burnley, and again the first 45 minutes were United’s most swashbuckling, however, this time the chances were taken and the lead was established. This time Mourinho’s men had a cushion with which to work and the manager could afford to revert to his preferred style of play. It was United’s game to lose, and they held on without issue. The story was similar against high-flying Watford where the work on the training ground was apparent with two goals manufactured from set plays. The ending was more uncomfortable, but the result equally as satisfying as before the dreaded break. Three years into the job, has Mourinho finally sussed out his plan?
It has long been clear that his trust in his defence has been displaced as the likes of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof bounce from game to game making the art look akin to mastering brain surgery, Luke Shaw was overweight and out of form and the only constants being 2 ageing full-backs who have learned the trade on the job. These factors certainly bore some significance in how the side was set up to play, and remedying the issue was never going to be simple with a midfield inconsistent at best and no natural wingers in the squad. It was a headache that hindered progress last season and for 2 weeks threatened to do the same to this, perseverance was key.
Nothing is set in stone, but there is food for thought on the plate and certainly, a reason to allow ourselves maybe a bit of positivity in the future. It’s taken copious tickets, costing a fair amount, and wasn’t done in any simple manner, but the lottery seems to be winning. Wolves on the 22nd will be an excellent litmus test for the new mantra but no more than patience is needed on the fans part. He’s always known what he’s doing, honestly.