When Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager in 2016, many fans thought that the he proven winner was in place that could finally alter the club’s fortunes.
Three years on, and ten months since Mourinho’s sacking, United are in an even worse mess with an inexperienced manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm.
Mourinho’s first competitive game in charge as United boss was a 3-1 Premier League victory away at Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.
We take a look at Mourinho’s starting eleven that day, with five players remaining in the current United squad:
David De Gea
The Spaniard has remained the number one at the club since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. He has consistently been United’s best player during the barren spell since Ferguson’s retirement.
A good servant for the Reds that was a mainstay at right-back in the Mourinho era. Valencia captained the side for Mourinho’s greatest triumph as United boss in the Europa League final victory over Ajax in Stockholm. Valencia left Old Trafford after his contract run out this summer and is now playing for Ecuadorian side L.D.U. Quito.
The Ivorian international had huge promise when he was brought in by Mourinho but has been plagued by injuries at the club. He is expected to be available for selection for Solskjaer in the new year after sustaining knee ligament damage in the pre-season game against Tottenham.
Played left-back, central midfield and centre-back during his time at United after being brought in by Louis Van Gaal. Blind is a fantastic reader of the game and many fans question whether he should have been sold by Mourinho. The versatile Dutchman is now back at Ajax where he played a key role in their excellent run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.
Shaw remains Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first choice left-back at Manchester United but is currently ruled out through injury. The Englishman endured a tough time when Mourinho was at the club; he was publicly criticised by his manager and his development halted.
Fellaini often became the scapegoat of the Mourinho era as United relied on his aerial presence when chasing games. In truth, he scored lots of important goals during Mourinho’s reign but was not fancied by Solskjaer and has spent the last nine months playing in China with Super League side Shandong Luneng.
The Spanish midfielder has made three appearances for Ligue 1 champions PSG since his arrival this summer. It still remains baffling that he was not replaced in the summer transfer window after the club were aware he was going to leave on a free in May after a new contract was not agreed.
Mata scored the first goal in the Mourinho era, and played many games under the Portuguese tactician despite concerns that he would not be suited after he was sold during Mourinho’s second spell in charge at Chelsea.
It became quite clear fairly early on in Mourinho’s spell in charge that Rooney no longer had what it took to play regularly for the Reds. United’s record goalscorer has had a rollercoaster journey since he was eventually sold to Everton as part of the Romelu Lukaku transfer. Rooney is currently at MLS side DC United, but is about to take up a player/coach role at Championship side Derby County.
Martial was another player who did not enjoy a good relationship with Mourinho, who often left the Frenchman on the bench towards the end of his spell in charge of the club. But he is arguably now United’s best attacker and Solskjaer desperately needs him back from injury to take the pressure off Marcus Rashford who has not been delivering in front of goal.
The ‘Swedish hero’ was synonymous with all of Jose Mourinho’s successes while in charge at United. There had been suggestions that he should make a shock return to Old Trafford to boost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s light attacking options. The 38-year-old is still banging the goals in at MLS outfit LA Galaxy.