If anyone can help Manchester United to evolve and return to their former glory, it’s Jose Mourinho. Despite the results, you can see from the last four or five games that Manchester United are starting to take shape. They have been more dominant than the other team. The signs are all there, Mourinho is gradually taking them back to where they want to get to.
He is still the ‘Special One’. Football is crazy in that if you get three or four bad results people want to start getting rid of you. Mourinho has come in off the back of three years of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, and he has had to deal with their appointments and their style of play. There are players in that side that Jose will want to get rid of, and players that he will want to bring in.
You won’t see a full-strength Mourinho team until next year, and only then can you judge him.
Critics will keep asking, ‘Is he the right man for the job?’ You never are the right man at Manchester United until you start winning trophies and titles. But Jose has the best CV in the world and you only have to look at the honours he won at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid to see that.
Three Premier Leagues, two Serie As, a La Liga, two Champions League titles and plenty more to boot. You won’t get any other manager with credentials like that, and you need one of that stature to take United forward. But fans need to be patient.
It took Sir Alex Ferguson six years to win a title, and when he came to United in the 1985/86 season people said he wasn’t good enough. When he brought me and Gary Pallister in, people moaned that we weren’t good enough. We finished a disappointing 12th in the league that year.
Manchester United come with big expectations. You should obviously be winning leagues, but you should also be winning cups and playing against the biggest teams in the world. With Fergie, we didn’t win the title until 1992/93, but by then we’d won the FA Cup, we’d beaten Barcelona in the Cup Winners’ Cup and we were collecting silverware.
Fans always want to be competing for trophies, and this is where Jose Mourinho can step up if his league campaign continues to struggle. He’s still in the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the Europa League.
A top four spot seems to be slipping further and further away as teams like Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal kick into another gear and United drop points. This makes the Europa League a crucial avenue to the Champions League next season. What is the Champions League without Manchester United in it? They have to be in it. They have to be playing against the best teams with the best players. The fans want it, the players want it and the club want it.
United fans have been brought up on their teams creating chances, scoring goals and playing exciting football. They ran out of patience with Moyes & Van Gaal because they couldn’t see that happening, but under Mourinho there’s signs that he is getting the team where they need to be.
In the first 45 minutes of the game against Everton, United looked outstanding, as they have for the last few games. They are going the right way, and there’s no doubt Mourinho is the man to take them back to where they belong.