Do not judge Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils on their Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in Macedonia
DON’T judge United on the Super Cup final defeat!
The spine of Jose Mourinho’s side could lead them to the title regardless of whether a fourth signing arrives or not.
Mourinho has publicly stated his wish to bring in a fourth player before deadline day, and if executive vice chairman Ed Woodward delivers, it goes from being a very good transfer window, to an excellent one.
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Victor Lindelof from Benfica was the first to arrive, but might need a few months to get used to his new team-mates and the demands of the Premier League.
It’s the additions of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku from Everton that should really excite United supporters though, and ensure that Mourinho’s team hit the ground running in their opening fixture against West Ham United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Both players bring with them proven Premier League quality and in the case of Matic, United have acquired a player who not only knows how to win titles under Mourinho, but provides a steely calmness and control in front of the defence, something that will be so important during the second half of the season.
At the other end of the pitch, Lukaku’s arrival changes the whole dynamic of the attack. The Belgian’s goals will replace the absent Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s, and his pace and willingness to stretch the opposition defence means that there will be more room behind for the midfield runners to cause problems.
The Premier League is renowned for being one of the most physically demanding in the world and the new signings contribute to a spine that is already physically intimidating and athletic.
David De Gea in goal is arguably the world’s best, while in front of him Eric Bailly has slotted in seamlessly at the heart of the defence since his move from Villarreal 12 months ago.
Matic’s position at the base of the midfield should allow Paul Pogba more freedom and Lukaku’s presence poses another dilemma for defences up and down the league.
But, the squad is still not without one or two areas of concern, particularly at full-back. As good as Antonio Valencia has been at right-back and Matteo Darmian at left-back, both are more naturally suited to other roles.
Then there’s the need for a winger who can supply the bullets for Lukaku, something which was glaringly obvious and will not have escaped Mourinho during the 2-1 Super Cup final defeat to Real Madrid in Macedonia on Tuesday.
And, if the United manager’s pursuit of Gareth Bale is genuinely over, then don’t be surprised to see him return for Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic. The Croatian is as impressive defensively as he is attacking and at 6ft 1in would be another substantial player to add to an already forcible pack.
Whether that fourth signing arrives or not remains to be seen, but with Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool facing their own transfer woes, few would be surprised to see the title head to one of the Manchester clubs.
Anyone remember what usually happens during Mourinho’s second season in charge?
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