Is it the Jose Mourinho affect? Is it the new players? There appears to be a new lease of life at Old Trafford. Although it is still early days in the new Premier League season, Manchester United have certainly set the pace and sent a message out to their rivals that they are the team to beat this year.
The club have been in something of a transition in recent years following the departure of the great Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012. The dark days of David Moyes were followed by the gloomy cloud that loomed over Louis Van Gaal’s reign, albeit with the occasional break of sunshine with their 2016 FA Cup triumph. However, Old Trafford appears to be basking once more.
The Manchester United that football fans around the world know and love appears to be returning under the leadership of Jose Mourinho. A summer of upheaval has rediscovered the famous Manchester United ‘never say die’ attitude and winning identity which became a paw print in Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy laden tenure.
Football is a funny old game and it is strange what difference a few months could make. Rewind less than six months and Manchester United appeared to be staring into the abyss. Fans had become disillusioned at the direction the club was taking under the dictatorship of Van Gaal. They had just been sent crashing out of the Europa League at the last 16 stage to their bitter rivals Liverpool, which led to a public dressing down by club legend Paul Scholes who branded the club a ‘disgrace’. Their Premier League form wasn’t much better. United faced a real battle to qualify for European football after a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion which allowed their neighbours Manchester City to stretch their advantage in the top four, as patience on the red side of Manchester grew dangerously thin.
Nowadays, United are led by Jose ‘The Special One’ Mourinho and the big name arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba has struck fear into fellow Premier League chasers with fans believing they can assert their dominance on English football once more. United have begun to life under Mourinho at a canter. A Community Shield triumph has been followed by two wins out of two in the Premier League as their new signings take to the top flight like a duck to water. Ibrahimovic has lived up to his reputation and as expected he has made headlines with four goals in three matches for the Red Devils. Eric Bailly also looks like a shrewd addition at the heart of defence. A plethora of other big names like David De Gea, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata make up the squad and they look like the team to beat this season.
Jose Mourinho is a born winner and the aura that he carries is matched on the pitch in the presence of Ibrahimovic, whose unwavering confidence brings a notion of invincibility and unparalleled swagger. It is the sort of spirit which has not been seen at Old Trafford since the glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson with Eric Cantona. Whatever Ibrahimovic touches turns into gold, six league titles in six years and the Swede will be hoping to bring trophies back come end of May with a Premier League title winner's medal around his neck.
Likewise, Paul Pogba has the confidence to match his ability following his world record £89 million move from Juventus. The Frenchman will feel that he has unfinished business in Manchester after leaving the club in 2012 after just one Premier League appearance. At 19 years of age, Pogba wanted regular first team football which epitomises the self confidence and belief in his own ability which makes him so successful. Pogba went on to establish himself as one of the best midfielders in the game and as his stock grew, it has become something of a coup for United to secure the signings of players that posess such personalities and quality that Pogba and Ibrahimovic bring.
The arrival of Mourinho, plus a few summer additions, has sparked United back into life. There has been a change in the tide and there is certainly something in the water to suggest Manchester United could be back on the track to glory and Premier League success once again.
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