We have just witnessed one of the more exciting weekends of the past 3 years. Winning the FA Cup for a 12th time was fairly exciting stuff, but, harsh as it may have been for LvG, what happened within minutes of the final whistle eclipsed the trophy-winning performance and was perhaps an even more exciting prospect for many fans.
I can’t believe there is a United fan out there who honestly wanted another season of Van Gaal; it’s certainly been the most boring United I have seen in 57 years of watching, and that includes the dross we witnessed in the early 70s. But even then we tried to entertain and play the United way – we just weren’t very good at it.
I am convinced that whilst their wasn’t full-blown mutiny in the dressing room, the players will generally be glad to see the back of LvG. Although some may be worrying whether Jose will want to keep them, they can either work hard for him and do a good job or move on and be happy with the style of football they are playing at a new club and most likely get played in the correct positions.
I have never been a big Ashley Young fan – to me he represented the deteriorating quality of our team towards the end of the Fergie era – but I felt for Ashley at times. One minute he’s an attacking winger, then he’s a full back, and most recently he’s been our back-up centre-forward. It was totally baffling on Saturday when the manager brought Young on, kept Martial out wide and played Young down the middle. Ashley could still do a great job for a mid-table Premier League team, and if I were him, I would be looking to move on as he probably doesn’t have a shot at playing under Jose.
Another player who has not been used in his correct position is Juan Mata – the game’s number-one nice guy. Whilst I don’t expect to see him much longer at United, I am sure most United fans have enjoyed his time with us and will wish him the best success for his future. Of course many more could be mentioned that have been so badly used during Van Gaal’s dogmatic and frustrating reign.
So what can we expect from Jose? I am sure he’s been working on his transfer targets for the past 2-3 months on the basis he would be the next man in at OT. He will be able to attract players that LvG wouldn’t have been able to, and at the same time keep players like De Gea who otherwise would surely have been looking to leave the club. I am confident we will see a new central defender and hopefully a right-back, although Fosu Mensah looks the real deal, and if given the chance could be the right player for either of those positions.
The midfield certainly needs an overhaul, with Schweinsteiger proving a total flop and Carrick – one of our most senior players – potentially leaving on a free transfer. Rooney’s long-trumpeted reinvention as a midfielder may finally have started to look more like the real deal, but the likes of Fellaini, Herrera and Blind are far from world-class in their positions. I would expect to see faces moved on and new faces arrive for the central midfield roles, as well as a pacey right sided player and another striker. I think I speak for all United fans in the hope that Jose does give our young players chances; Fosu Mensah, Borthwick Jackson, Pereira, Rashford and Martial all look to have great talent, and hopefully they will be very much part of Jose’s plans for next season. The same goes for Januzaj, who also has terrific talent but by all accounts needs to buckle down and work a lot harder if he wants to be a Man United player.
I’m expecting genuine entertainment with Mourinho in charge. He is known for his defensive records, but the stats also show that when he has the right players, he can also produce some of the best attacking football we have witnessed in the past decade, and I would not be surprised if he looks to adopt the United Way during his reign at OT.
So now for predictions… Of course that’s not easy without knowing who Jose will buy and sell, but I will take a punt and say that he will be at United for a maximum of 4 years and in that time will win us one Premier League, one FA Cup and one Champions League, and United will again be the top dogs and in a position to attract whoever is the best man out there when the time is right. We just have to hope our board / owners get it right next time, as with the appointments of Moyes and LvG, they just got it horribly wrong .