Manchester United are faltering both at home and abroad, and the pressure is continuing to build on Jose Mourinho to get things right.
From falling to eighth place in the Premier League and eight points adrift of the leaders to their latest defeat in Europe at the hands of Fenerbahce, it isn’t quite going to plan at Old Trafford.
Ultimately, the ‘Special One’ is contributing to his own problems, and in order to get United on the right track he has to make changes otherwise he’ll risk seeing the same issues haunt them in the coming weeks and months.
Stop publicly moaning about his players
As noted by ESPN FC, the Portuguese tactician slammed his players for treating the Fener game as a “summer friendly” as they fell behind within a minute and suffered a 2-1 loss in Istanbul.
Firstly, it’s his job above anyone else to ensure that they’re prepared, organised and mentally switched on. Further, what is the benefit of publicly criticising your players? A word in the dressing room or at training would suffice for a man that for years was brilliant at deflecting attention and scrutiny away from his squad.
Give Henrikh Mkhitaryan a run of games before judging him
Given he’s only just made his first appearance since September 10, the fact that Mourinho has insisted that Mkhitaryan “has to play better”, as reported by Sky Sports, is pretty harsh.
Admittedly, we don’t see what happens in training and perhaps the United boss has seen something we haven’t from the Armenian international. Nevertheless, for a player with stunning statistics last season with Borussia Dortmund, his creativity and quality in the final third would surely be a welcome addition if played in the right role and given a run in the team.
Play Paul Pogba in a more influential role
At Juventus, Pogba developed from a promising talent into one of the best midfielders in Europe. Played in a midfield three further up the field with a freedom to roam from a central position to the wing, his quality on the ball made a huge difference.
Asking him to hold back and be in a two-man deep midfield duo is going to create more problems than solutions, and for a player United spent £89m on as per BBC Sport, he has to play in a role that he is more comfortable and influential in sooner rather than later.
Bring back Bastian Schweinsteiger
Schweinsteiger returned to training this week, but merely with a view of improving his fitness ahead of a possible January exit.
United haven’t been able to find the right balance in midfield, and doubts remain over Michael Carrick’s ability to do the job needed on a consistent basis at 35 years of age. Mourinho has a seasoned professional who knows the job required, it seems ridiculous not to use him especially now with Pogba possibly out with injury too.
Find right balance to allow Zlatan Ibrahimovic to pull strings
Ibrahimovic hasn’t been performing well and the goals have dried up. The Swede has become somewhat of a scapegoat during United’s struggles too, but he hasn’t been his influential self.
Whether it’s Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford or others, Mourinho has to find the right balance in the final third. Ibrahimovic can pull the strings with pace and movement around him and be a presence in the box, but it’s just not clicking right now as possession isn’t turning into goals and the pace of the team’s play needs to change.
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