Will Jose Mourinho Have Man United Playing With Three At The Back?

Manchester United have been linked with signing a full-back all summer but I’m wondering if Jose Mourinho has other ideas for his defence next season.

When you look at his current squad and the £31m signing of Victor Lindelöf from Benfica you cannot help but notice that the Red Devils have quite a few centre-backs within their pool.

So could Jose look at playing three at the back at Old Trafford next term? 

Well the abundance of versatile defenders could suggest he might.

As well as Lindelöf they also have Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe and these are all players that could fit into a system that has three central defenders. You could also add Michael Carrick to the list if you have an unusual amount of injuries/suspensions.

Premier League champions Chelsea showed last term that you can use three at the back to excellent effect with the right personnel.

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If United were to follow suit then would they also go with three forwards like Antonio Conte did at Stamford Bridge?

Well the prospect of seeing £75m new boy Romelu Lukaku spearheading an attack with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford playing either side of him could have United fans licking their lips.

But I believe Mourinho’s defensive disciplined tactical brain will instinctively kick in and he’ll be more inclined to forgoing a forward in favour of going with two attacking full-backs and a defensive midfielder,

A new holding middle-man has been identified by Mourinho as he continues to improve his side. Both Nemanja Matic and Tiemoue Bakayoko have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford.

I think Jose believes that having a marshalling midfielder will get the best out of Paul Pogba.

Man Utd also have Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw in the squad who would flourish as attacking full-backs. You might also see Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard or even Henrikh Mkhitaryan out on the flank as wing-backs. Then there’s Blind, Rojo and Tuanzebe who could fill in as full-backs if they are still looking for a spot in the starting eleven.

With three at the back, two full-backs, a holding midfielder and two central midfielders then you’d have the chance to play with two forwards.

That could see more opportunities for either Rashford or Martial if they were selected to partner Lukaku up-top. Two of those together could cause havoc in front of goal.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney departing this summer, Man United look to have a younger more vibrant attack ready for the next campaign.

Another option could see Jose playing Romelu as a lone striker and have an attacking midfielder linking up as a number ten. It would be interesting to see Pogba in behind his best pal Lukaku. You’d imagine that Juan Mata and Mkhitaryan would relish the chance to shine in that role.

As always, it’s very difficult to predict what Jose Mourinho will do next. The Portuguese boss is known for springing surprises and doing anything to grind out wins and trophies.

Will he go for three at the back?

I really don’t know but he certainly has a squad that lends itself to going down that route if he so chooses. The Manchester United preseason tour in America could give us a few answers!

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