Positives For Jose Mourinho As Man United Secure Opening Day Victory

Despite a nervy end to the game, Jose Mourinho will have been happy with Manchester United’s performance against Leicester City in their opening match of the Premier League season.

United beat The Foxes by two goals to one and that means that The Red Devils picked up the valuable first three points of the season.

Jose will also be reassured by some of the positives that he can take away from the game.

There was a bit of a dark cloud hanging over Old Trafford after a disappointing end to the transfer window, with Mourinho not getting in the two new faces that he believed would make his side stronger for this campaign.

A position that the Portuguese manager wanted to shore up was the central defensive role.

Yet Eric Bailly showed his gaffer that he’s the best centre-half at the club and has all the attributes to be one of the leading defenders in the English top flight.

The Ivorian had a great game at the back. His defensive partner Victor Lindelof looked shaky at times but whenever the Swede slipped up, Bailly’s pace and awareness were enough to snuff out the possible danger. He also won plenty of headers inside his own penalty area, making six clearances during the ninety minutes. He also enjoyed a 95% passing success rate.

The twenty-four year old had a lapse of concentration right at the end and that allowed Jamie Vardy to get what turned out to be a consolation goal. But all in all, Eric’s performance was terrific and he should be the number one centre-back at Old Trafford this season, if he can just stay away from injury issues.

Mourinho has often criticised Luke Shaw since his arrival at United but the left-back put in a shift against Leicester. He offered himself on the lefthand side, fought when he needed to and had plenty of touches of the ball.

His energetic display was rewarded with his first Man Utd goal, which turned out to be the match winner. Shaw has put down some good foundations in this opening fixture and needs to grasp this opportunity and become a consistent performer to stay in the team. Hopefully he can finally reach his potential at Old Trafford.

It was nice to see Jose praising his full-back saying he was ‘very pleased‘ and that Shaw ‘was very good defensively‘.

The United boss also stated that he was happy with the shift Andreas Pereira put in.

Paul Pogba was given plenty of responsibility this evening and he didn’t let his team down. Jose handed the French World Cup winner the captain’s armband and Pogba also decided to take his side’s penalty, which he scored with aplomb.

As he did in Russia for Les Bleus, Paul played with added discipline and he was all the better for it. The midfielder kept possession and made some good tackles. He also dribbled and kept the ball in numerous occasions.

Jose needs to bottle this Paul Pogba and have him playing that way all season. He should get even better as he recovers from his summer exploits.

New midfield signing Fred did well on his debut and showed glimpses that he could be a very good acquisition as the season unfolds. He can be energetic and combative in the middle of the park plus he also has the vision and passing range to set up quick attacks. Once he gets up to speed with the English game, you get the feeling he’ll be a real asset for The Red Devils.

Although the midfield worked hard and looked decent, you still have to believe that they’ll be more balanced having Nemanja Matic playing as the anchor in the midfield three.

Alexis Sanchez looked fresher and more involved after having a proper rest. If United are to have a good season this year then the Chilean has to become a match winner for Jose’s side and he showed tonight that he should have the energy to hit top gear this term.

There are still things for the management team to work on.

Italian Matteo Darmian still looks a bit nervy and he didn’t overlap to the same degree Shaw did on the opposite flank. That being said, the right-back was strong defensively. As I’ve already said, Lindelof still looked to nervy at times and that can affect on other members of the team.

Marcus Rashford, didn’t make the most of his chance of playing up-top. The England forward just didn’t seem to be at the races.

Tiredness did also creep in but that’s to be expected with players having limited holiday time and others not playing often for the side last term.

But it should be an encouraging start for Manchester United. They need to build on that though, they can afford to let rivals Manchester City to get an early lead on them like they did last term.

Jose Mourinho needs to create that siege mentally and have all the players and fans backing him.


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