Manchester United And Mourinho’s Struggles Are BehindManchester United have struggled at the back in their opening two games conceding four goals. It is the first setback for the Red Devils in the Premier League as the hole in their defence was evident for all to see, having failed to strengthen with signings during the summer. United haven’t conceded three goals in the first half since an October 2015 game against Arsenal. In fact, it has only happened three times in 26 years of Premier League football.
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Pogba raised his voice as many times as Mourinho did in front of the microphones to criticise the mistakes of a United side that have started the campaign without a sense of real defensive stability.
“I gave a list to the club of five players who interested me months ago and none have come in,” ‘The Special One’ complained during pre-season.
The extent of United’s summer business was Fred (59 million euros), defender Diogo Dalot (22 million euros) and goalkeeper Lee Grant (2 million euros) and that was insufficient for many fans, after finishing the 2017/18 campaign without any trophies and 19 points behind rivals Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side swept through the Premier League and Mourinho requested more players to challenge the Citizens, despite investing 433 million euros in 11 new players since arriving in 2016. However, there were no new arrivals. Harry Maguire of Leicester City, Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld were the men who Mourinho wanted to reinforce his defence.
None arrived and the only defensive recruit was Dalot, who adds competition in the full-back areas along with Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw.
In the central areas, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are the options of Mourinho, who brought in the first two players for a total of 73 million euros. Both played against Brighton and had a horror showing against the Seagulls, evidencing United’s issues in defence. The defence is creaking and David De Gea has been unable to come to the rescue, with the Spanish goalkeeper also far from his best. Since the World Cup started, he has had 14 shots on target come his way and he has conceded a worrying 10 goals.
The tight win over Leicester City on the opening night and loss at Brighton have soured the atmosphere at Old Trafford. The anger and frustration of the executive vice-chairman was evident when the television cameras picked him up in the stands. After the game, Ed Woodward went down to the dressing room and spent five minutes chatting with the players behind closed doors, according to the Manchester Evening News. Mourinho was not in attendance at that time as he was carrying out his media duties at that point.
Fans and critics are divided after a difficult summer in the market and tough start to the season. Last season, it took them nine goals before they shipped four goals and it was five the previous year. In total, just 28 goals were conceded in 38 games last year and in half of their league games, they kept clean sheets.
Those were notable and impressive numbers which have worsened at the outset of this season. The towers are wobbling and their wall is cracking without signings to cover those shortcomings. Unfortunately for United, next up, Harry Kane and Tottenham Hotspur arrive at Old Trafford.