Success has followed Jose Mourinho throughout his career.
The Portuguese tactician — in his first season as manager of Manchester United — brings with him a winning resume, which includes three Premiership titles and two UEFA Champions League crowns.
Mourinho’s extensive achievements at club level should bode well for the Red Devils heading into the 2016-17 campaign, as the club is among the favorites to win its first Premier League championship in three years.
Much of that will depend on Mourinho, who wasted little time getting right to business in an effort to propel Manchester United back to the top.
“The training has been tough,” long-serving midfielder and team captain Wayne Rooney recently said of practising under Mourinho. “You can see why he won trophies at the clubs he’s been at.”
Here are five things to watch with Manchester United this season:
5. Where are the goals?
Manchester United relied on a stingy defensive unit to collect many of its points last season. The club scored just 49 times, which was among the fewest in the Premier League. That should change with the additions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and, most likely, Paul Pogba — all of whom can produce goals on demand.
4. Zlatan Time
Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at Old Trafford with high expectations. But let’s remember, this isn’t the Ibra of old. The Swedish striker — soon to be 35 — will be slowed by age and should be used sparingly by Mourinho.
That’s not to say Ibrahimovic won’t be a goal-scoring threat after netting 38 times for Paris Saint-Germain last season. The competition, however, will be much stiffer in England than it was in France. Bovada has Ibrahimovic pegged at +900 to top the Premier League in goals, with only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane at shorter prices.
3. Pogba Pressure
In one of the summer’s worst-kept secrets, Manchester United are on the verge of finalising a deal for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba worth £112 million. Utd are purported to pay the French playmaker £290,000 per week. However, with inking a world record deal comes added pressure. Can Pogba live up to the loftiest of expectations and perform at the level he has with Juventus? It’s the £112 million question.
2. Top 4 Finish
Although the Red Devils are an early favourite to win the Premier League crown, anything less than a Top 4 finish would be a disaster for Mourinho and Co. According to Bovada oddsmakers, the online sportsbook has Manchester United at -250 to earn a Top 4 finish in 2016-17. Only Manchester City has better odds at -750. Chelsea (-200) and Arsenal (-175) round out Bovada’s projected top four finishers.
1. Mourinho’s Mission
Mourinho’s arrival to Old Trafford has restored belief in the club, which struggled to find its way since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson following the 2013 season. The team was able to win the FA Cup last year, but failed to produce the type of expressive football expected at Utd under Louis van Gaal’s tutelage.
The Red Devils are hungry to win major titles under their new world-class manager and the club will expect silverware to come thick and fast. “Manchester United as a football club, we have to win and we have to deliver for him,” Rooney told SkySports.com.
You’re a smart cookie if you plan on backing Utd to win the 2016-17 Premier League title. Pegged as second favorites at +325 to win the league, the Red Devils have all the necessary ingredients to do what is expected of them in the upcoming campaign.
Favourites To Win Premier League
Man City: +250
Man Utd: +325