Saturday, August 13, 2022

Jose Mourinho’s Defensive Conundrum

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Rainar Angelo
An ardent follower of Manchester United who in his spare time likes to unravel mysteries of football and music. He also believes in continuously interacting with people in order to view things from a different perspective.

The Manchester United team under Sir Alex Ferguson, the team that was known for its fluidity in both defense and attack is what made them such a glorious team to watch. Today, we find it hard to believe that the absence of this fluidity effects several teams from being top contenders in their respective leagues and it remains to be seen what lies in store for the United team under Jose Mourinho.

The former Chelsea manager has always been criticized for his defensive approach yet as we know, Mourinho’s approach is the key to many of his games. However, the same cannot be said about his tenure with Real Madrid where they scored more than 100 goals in each season. Anyway, Mourinho is known to have had a defensive pairing of a solid foundation like Walter Samuel and Lucio at Internazionale, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea, Sergio Ramos and Pepe at Madrid with Varane entering the fray eventually.

Nonetheless, at United, the back four have been ever-changing with the exception of Chris Smalling who has been absolutely consistent in appearances and performances alike. Eric Bailly, his first signing resembles all the traits Mourinho looks for in his defenders i.e. tall, agile, gritty but with the defender still finding his feet at united and the horrible tour of China having hardly helped the team in cohesion has raised questions over a resolute defense.

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) and Bayern Munich's Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola follow the action from the sideline during the UEFA Super Cup football match FC Bayern Munich vs Chelsea FC on August 30, 2013 at the Eden Stadium, in Prague. AFP PHOTO / MICHAL CIZEK (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (L) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola follow the action from the sideline during the UEFA Super Cup football match FC Bayern Munich vs Chelsea FC on August 30, 2013 at the Eden Stadium, in Prague. AFP PHOTO / MICHAL CIZEK (Photo credit should read MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images)

With that being said, Mourinho has relied on a deeper defensive line in important games, especially against tricky opponents as he prefers winning the game by any means irrespective of the style of play. The transfers so far have seen only one defensive reinforcement but with the likes of Blind and Rojo likely to leave there are definitely more defenders Jose will be on the lookout for and as a man who prefers to have his transfers done before the first game of the league it looks like we are not far from surprise signings.

With things as they currently stand, Fosu Mensah and Paddy McNair are viable backups for defense because the availability of Phil Jones is always a doubtful scenario. Every top team needs good defenders and if Manchester United wish to return to the champions league if not better, then it certainly needs a good transfer window.

It is hard to predict what lies in store for them this season and with a man like Mourinho at the helm, that is something that always follows him.

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