Jose Mourinho has given his eventual Manchester United successor a present
Jose Mourinho has never quite been the same since that rant after United’s Champions League exit to Sevilla but he had a point. His eventual successor would inherit a better squad than the one he took on in May, 2016.
There is still a serious mentality issue with this United side – how often have we seen them fail to raise their game in matches they are expected to win? – but they have made progress under Mourinho . As he was only too happy to remind his critics.
“One day when I leave, the next Manchester United manager will find here Lukaku , Matic , of course de Gea from many years ago,” he told reporters. “They will find players with a different mentality, quality, background, with a different status, know-how.”
Mourinho did not name check Luke Shaw in his 12-minute soliloquy and why would he? The left-back had made just 11 starts by that point last season and the United boss was considering serious investment in his full-back department in the summer.
City, after all, had spent more than £120m on three new full-backs in a drastic overhaul of their weak spot, letting Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov, Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Jesus Navas all leave the club in the process. It certainly paid off.
Mourinho could not help but look enviously across the Manchester divide as City bought ‘the full-backs for the price of the strikers’. And, yet, United may have secured two full-backs who can solve their longstanding issues for a fraction of that price.
That seems an ironic statement given how Shaw has just become one of the Premier League’s best paid defenders on £190,000-a-week and was the most expensive teenager in world football not too long ago.
Diogo Dalot, too, has just made 10 senior appearances for Porto and United, and still has someway to go to nailing down a regular starting spot under Mourinho.
But even the United boss seemed excited by the pair’s performance when Shaw and Dalot started together for the first time against Young Boys last month.