“Woke up this morning feeling fine”. It is the song that every Manchester United fan is singing right now and it was particularly true on Monday morning after Jose Mourinho’s men snatched a late winner to fend off Southampton in the EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Let’s be honest. The EFL Cup, otherwise known as the League Cup, is hardly a priority but silverware is silverware and United supporters enjoyed one hell of a ride on Sunday afternoon.
Southampton were the better side for long periods but United’s class shone through as Zlatan Ibrahimović netted an 87th-minute header to secure a 3-2 victory for the Red Devils. And many believe that United’s fifth League Cup success could spur the Reds on as they look to continue their momentum under Mourinho.
In fact, the 20-time English champions have lost just once since their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea back in October; an immense run of form to say the least. With Ibrahimović banging in the goals and Paul Pogba settling down nicely in midfield, United really are into something good…
Mourinho has had his doubters and critics, especially early on in the season when United were struggling to put away teams like Burnley, West Ham United and Stoke City. It wasn’t down to a lack of opportunities to score but more profligate finishing that hindered United’s early season progress.
Just shows how wasteful Manchester United have been this season; converting just 33 of the 391 chances in Premier League. Appalling.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) February 3, 2017
But now, there is a confident swagger about United’s play and the Portuguese deserves plenty of credit for the way he has turned the Red Devils around. The likes of Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Ander Herrera, bit-part players under the previous two regimes, have all flourished under Mourinho’s watchful eye.
Even Juan Mata, who many thought would struggle to rebuild a working relationship with Mourinho after his spell at Chelsea, looks like he is enjoying his football at Old Trafford; as does captain and United’s all-time record goal scorer Wayne Rooney – although the latter has been restricted to limited game time this season.
United will now turn their attention to the top four race and the Europa League; which is certainly winnable when you consider how many elite sides have been eliminated from the competition. The likes of Tottenham and Shakhtar Donetsk are out whilst one of Lyon or Roma will fall in the next round.
Yes, the Reds struggled to inspire confidence at times during the first few months of the season but those days have been and gone. Mourinho is bringing the ‘fear factor’ back to Old Trafford and United fans know it. The mood on the terraces is now a lot more positive than it was four months ago and the Red Devils are in the ascendancy in the race for the Champions League places.
Punters can back United at 1.26 with Sportsbet.io – which you can visit here – to continue their fine run with three points against Bournemouth in their next league game and you wouldn’t back against Mourinho’s men on current form.
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This side is going places and Mourinho is steering the ship. Given time, the Portuguese can take United back to the top of the Premier League – that much is obvious. For now, United fans should enjoy the sweet taste of silverware and more glory could follow before the end of the campaign.