Jose Mourinho’s qualities as a manager make Manchester United contenders for the UEFA Champions League this season, according to ex-Red Denis Irwin.
Man United took away a cleansheet in a 0-0 draw in Spain in their round of 16 first leg tie against Sevilla and need any kind of win at Old Trafford to progress into the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club competition.
Irwin, who was a key part of the treble-winning side in 1999 who won the club’s second European Cup, believes that United’s manager makes a team who wouldn’t usually be contenders be exactly that.
The Irishman claims that the competition is diverse this season in terms of possible winners.
“In the Champions League, I think any one of 10 teams can win it,” Irwin asserted, as quoted by PA.
“I’d include us in that because I think the manager knows how to win. You saw that in the Europa League last season.
“His history will tell you he knows how to win in Europe as well, so that will count for us.”
Mourinho is looking for his third Champions League and his fifth ever European trophy. He shocked the world with his 2004 Champions League victory with FC Porto, and won a magnificent treble with Inter Milan in 2010 as well as UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League wins with FC Porto in 2003 and United last season.
Should he guide United unexpectedly to Champions League glory this season, it will follow the path he set at Porto.
It looks unlikely, with United having struggled against even local rivals Manchester City, who look set for the title, and lacking the consistency in big games needed.
Away at Sevilla, the Reds were poor and uninventive, but they came away with a good enough result in the shape of a 0-0 draw. Perhaps that’s what Irwin means. It may not be pretty, but Mourinho’s tactics could see United take home their fourth Champions League.