Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes Jose Mourinho will have a “game plan” to launch a title challenge this season.
The 55-year-old saw his team claim 81 points last season, the club’s best since 2013, but finished a whopping 19 points behind champions Manchester City.
His third season has not begun well: a difficult pre-season, devoid of any big signings after Fred, has preceded a scrappy win over Leicester City and a poor performance against Brighton and Hove Albion.
But Rooney, speaking to CNN, noted he expected to see Mourinho, despite how bad the omens look now, to make a genuine bid for the title.
“Mourinho knows what he’s doing and knows how to win titles,” he said. “I’m sure with the quality of players he will have a game plan to push for the title.”
The bar has raised, yet it is hard to escape the feeling that Man United have not risen with it.
Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are all notably better than they were last season following some good investment over the summer. United, however, appear to be encountering the same problems as last term: not fast enough, not slick enough, not consistent enough.
That said, there are plenty of games to be played. Plenty of twists and turns. Mourinho can change the mood around the club with nothing more than a few good performances and convincing victories. Perceptions in football change very quickly. Failure to shift the current mood, on the other hand, will certainly lead to his dismissal.