Jose Mourinho has insisted he can bring the fear factor back to Manchester United this season.
Appointed officially in May, Mourinho has made a sensational start to his time at Old Trafford, making four excellent signings in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, alongside winning his opening two games.
The departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and introduction of David Moyes in 2013 saw Man United’s famous fear factor disappear with immediate effect, with Louis van Gaal unable to regenerate the verve and tenacity that hallmarked performances of yesteryear.
Speaking ahead of United’s game against Southampton on Friday night, Mourinho made it clear that his side was capable of bringing back the fear factor to Old Trafford.
“The team can bring the fear factor back,” he said.
“The fans can also help. Everything starts there: the relationship between the team and the fans.
“If there is a connection then the factor of being really strong at home has to back. The way we play [will help] and if the fans play [a part] there’ll be no chance for the opponent.”
Visiting Old Trafford as a boy, being lucky enough to witness a United team at its irresistible best under Sir Alex, one banner always stood out. It read: For Every Manc A Religion, with the letters ‘F’,’E’, ‘A’, ‘R’ in a distinct red. For me, it captured the air of omnipotence that pervaded Old Trafford during the side’s glory days.
You could genuinely sense the fear swarming within visiting sides; they could do nothing but gasp as the home side piled forward, again and again, as 75,000 people roared in support of this faceless winning machine, until eventually being battered into painful submission.
If this United side could somehow rediscover that immense aura, that unshakeable belief in inevitable triumph, it could be a very special season.