Jose Mourinho has insisted that he will get the best of out his Manchester United squad during his second season in charge at Old Trafford.
The 54-year-old suffered a rocky start to life at Man United, managing just two Premier League wins between September and early December.
He has, however, managed to engender real signs of progress in recent times, with an 18-game unbeaten run in the league, an EFL Cup win and a Europa League quarter-final spot all serving as potent examples of positive change.
And Mourinho, speaking at a press conference ahead of United’s clash with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, was quick to note that the second season would be easier.
“In the second season I know what is wrong,” he said. “Why a player is playing, why a player is not playing, now I am inside for 10 months and it’s a long time. The second season is where the managerial point of view is easier than the first.”
This particular mantra applied to Louis van Gaal in exactly the same way. The Dutchman had overseen a debut campaign of steady progression and could now look ahead to a period where his vision could fully embed itself in every aspect of his side’s approach. It was a time for moving forward, for achieving greater things, but United regressed miserably.
Mourinho will soon stand at the same crossroads: his squad, his approach, his vision. The watching world will demand the final product, and the Portuguese will be wary of the consequences of not delivering.