West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis believes that Jose Mourinho is the right manager for Manchester United, pointing towards his ability to win with big clubs.
The 54-year-old, following a rocky start to life at Old Trafford, has engendered tangible levels of change over the last few months – something reflected in an 18 game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
Mourinho will go up against Pulis on Saturday and will know that dropping points at this stage of the season could be fatal in the context of their top four ambitions.
And Pulis, speaking at a press conference ahead of the game, was quick to heap praise on the Portuguese for the way he has turned things around at Old Trafford.
“Manchester United have the right manager and they are heading in the right direction,” he said. “Jose knows how to win with big clubs.”
“We have to have a bit of luck and play to our maximum, as well as hoping that Manchester United have an off-day, if we are to get a result.
“They haven’t just got 11 players. If they get injuries they can put in replacements who have cost a lot of money.”
Nobody can doubt that United are in a better position in comparison with last year: more points, more shots, more goals, less sideways passes and, crucially, more excitement. But such progress will feel somewhat futile come May if Mourinho’s men fail to press on from here and claim a Champions League spot.
These next two games, against West Brom and Everton, will see United enter fourth spot if they manage to avoid dropping points, creating the perfect platform from which to storm towards a big finish in both Europe and the Premier League. This really is what they call ‘crunch time’.