Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal has noted that Jose Mourinho is taking Manchester United in the right direction following his side’s 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
First half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez crowned a scintillating first half performance and gave Man United another 2-0 win at home.
Chelsea’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur has more or less guaranteed United’s place in next season’s Champions League, and just one more win would see Mourinho take them to their best points tally since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s departure in 2013.
And Carvalhal, speaking after the game, was quick to point out that Mourinho was steadily taking United in the right direction.
“At Porto, nobody expected him to win the Champions League, but he won it,” he said. “After he moved to Chelsea, they hadn’t won the league for 30 years or something, and he was champion there.”
“Go to Inter Milan, no championship for 15 years, and he win everything there. Go to Real Madrid, to play against the best team of the century, and you know everyone said it was impossible to beat Barcelona, and he was champion in Madrid.
“He came here, Manchester United have gone a little down in recent years. It’s the reality, they are not winning trophies, but the reality is that in England it’s harder to make all the steps in one season sometimes, because there are teams who are very strong, teams with very good managers, and it makes things more difficult.
“He’s preparing for the future to do better and better, and try to make the jump to be champions, but don’t expect that a manager can come to a club and with a click of the fingers, with a team that’s not winning, and change everything and start winning everything – it’s impossible.”
“There are steps clubs must do and he’s taking the correct steps. I didn’t know but I heard Jose say they have more points at this stage than last season, more goals and so on, so the team is progressing.
“But this is England, it’s different to Italy, Spain or Portugal, because here the competition is hard – Liverpool is very strong, Tottenham is very strong, Chelsea is very strong, Manchester City is very strong, so things are not easy, especially with a team that was far away from the trophies. In my opinion he’s taking the correct steps.”
There are things that can – and need to – improve under Mourinho but nobody can deny that the Portuguese is taking this club in the right direction.
His quota was not necessarily trophies; the task ahead of the Portuguese following the Louis van Gaal era was to restore a sense of control and direction to a beleaguered group of players.
And United’s league form this season shows Mourinho to be doing exactly that: more goals, more points, more wins, higher up the table than ever before, better against the top six (whilst still far from perfect), more clean sheets. There is progress happening, albeit without the predominance supporters demand at this club.
He may not win the Premier League as United manager, but he will leave the squad in a far position to do so compared to when he arrived.