Jamie Carragher believes Saturday’s trip to Chelsea serves as the ultimate acid test for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.
The 55-year-old notably improved the club’s results against the top six last season, claiming wins over Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal (twice), Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur (also twice).
But his team has dramatically struggled in recent times, conceding three goals on three separate occasions and only managing one home win since the opening day of the season.
And Carragher, looking ahead to the game on Saturday lunchtime, declared that this was the biggest test of the season for the under-pressure Man United boss.
“It’s their first real big away game against the rest of the top six,” he said.
“The reason you bring Jose Mourinho to your club is to win the big games. He’s been a master at that throughout his career.
“It was good for them to go into the international break with those three points. The way they won there’s no better way to win than coming back like that and scoring in the last minute it gives everyone a great lift.”
United only have one Premier League victory at Chelsea in 16 years, making Stamford Bridge less of a ‘bogey ground’ and more of a death trap.
Nobody expects United to win – or even draw – this game but they must, for the good of team spirit and to avoid wholesale public embarrassment, produce a performance which, at the very least, shows each player to be pulling in the right direction.
Mourinho’s first visit to Stamford Bridge as United boss ended in a 4-0 hammering. He then took a new game plan there the following March in the FA Cup and narrowly lost with ten men, his team battling valiantly throughout.
Last season they lost 1-0 again, but this time the performance was dire. And with the team currently leaking goals, a repeat performance would end in ugly fashion.