Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino have led their teams admirably this season, attempting to balance participation in multiple competitions with consistency in the league. However, despite their best efforts, Manchester United couldn’t pose a real threat to Manchester City as the latter to the league title, leaving United looking at the FA Cup as the trophy that helps them salvage their season.
Spurs are, meanwhile, focused on winning the tournament Pochettino had dismissed earlier in the season to vindicate their continued development.
The Red Devils have, without a doubt, improved from where they were last season. Wins over Tottenham, City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal signify that they have learnt to do what is necessary to win against the big teams.
Apart from that, they have shown greater consistency in their performances week in, week out. However, they are still far away from being the finished article, both in terms of their ruthlessness and in terms of developing their own style of play.
At the moment, they are a team with building blocks in place for a run at the Premier League title next season. Solidifying the defence and completing his attacking signings have ensured that United have the necessary firepower, in addition to the ability to exhibit defiance in defence, to take their performances and success to the next level.
The Portuguese tactician’s teams have always resembled outfits that are great defensively, play with physicality and are direct, focused on getting wins with individual ability helping the team do well in attacking areas.
He has a talented squad, especially in attack and midfield, and his patented move so far has been to challenge his players publicly, making them think about their roles in the team and what is required of them.
Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba are just two of the names who have been exposed to the former Chelsea manager’s tough love, with both of them reacting differently. Shaw has been virtually on the outside looking in this whole season, making the rare start, with Mourinho saying the player hasn’t been in the best of shape or doing the right things. Despite his recent start against Bournemouth, he will probably watch this encounter from the bench.
Pogba, has, on the other hand, faced a difficult time in the last couple of months, failing to understand the requirements placed on him in a two-man midfield. Of late, Mourinho has been lining his team up in a 4-3-3, with the Frenchman on the left, aimed at eliciting the best out of him.
As Published by First Post.