Manchester City smashed plenty of records on their way to the Premier League title last season. Most points. Most goals. Most wins. And many more.
It’s no surprise that Pep Guardiola’s side are 8/13 favourites to defend their crown in the upcoming campaign. Can anyone catch them this time around?
Manchester United will be hoping to do just that. They finished second last term, 19 points behind their local rivals. But they’ve already brought in Fred and will spend much more before the transfer window slams shut.
One way they could close the gap is by improving their record against the division’s smaller sides.
United only lost seven games in league action last year. Three of those came against clubs that finished 15th or lower. Another came against Newcastle United, who hovered around the drop zone for long periods of the season.
But the most obvious change Mourinho could make is adopting a style that suits the players at his disposal.
The Red Devils are set up to be solid at the back and pose a threat on the break. But their unconvincing defence has been saved by David de Gea’s astonishing performances in goal too many times over the last few years.
It doesn’t make sense to play so conservatively when most of the biggest talents in the United squad are attacking players. Yet Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and now Alexis Sanchez have all struggled to find their rhythm in Mourinho’s rigid system.
United under Mourinho aren’t likely to play better football than Guardiola’s City, but they can definitely play more adventurously than they did last season.
Mourinho has always been a pragmatist. He does what it takes to win. And with this group of players, setting up to attack could be the best way of doing that.
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