Jose Mourinho expects Nemanja Matic to provide answers in defence


I feel really sorry for him and I don't think it's fair.

The France worldwide is set to embark on his second season under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford following his return to the Manchester club last summer.

As his record at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid shows, Mourinho can be at his most effective in his second season. He has looked impressive playing on the shoulder of the last defender and running in behind, which represents a shift in the way United will play compared to last season when Zlatan Ibrahimovic operated impressively as a traditional target man.

Antonio Valencia was voted player of the year by his teammates and was named the best right-back in the world by Mourinho following his impressive form last season. He would have racked up a higher number of assists last season if United's finishing was better than what it actually was.

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Manchester United won the EFL Cup and the Europa League in their first season under the management of Mourinho after the Portuguese coach replaced Louis van Gaal in May 2016. Neither are good enough to start every week on a team with aspirations of winning the league, and neither have the excuse of a lack of experience to fall back on any longer either.

While we can all recall the "odd mediocre performance" from Lukaku, I don't actually think the pressure of being at United is going to be a problem for him.

Owen also believes the club will mount a serious title challenge this season following the arrival of Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic.

Even with Ibrahimovic's contribution, United were still the lowest scorers in the Premier League's top seven last season. "Matic is very much a signing for Mourinho's time, his birthday was this week [he turned 29], it's not an investment for 10 years down the line, he's buying something for the next four or five years". This season, hopefully he'll score loads of goals and it's about him taking that leadership role. We take no responsibility for scuppered bets or hurt feelings if this lot go out and sign Lionel Messi on transfer deadline day.