It has been a difficult summer for Manchester United fans. The 2018 World Cup turned out to be an unwelcome distraction in the end for the Red Devils; United were unable to make significant moves in the transfer market – much to the frustration of the Old Trafford crowd. You only need to look at Liverpool's astute activity in the window to see just how stagnant United were this summer.
According to reports, there is a growing feud between United chief executive Ed Woodward and manager Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils hierarchy refused to spend big this summer, sparking rumours of unrest and a lack of faith in the Portuguese. It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Mourinho and Woodward clash at some point in the coming months.
United scraped past Leicester City on the opening weekend before falling short at Brighton – the Red Devils were second best in every department at the Amex Stadium. Woodward was there to watch that defeat and he did not look the slightest bit amused. If you believe the rumours, the clock is ticking down on Mourinho’s Old Trafford tenure.
At the time of writing, United find themselves six points off the pace. As expected, Liverpool have got off to a fast start and the Red Devils cannot afford to be playing catch-up, even at this early stage. Mourinho’s men are 10/1 to win the title in the latest Premiership odds but you won’t find too many punters backing United based on their current form. Many believe that this current Red Devils squad is not strong enough to win the crown.
By January, the damage will already have been done. Mourinho’s manner in recent press conferences has changed somewhat; he is quite clearly downbeat after a very disappointing summer. Fred’s arrival gave the midfield a much-needed boost but one signing was never going to be enough. United’s defence is in tatters; it is not a top-four defence, let alone title-winning.
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) August 20, 2018
The former Chelsea manager has a proven track record when it comes to winning matches and titles but he is prone to catastrophic fallouts. Mourinho has commented on the lack of a proper pre-season and how that has affected his World Cup stars but is that just an excuse for United’s early campaign woes? Possibly. Only time will tell whether the Red Devils improve throughout the season.
Based on their August excursions, United should be targeting a top-four berth. The title, for the time being, looks out of reach – Liverpool and Manchester City, United’s closest rivals, are both a class above the Red Devils. Mourinho shouldn’t be blamed for United’s struggles so far this season; the Portuguese has already achieved so much at Old Trafford and it would be foolish to pin their woes on him.
Jose Mourinho is not happy – that much is obvious. Through no fault of his own, he was unable to make signings this summer and most of the Old Trafford faithful are firmly behind their manager. Ed Woodward is out of his depth when it comes to football matters and United must appoint a director of football sooner rather than later. Failure to act could force Mourinho out of the Old Trafford exit door.