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Premier League: Mourinho equipped to challenge for the title next season

Mourinho has often produced titles in his second season in charge. He is regarded as the second season wonder where all eyes and pressure is on him to deliver silverware. His only aim is to win titles in whichever club he arrives at. Manchester United gave the necessary backing in the transfer market which includes his contract extension and with topsy-turvy results in his first season in charge he won the Community Shield, the Carabao Cup and most importantly the UEFA Europa League securing United the champions league qualification.

City has almost sealed the title for the 2017-18 season; his second season in charge with United. But it is not over until it’s over. The Portuguese refused to give up with City running 12 points ahead of Manchester United and 14 fixtures left. Pep Guardiola was adamant that City will lose even after registering 18 wins in a row. "That is not going to happen", Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.

That belongs to Arsene Wenger and his amazing Arsenal in 2004. We are going to lose games.”

After Crystal Palace ended their winning streak with a goalless draw; Liverpool thrashed City4-2 proving the point.

The Portuguese is taking the Premier league fixtures one at a time and his objective is to secure 3 points irrespective of the results Manchester City produce. His aim is to stop his team from losing crucial points to opponents less superior to United and bridge the gap. The Christmas period proved to be a decisive factor in the 12-point gap; United drawing consecutively against Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton. With recent results in his favour, he would least expect United to finish
second this season along with the pressure of the Champions League. The possibility of City throwing away the title is the least with Jose’s focus in the premier league as well as the champions league.

Jose Mourinho got one over City by the unimaginable and sensational capture of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. It was the belief in the City camp that the Chilean would end up at the Etihad as they tried to conclude a last-minute deal in the summer of 2017. The winter transfer window re-opened with the speculation rife that City have a pre-agreement with Sanchez. With huge sums of money involved, the cash-rich City opted to back out of the negotiations and United snapped him immediately.

This is the first triumph of Jose over Pep going ahead into the next season whichever way the 2017-18 season goes. United have the firepower and experience in the form of Sanchez to take City head-on on the pitch as well with Zlatan Ibrahimović injury prone since suffering a long- term absence in 2017.

The Portuguese extended his contract till 2020 ensuring he has a long-term future at the United which also ensures the long-term future of the players which he has acquired to lead the club from the front.

Mourinho had inherited young guns Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw from his predecessor and making high profile signings in the form of Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and stealing Romelu Lukaku from under the nose of his ex-employers Chelsea. The common factor between all these players is their age. All these players are 25 years and below and playing week-in week-out along with hitting new highs in form especially Lingard, Martial and Pogba. This lot is yet to reach their prime and Mourinho is creating a core group who will challenge for major honours in the long term. Mourinho is building the team around Paul Pogba citing his importance to the team and viewing him as a future leader of the club.

Looking at the transfer activity by Manchester United in the summer and the winter transfer window, apart from strengthening the team United have also weakened the opponents in the process. Real Madrid were up and running for Paul Pogba but he landed in Manchester. Romelu Lukaku was destined for a Chelsea reunion however Mourinho convinced him that United is the right club for him to progress. Alexis Sanchez joining City would guarantee them another title since winning the title this season looks inevitable considering the strength of the squad with Pep Guardiola. But opting for United not only left Arsenal with a huge gap to fill but also stopped City from becoming a formidable force next season.

Jose Mourinho has achieved success with his first season at United with silverware and would be hoping for a better ending to the 2017-18 season. His authority, his desire, his commitment and his passion for getting better each day on and off the pitch is incomparable to his predecessors. It is often said about Mourinho’s short termism in the clubs he joins however United look a different proposition to him having cried on the day when he found out that David Moyes would be taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson. He dreamt of this role since 2013 and after successfully laying his hands on it, he will surely be looking to make the most of it by bringing back the club where it belongs; at the top.

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