Why United will be glad it’s the international break
JOSE MOURINHO has had a tough few months in charge of Manchester United.
A tricky start to the season has left Manchester United fans fuming. £89m summer signing Paul Pogba has borne the brunt for some rather indifferent displays. But with a two-week break, the focus shifts away from Old Trafford.
Express Sport examines the six key reasons why Mourinho and United will be glad there’s international football on.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic breather It’s always a worry for managers when their players go on international duty. Most will have a nagging thought at the back of the mind questioning what would happen if a key star returned injured.
But after retiring from the international scene following Sweden’s exit at Euro 2016, Zlatan Ibrahimovic can afford a breather.
Although he scored twice in the 3-1 win over Swansea last weekend, Ibrahimovic hasn’t been as sharp in recent weeks as he was at the start of the season.
A two-week break will no doubt do him the world of good!
No Premier League football It seems like a rather obvious point, but a change of scenery could give the players a lift.
Premier League football is always quite physical and demanding, and at this time, it could be just the respite United’s players need.
Pressure off Jose Mourinho Well it is for now. Mourinho has come under fire from all corners.
His recent criticism of Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling over their unavailability for the Swansea game has drawn widespread consternation amongst the media.
Mourinho has also admitted he’s not enjoying life in Manchester being away from his kids, so hopefully he will get the family time he so craves.
Tough challenges await The fans bored with the international football will no doubt be looking ahead to Manchester United’s upcoming fixtures.
With the visit of Arsenal a week on Saturday, it doesn’t get much tougher.
In the next six weeks or so, United face West Ham, who are battling at the wrong end of the table, while there are also games against fellow top-four hopefuls Everton and Tottenham.
United will be need to firing on all cylinders if they hope to get positive results from those fixtures.
Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling
This has been an ongoing debate for the past few days.
Mourinho was far from complementary about the duo, and he needs to learn to be careful about what he says in public.
The media will now have other things to cover, which will take the pair out of the spotlight.
The Portuguese tactician has been sullen this season, but he has to show he has complete faith in his players.
No Europa League The 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce last week angered Mourinho.
United can’t afford an early exit from Europe.
While the Europa League is a long, drawn out competition, the prize of an automatic Champions League spot come the end of the season is a decent carrot.
At least with international football, United can forget their trials and tribulations and when they resume European duties, hopefully they will have learned the lessons of that night in Istanbul. – ExpressSport