Why United will be glad it’s the in­ter­na­tional break

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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

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