Will Mourinho park the bus again?
Exploiting a kind early-season schedule, Manchester United have showed attacking flair under Jose Mourinho by scoring four goals in six of its 11 games.
It’s time to find out if that positive approach is here to stay now the fixtures are stiffening for the team.
Among their next four games in the English Premier League, United face Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea - sides which will be likely contenders for the title. A visit to fierce rival Liverpool is first tonight, meaning a return to the scene of probably United’s most negative and defensive performance last season. It was a classic, containing game plan by Mourinho and it made for an underwhelming 0-0 at Anfield, with United having only 35 per cent possession.
Some labelled it a betrayal of United’s attacking heritage, especially on the back of three consecutive off-seasons of heavy spending. Others said it was an entirely sensible ploy given that Liverpool had English soccer’s most prolific attack at the time.
Mourinho couldn’t really care less, relishing the fact his side stifled what he called, somewhat tongue in cheek, ‘‘the last wonder of the world in attacking football.’'
In his second season at United and having stamped more of his authority on the team, Mourinho has many wondering whether he’ll take a more positive outlook into games against his big rivals. That’s why this north-west derby - widely regarded as the most illustrious game on the English football calendar - has another level of intrigue.
‘‘Do I like to go to Anfield? Yes, I love it. Do I like to play against Liverpool? Yes,’' said Mourinho.
Manchester City and United both have 19 points and are five clear of third-placed Tottenham.