Manchester United must win the Europa League for Jose Mourinho’s sake

Ed Nixon Roar Pro

By Ed Nixon, Ed Nixon is a Roar Pro

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    Manchester United’s Europa League final against Ajax is a must win game for manager Jose Mourinho as he looks to silence his critics.

    A win in the final will assure United of Champions League football next season, something they haven’t achieved since Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge, during the 2014-15 campaign.

    United haven’t reached the knockout stages of the tournament since David Moyes guided the team to the quarter-finals in 2013-14, an unacceptable feat for a side which has a strong tradition of dominating world football.

    With Mourinho’s current side languishing in sixth place in the EPL, and no hopes of making the top four, the Europa League is their only way of joining Europe’s elite once more.

    Next Thursday’s final is an important one for Mourinho, not just for this season, but for his long-term future at Old Trafford.

    The Portuguese was brought in last summer with the objective to once again compete for the Premier League title, something he has failed to do.

    Despite spending big in the summer on the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrik Mkyitarayan and Eric Bailly, United haven’t been in the top four since the opening month of the season.

    During a frustrating season for Red Devils fans, which has seen their side draw 17 games in all competitions, players and coaches alike have come under increased pressure and criticism.

    Mourinho has been the target of much of this.

    The ‘Special One’ has seemingly spent the whole season placing the blame elsewhere when his side drops points, an act which has alienated him from many of the United fan-base.

    Victory over Ajax and qualification to the Champions League will be a huge step in the right direction, but defeat could spell danger for the Portuguese, especially given the way he has handled his squad in recent weeks.

    Mourinho has put all his eggs in one basket, with that basket being winning the Europa League.

    Is this the right thing to do though?

    Simply put, the answer is yes.

    Winning the Europa League is United’s only way of playing Champions League football next season, and Mourinho has known that for a long time.

    As United have progressed in Europe, their league form has faded away dramatically, largely due to Mourinho prioritising the former.

    Having rested key players ahead of their semi-final against Celta Vigo, United have seen a dip in their league form, picking up just two points from their last four games.

    Admittedly, United have been hampered by injuries this season, to the point where they only had 13 fit players for a recent game against Swansea, resulting in youth players Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay being thrust into the spotlight.

    If United are to lose to Ajax, Mourinho’s great plan will all of a sudden seem a little naive. Ajax are coming off a season where they finished second in the Dutch Eredivisie, and are capable of causing an upset.

    Another season without Champions League action will make it harder for United to attract big-name singings in the summer, as Mourinho looks to overhaul an under-performing squad.

    For his own sake, Mourinho better hope his side beats Ajax, because the consequences for not doing so could be costly.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • May 17th 2017 @ 10:12pm
      Gavin R said | May 17th 2017 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

      If they fail to win, i dont see his decision to prioritise Europa over Premier League as a bad decision or naive. They have been off the pace for quite a long time and devastated by injuries. Winning a few knockout matches is easier than playing catch up over a sustained period of time.

      Missing out on the champions league wont be as bad for the club as Arsenal missing out because they have a manager and the finances to still attract top talent; albeit at a premium.

      • Roar Pro

        May 18th 2017 @ 7:46pm
        Ed Nixon said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

        I think missing out on Champions League football would be terrible for United. With the money they have spent, and the faith they have placed in Mourinho, the least he was expected to return is CL football.

        United did well to win the League Cup, and have played well in the Europa League. I think they will win it, and deservedly so. What they have done with so many injuries is commendable. It is just unfortunate for them that their league form has suffered.

        As for your Arsenal argument, I think it’s worse for them to miss out. Arsenal haven’t been genuine league contenders in years. They have always finished in the top 4 however, and if they don’t do that, then they have nothing, and Wenger is in trouble.

    • Roar Pro

      May 18th 2017 @ 5:29am
      The Doc said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:29am | ! Report

      Nice read. As much as I hate Manchester United, victory in the Europa would almost make them the most successful English premier team this season (unless Chelsea win the double). An EFL, Europa cup and UCL qualification would cap off a brilliant first year for united when much has gone wrong.
      When you have unlimited funds you don’t get a lot of sympathy when you have injuries. Having spoken to a few fans recentlyI am not sure all is well either. Mourinho may be a winner but their game style, prioritising Europa over League is putting a lot of fans offside. Their mentality is that they are United and they compete on all fronts.
      I am desperately hoping for an Ajax win but as Gavin said, even if they don’t win, they will once again break the bank and probably make it next year.

      • Roar Pro

        May 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm
        Ed Nixon said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

        Thanks mate. I agree that they will have had a strong season if they do win, and will throw ridiculous amounts of money to go after to league and CL double next season.

        A lot rides on the FA Cup final for Chelsea and Arsenal. Wenger can justify his job with a win, whilst Chelsea can confirm their season dominance.

        I think Utd will win. It’ll be close, Ajax are a good team. But as you say, they’ll spend big either way.

    • Roar Pro

      May 18th 2017 @ 8:57am
      David McDaniel said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      I hope they lose and Mourinho is sacked, I don’t want him anywhere near the Premier League. Managers like Conte, Klopp, Guardiola and Pochettino are a class above him with their personality, tactical intelligence and their enthusiasm.

      Unfortunately, Mourinho has not evolved enough to keep up with them. As a lifelong Chelsea fan, I was happy the first couple of seasons but he has not adapted from those years and is being left in the dust.

      • May 18th 2017 @ 5:41pm
        frany said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

        Mourinho has lots of skill, there is just one part of him that is a little child.

      • Roar Pro

        May 18th 2017 @ 7:52pm
        Ed Nixon said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

        Mourinho won’t get sacked, even if they do lose. I think that’s clear to see.

        The board at Utd have put trust in him to spend crazy amounts of money, something they never did with Moyes.

        I agree that his managerial style has become rather frustrating. I’m not a Utd fan, but haven’t enjoyed watching them play this year, especially without Zlatan.

        Once his side takes the lead, they are tough to beat. We might see his ‘park the bus’ tactics next week.

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