Despite spending hundreds of millions of pounds on a number of marquee additions in the last 18 months, it would be wrong to suggest that Jose Mourinho is content with his squad at Manchester United.
While a number of the players like Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are Mourinho recruits, a great deal of the squad are from previous regimes and it’s no secret that he wants to further reshape his squad in January.
Although they started the season well, United are already five points adrift of rivals Manchester City having played a game more and while it’s by no means an insurmountable lead, it’s hard for anyone to look past City in terms of the title race. Visit these betting sites for the best odds on the Premier League.
United now find themselves embroiled in a five-way race to secure a Champions League spot next season and they find themselves in pole position to do so, but if we’re being brutally honest, they’re finding ways to win that we did not expect them to.
This was epitomised in last night’s 4-2 away win at Watford where, on a night where Manchester United’s key attacking outlets were not firing on all cylinders, it was Ashley Young who stepped up yet again, netting two goals from an unfamiliar wing-back position to help United secure all three points.
Young, now 32, wasn’t someone many people expected to feature prominently under Mourinho, especially as he was strongly linked with an exit from the club last season, but he’s taken his chance.
With the likes of Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian all losing the manager’s trust, an opportunity presented itself to Young to stake his claim for a role in the side, albeit at left-back, and he’s grasped it with both hands, form which has seen him regain his place in the England squad.
After an assist last week, Young’s midweek brace helped United further themselves from the pack chasing Champions League football and closed the gap on City at the top.
Young isn’t the only squad player at United who’s earned themselves a regular role. Midfielders Marouane Fellaini and Phil Jones are both regulars in the matchday squads and given the talent in their respective positions, it’s a testament to their work ethic to battle back into Mourinho’s thoughts.
While Mourinho will be planning a massive overhaul in the next two transfer windows, the efforts of the likes of Young, Fellaini and Jones has helped bridge the gap so to speak.
If United plan on battling their way back into the title race then it will be done off the consistent performances of players like Ashley Young and Phil Jones, players who were written off not too long ago but have found a new lease of life under Mourinho this season.