Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, Jose Mourinho is basically guaranteed to be the next manager of Manchester United following Louis Van Gaal’s official departure this week. Despite winning the FA cup this season, Van Gaal’s time at United was tumultuous. He created a solid defense, took United back into the Champions League for one season, and promoted several promising youth players. However, he also splurged ~250m what should have been a title-challenging team, did not qualify for the Champions League this season, and played at-times dreary football that alienated supporters.
Mourinho comes with a reputation, but then so did Van Gaal. Mourinho comes with baggage and controversy, but as United fans found out, so did Van Gaal. Neither man will repeat the dynasty of Alex Ferguson, Mourinho has been around enough posts for everyone to predict how his tenure will progress, and end in three-four seasons.
Football expert Jonathan Wilson has already stated that Mourinho brings guaranteed trophies, nearly always winning the league in his second season with a team. While the Premier League, with six sides all with spending money and top managers next season, might be too difficult for him to repeat his success with Inter Milan, where he never lost the league, a title is not unforeseeable.
Leagues and cups are expected at United, and can be delivered through financially backing Jose Mourinho (already sources state £150m in spending is planned this transfer window). However true success will be found in two other categories.
The first real challenge is to win the Champions League. European competition is the one football arena where United can never make a claim to being the best. Even during Ferguson’s 27 year reign they only won two Champions Leagues, without being dominant in either final. It could even be said that Ferguson’s teams, despite normally being the best in England, could never claim to be the outstanding side on the continent, except perhaps from 2008-2010, and even that is in doubt because of the rise of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
Mourinho won’t be competing in Europe’s top competition next season, however this may be an advantage in a sense, as he will have an extra year of investment and instilling his methods on the players before they make a proper fist of it in 2017-18. This is also an extra year for something to go wrong in the three teams that United will have to go through in order to win (Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich).