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The ESPN FC crew discuss Jose Mourinho and how things are going at Manchester United.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Jose Mourinho and how things are going at Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho has reached 100 games as Manchester United manager. We look at his record so far, how it compares, his signings, and his highs and lows.

The record

Premier League: Finishing sixth in the Premier League last season would have been an abject failure had United not won the Europa League to get back into the Champions League. They are at least mounting a challenge this season, but Mourinho will not class his time at Old Trafford as a success until he has won the title. It already looks like he will have to wait until next season at the earliest.

Champions League: Mourinho’s record in the Champions League with United stands at five wins from six games. It guaranteed smooth progress into the knockout rounds, and after drawing Sevilla in the round-of-16, they will expect to make into the quarterfinals. Anything beyond that will be a success for a United team who didn’t even qualify in two of the previous three seasons.

Europa League: United made a slow start to last season’s Europa League, losing two of their first four games. But once Mourinho realised it was the best hope of making it back into the Champions League, United looked destined to win it. They got a scare against Celta Vigo in the semifinals, particularly the second leg at Old Trafford, but Ajax hardly got a kick in the final.

FA Cup: Mourinho took the FA Cup seriously last season when he didn’t need the hassle of extra games. He picked a strong team against Chelsea in the sixth round, and the result might have been different had Ander Herrera not been sent off in the first half. He picked another strong side against Derby in the third round this season and looks set to give the competition another good go. It’s a slight anomaly that Mourinho has won it only once.

League Cup: Mourinho has a good record in the League Cup, and it continued last term. Winning a trophy so early in his first season got a monkey off his back straight away. Defeat to Championship side Bristol City in the quarterfinals this season was one of the worst results of Mourinho’s reign, but winning the competition already will have taken the edge off.

Other: Mourinho won the Community Shield against Leicester last season, but the performance against Real Madrid in the Super Cup in August was disappointing. The game finished 2-1, but United never looked likely to win it.

How he compares

Jose Mourinho P100 W62 D23 L15 F180 A70  Win: 62%

Sir Alex Ferguson P100 W48 D31 L21 F152 A93 Win: 48%

David Moyes (full tenure, didn’t last 100 games) P51 W27 D9 L15 F86 A54 Win: 53% 

Louis van Gaal (first 100 games, lasted 103 overall) P100 W52 D25 L23 F151 A93 Win: 52%

The spending 

Alexis Sanchez: 8/10. On paper he looks like a big upgrade from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a terrific coup from under the noses of Manchester City.

Romelu Lukaku: 7/10. Goals have not been a problem for the Belgian, but goals in the biggest games have been. He has still scored only once against a team in the top half this season.

Nemanja Matic: 5/10. The Serbian midfielder started the season well after his move from Chelsea, and although his form has dipped slightly, he has still been one of the reasons Paul Pogba has kicked on.

Victor Lindelof: 5/10. The Swede has not had that many opportunities to prove that his £31 million move from Benfica represents value for money, but the 23-year-old was bought for the future rather than to have an instant impact.

2016-17

Paul Pogba: 8/10. The word record £89.3 million United spent on Paul Pogba is already starting to look like a bargain.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6/10. He scored some important goals in the Europa League last season, but the fact that he has been allowed to join Arsenal after just 18 months tells you everything.

Eric Bailly: 7/10. His injury record is starting to become a concern, but when fit, he is United’s best centre-back. The £30 million fee already looks like a steal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 8/10. He scored 28 goals in his first season, a fantastic return for a free transfer. Injury has ruined any chance of seeing what else he could achieve.

Lukaku: Is he the right man?

United beat Chelsea to the signing of Lukaku from Everton last summer, choosing to overlook Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata in order to strike a deal for the Belgian. So far, the jury is out on both Lukaku and Morata, who ended up at Chelsea instead. Lukaku has hit 17 goals in 33 games for United, but he has still to make a decisive contribution against a top-six rival. The arrival of Sanchez will only help Lukaku because the Chilean will free space for the centre-forward, but Lukaku has to take advantage and show that he has the personality and mental strength to play for a club of United’s stature.

How important is the Sanchez deal?

Beating Manchester City to the signing of Sanchez from Arsenal was a huge statement by United as a club — one that tells the rest of Europe that they mean business at Old Trafford. Off the pitch, United have already seen the Sanchez deal work for them, and it is difficult to imagine that the player will not make a similar impact on the pitch. Mourinho will regard the signing as proof of his ability to still attract the best players, especially when he overcame old rival Pep Guardiola to sign the forward.

Alexis Sanchez’s arrival was a huge coup for Jose Mourinho after beating Manchester City to his signature.

High point

United have had some good results under Mourinho: beating Chelsea at Old Trafford last season and Arsenal at the Emirates in December. But the high point of his reign so far was lifting the Europa League.

United fans got to go to another European final, and victory over Ajax ensured Champions League football this season. It turned an average first season in charge into a successful one.

It might be a competition that the super clubs tend to overlook as second rate, but it enabled United to complete the set of major trophies, it re-established the club’s status as a European force, and crucially, it secured a route back into the Champions League, so it was a hugely significant success.

Low point

Defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford in December. United looked like title challengers until that point, but victory for Pep Guardiola’s side opened an 11-point lead at the top of the table.

It wasn’t just the result that was disappointing. It finished 2-1, but United never really looked in the game. A chance to make a statement in the title race passed them by.

Elsewhere, last season’s 4-0 Premier League defeat at Chelsea was a humiliation for Mourinho in more ways than one. It was a stinging defeat for United, but less than a year after being sacked by Chelsea, to go back and suffer such a heavy loss was painful for the Special One — especially when new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte prompted his anger by urging the Stamford Bridge fans to turn up the volume.

The fan view

Manchester United fans aren’t enamoured with Mourinho yet, but he has begun to give them a glimpse into the past.

They won two trophies last season, they’re in the highest position they’ve consistently been in the league for years, they’re past the group stages of the Champions League, and they’re buying world-class players.

His tactics for the big games are frustrating, and that is the biggest gripe the supporters have with him. Being more reserved isn’t such a problem, and they’d certainly rather draw 0-0 at Anfield than concede four goals there like Manchester City did, but more risks need to be taken.

Only two teams have scored more than United, and no side has conceded fewer. City will win the league this season, but if United buy well in the summer, they could and should be serious contenders next season.

It was always going to take a long time to undo the damage caused by David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, but Mourinho certainly has United heading in the right direction again. — Scott Patterson

Jose Mourinho has a better win percentage than Sir Alex Ferguson after each manager’s first 100 games at Manchester United.

The future

Mourinho has signed a new contract until 2020, with the option of another year. The speculation surrounding his future, therefore, has finished, and now United can enjoy something approaching stability following the chaotic tenures of the previous two managers.

Mourinho has already won two trophies, but his time at Old Trafford will be judged on how he does in the Premier League and the Champions League. The ultimate aim is to win both competitions.

Signing Sanchez should get United closer, but Mourinho will hope that by the start of next summer he has a team capable of competing with Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

What happens in the summer?

Mourinho has done well to land Sanchez in January, and he is a signing that will boost United’s immediate hopes in the Premier League and Champions League. But for United to compete for the title next season, he still needs to bolster his squad, and there will be some big arrivals in the summer.

Expect at least two new midfielders to arrive, with the likes of Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and perhaps even Ander Herrera and Juan Mata moved out. The summer will be about quality rather than quantity, but the Sanchez deal shows that United can appeal to the biggest names.

Where will United be once Mourinho gets to 200 games?

Mourinho has assembled a strike-force capable of cutting through any opponent in the game, so United will not lack firepower as they attempt to return to the days of winning Premier Leagues and Champions Leagues. But they still lack class, creativity and depth in midfield, and they continue to look vulnerable at the back when injuries hit key players.

Mourinho will need to boost his squad again before making United champions, either of England or Europe. But United are heading in the right direction again, so do not be surprised if they add at least one major trophy — the Premier League or Champions League — to the honours’ list during Mourinho’s next 100 games.


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