Connect in the back of the net

If Jose Mourinho has cut off a contented figure in recent times, it’s only because Manchester United are where they need to be.

The Red Devils are neck-to-neck with Manchester City in the title challenge after seven games, and are only toppled by their noisy neighbors on goal difference.

Contrary to last season, Jose has toned down on expressing his emotions on the touch lines, choosing instead to avoid altercations with match officials like plague.

This has put him in good stead with the FA, and in classic Mourinho fashion as with everything else he does, worked to his amusement.

 

Biggest bugbear

Jose Mourinho has an outspoken personality that may at time be misconstrued as arrogance or insubordination.

The motive to speak his mind in the face of presumed injustice is his biggest bugbear. It cost him dearly during the first half of last season and nearly did when United drew 2-2 with Stoke City in September.

It’s a given that aggressive tendencies on the dugout often have a ripple effect on discipline of the team in question. Similarly, a high sense of discipline and restraint on the touchlines inculcates a sense of discipline on the turf, translating into results.

Such has been the story for Manchester United this season, who are one of two teams to maintain an unbeaten record in the Premier League thus far. In laconic terms, in working on himself, Mourinho has worked for his side.

 

Tactical Discipline

United’s discipline hasn’t just come in the form of proper mannerisms on the pitch but also in tactical awareness.

The Red Devils have strictly adhered to Jose’s instructions; one that seen them register wins against teams they were lukewarm against last season.

Goals against Swansea, Leicester, Everton and Crystal Palace have come during the final stages of the game.

This goes to show how Jose’s charges have matured in discipline and belief in their system, unlike last season where they more often than not crumbled under pressure.

 

United the difference

Be it at Inter Milan, Chelsea or Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho has always locked horns with authority. Although he periodically did that with United during his first season, something seems to have changed in him.

Jose is more measured in his statements with the press nowadays and is rarely an attraction during the games. Some say it was as a result of a joint heart-to-heart session with Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson on ‘The United Way’ or even a word of caution from the owners through Ed Woodward.

Whatever it may be, rather than changing United, the club may have very well changed him.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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