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Man Utd season preview: Best bets for Jose Mourinho's side with manager enduring troubled pre-season

Last Updated August 08 2018, 14:01Football
Can Jose Mourinho get Manchester United to challenge Manchester City?
Can Jose Mourinho get Manchester United to challenge Manchester City?

Jose Mourinho has been a disgruntled figure throughout pre-season, will his downbeat mood translate to his players this season?

Mourinho starts his third season at Manchester United with more questions than answers about his Old Trafford residency, having been vocal in his frustrations throughout the summer.

Looking at the bare facts, Mourinho's men should be in a great position to try and challenge Manchester City this year having finished second last season in United's best league finish since Sir Alex Ferguson, in his final campaign of 2012-13, delivered a record 20th domestic title for the club.

They finished second in the Premier League and were FA Cup finalists, but the mood was not a happy one as fans became frustrated with Mourinho's safety first approach.

Mourinho has spent the summer upset at his World Cup players being missing and chiefly the lack of transfer activity while jealously looking at the massive outlay being made down the M62 at Liverpool.


Man Utd season specials (Sky Bet odds)

  • 7/2 - To win first three Premier League games
  • 2/1- Pogba to score 10+ Premier League goals
  • 11/4 - To concede under 30 Premier League goals
  • 5/1 - Sanchez to score 20+ Premier League goals
  • 4/1 - Mourinho to be the first Premier League manager to leave

Click here to the full range of Man Utd RequestABets from Sky Bet


United could be in trouble - Mourinho

Mourinho has already said his side could face a troubled season due to the lack of signings, and he looks to have turned on some of his players with Anthny Martial seemingly surplus to requirements and Paulo Pogba's relationship with the manager a strained one.

He starred in the World Cup, but Pogba never seemed to play as freely for United and even in the wake of France's success Morinho has hardly been glowing in his praise.

Fred in action for Brazil
Fred has been one of just three arrivals at Old Trafford

In the transfer market, defensive midfielder Fred arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk for a £50m-plus fee but did not play a single second of Brazil's World Cup campaign.

Teenage full-back Diogo Dalot, signed from Porto from £19m, and third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant - a £1.5m purchase from Stoke - are the only other summer recruits to date.

Mourinho wants a big-name centre half with Harry Maguire, Jerome Boating and Toby Alderweireld on his list - one can only imagine the mood the manager will be in if none of those targets are brought to Old Trafford before the deadline.

Are United as far behind as Mourinho says?

Antonio Valencia limped off injured
Antonio Valencia came in for criticism from Jose Mourinho

United were a whopping 19 points and 38 goals short of champions Manchester City as Pep Guardiola's close geographical proximity to Old Trafford added insult to injury.

Tottenham and Liverpool were also easier on the eye as Mourinho's functional football flopped in the Premier League's beauty stakes - but the results were by no means as bad as the style they were achieved.

As some sections of the support grew dissatisfied at Mourinho's safety-first tactics, United were either impressively efficient but that lack of attacking intent saw them come unstuck in a number of embarrassing circumstances


Premier League Golden Boot (Sky Bet odds)

  • 7/1 - Romelu Lukaku
  • 33/1 - Alexis Snchez
  • 50/1 - Marcus Rashford

United beat every one of the other 19 Premier League teams - including a remarkable 3-2 comeback win at City after being 2-0 down at half-time - but also lost to the promoted trio of Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle.

Meek surrender to Sevilla in the last 16 of the Champions League and to Chelsea in the FA Cup final provided further evidence that Mourinho remains some way from repeating previous glories.

The main frustration from the Old Trafford faithful was that United have an abundance of attacking talent that just seemed to be shackled by the manager's approach.

No sign that Mourinho will change his style

Jose Mourinho: The Manchester United boss has had a frustrating summer
Jose Mourinho: The Manchester United boss has had a frustrating summer

So what to expect of United in 2018-19? Well, probably much of the same.

The determination - and eventual success - in tying down Marouane Fellaini to a new two-year contract indicates Mourinho will never forsake his football principles, even if many fans would have been content to see the big Belgian depart to signal a return to United's traditional free-flowing style of play.

It is hoped that Alexis Sanchez, so disappointing after joining from Arsenal in January, will finally get his United career off the ground after a rare summer of rest from international duty.


PFA Player of the Year (Sky Bet odds)


But creativity - or rather the lack of it - remains a concern, and a suspect central defence which has far too often relied on the brilliance of goalkeeper David de Gea has yet to be strengthened.

Closing the gap on City looks a tall order and might depend on Guardiola's squad suffering a reaction to last season's efforts and coming back to the pack.

If United do not manage it, Mourinho can expect even more questions to come his way.

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Our best bets for Crystal Palace's clash with Liverpool

Crystal Palace v Liverpool tips

Monday Night Football returns for the 2018/19 season as Crystal Palace welcome Liverpool. Tom Carnduff picks out his best bets.

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