When Manchester United got off to a nightmare start in the 2007/08 and the 2008/09 seasons, I was as happy as can be, being a Chelsea fan.
There was no way they had any chance of winning the league after beginning so poorly, was there? But Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides never knew how and when to give up. They went on to win the title in both those seasons, despite having just 5 points from their opening 4 games.
We have begun in similar fashion this time around, with 4 points in as many games. There is still an incredibly long way to go, but the table sees us in 13th place. This is a very vital season, for the players, for Jose Mourinho and the club as a whole. We had it easy last year, and nobody was good enough to challenge us throughout. This time, it’s completely different, and we need to dig deep and show character.
For Mourinho as a manager, it is a test he needs to pass. His detractors have always maintained that he has never stuck to a club for too long and has quit whenever the going has got a bit tough. This is something he needs to refute, and his man-management skills along with his tactical acumen are going to be tested to the absolute limit this season.
The change that is required is less on the pitch and more in the minds of the players. It is quite apparent that lethargy and complacency has crept into several veterans on the side, names of whom have been mentioned again and again since last week’s defeat at home to Crystal Palace.
The likes of Cesc Fabregas Nemanja Matic, Branislav Ivanovic, and Diego Costa have been shadows of their selves from last season and needed reality checks. They are probably a bit too secure about their place in the side, and Mourinho needs to bring them back down to earth by probably chopping and changing a bit in the coming weeks.
This is the same team that dominated almost every side in the league last year. A slap in the face and a kick up the backside is all that’s required to wake them from their slumber.
All in all, it’s nonsensical to say that we have no chance of winning the league. Manchester City looks unstoppable, but it has always seemed like that when they are in form. Once they buckle, they collapse. Records clearly show that even in their two league wins in 2012 and 2014, they very much did it the hard way. We need to stop worrying about their surge, concentrate on our own matches and start winning.
The feel-good factor will still take a while to return, but this will certainly be a huge step in that direction.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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