Jose Mourinho at Manchester United

It’s year two of the Jose Mourinho era at Old Trafford and if history tells us anything that means this is the year Manchester United will win the league. If you take a glance at the roster, you would think the same thing.

They have arguably the league’s best goalkeeper, copious amounts of goalscoring talent, the world’s most expensive midfielder and while their defense is a far cry from the Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra days, it’s not really any worse than any of their rivals.

But Manchester United aren’t going to win the league this year. In fact, getting back into the top four is no sure thing either.

Why?

Jose Mourinho.

I long haven’t been a fan of the Portuguese manager, and I had no problem going on record to say he would be exposed when he went to Manchester United.

The best thing that happened to Mourinho at Old Trafford was that he was the manager who followed Louis van Gaal. After a season of some of the most boring football to ever be played at Old Trafford, even Mourinho’s team was suddenly a bit more exciting to fans and pundits who reacted like the magic was back. It wasn’t. The team scored 54 goals in the Premier League and with a squad that included Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Paul Pogba. That’s a horrible output.

Last season, Mourinho failed to utilize what made Manchester United so great during the Sir Alex Ferguson years. Old Trafford.

Under Ferguson, United used to use the big pitch to their advantage. They ran and ran and ran against teams knowing they wouldn’t be able to keep up for a full 90 minutes. Eventually they would tire and break down. Mourinho did no such thing. His style revolved more around power and build up play. The slower pace allowed to stay in the game the whole way through, and the result was both teams often leaving Old Trafford with a point.

That’s what makes this marriage between manager and club so awkward. The squad that Manchester United have, one that was partially built by Mourinho, and the manager’s styles don’t match. Mourinho likes structure and rigidness. United’s best players, Mkhitaryan, Mata, Pogba, Rashford, and Ander Herrera are all players who thrive on freedom and being able to run all over the field.

Neither style is inherently right or wrong. When you’re playing Chelsea or Manchester City, you want more structure. But when playing Burnley or Swansea at home, giving those players more freedom could be the difference in turning those draws into wins. The issue is over his career, Mourinho is not typically one to change up his style.

This summer, Mourinho has set out to build the team more in his image. He added a big physical striker in Romelu Lukaku, defender Victor Lindelof, and midfielder Nemanja Matic. Other than Lindelof, the signings seem questionable at best.

Lukaku is a player that Mourinho deemed not good enough and shipped off to Everton when he was at Chelsea. At this point, it’s well known that the striker does not score against top six clubs. And while that should change with him playing with much better players at Manchester United, if Lukaku beats his best career scoring output by two goals, he would simply be replacing the 28 goals in all competitions Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the team last year. That wasn’t enough last year and it won’t be enough this year.

Mourinho actually went into the summer with the correct plan of trying to lure Eric Dier away from Tottenham. When that never materialized, the club ended up with Nemanja Matic. Matic is exactly what the team needs, but there are two concerns. The first is he hasn’t been the same player since 2015 when Mourinho ran him into the ground at Chelsea. The second is that Premier League champions Chelsea have now deemed him surplus to their requirements. Picking up a player that Chelsea have disregarded is not going to make you better than Chelsea.

United are moving in the right direction with their team but there are still way too many question marks regarding the style of the team and the style of the manager. Expectations are sky high around Old Trafford this year. United will be better than last year, but they still won’t live up to the hype.

About Pauly Kwestel

Pauly is a Producer for WFAN in New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has been writing about the beautiful game since 2010 and can be followed on twitter @pkwestelWFAN