Mourinho finally found the golden formula for United

Published 18.04.2017 01:13

Although Manchester United have been performing well since February, victory against Chelsea was the true turning point in their season.

Firstly, it was clear evidence that Jose Mourinho can tactically outfox the best Premier League team and coach. Secondly, this win will provide Manchester United a much-needed moral boost for next season. After a long trial and error period, Mourinho finally struck the right note in his counter-attacking strategy and the squad to utilize it.

The Special One's team is now able to produce opportunities throughout the 90 minutes, and their way of doing so has settled enough, that it can be repeated without any major problem. With Ander Herrera organizing the game in the center and delivering crucial passes, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young both hit the corner flags, in order to widen Chelsea defense that created more space for Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.

This formation in the offensive side proved itself to be very effective against Chelsea and Mourinho's team did not have problem passing the ball around their opponent's penalty box. In addition, as a sign of a well settled game plan, the sustained speed of their circulation was good enough to threaten the Chelsea defense.

The only major problem in United's attacks was the lack of a clear plan of action when the ball was in the final third. Even though the team performed very well until the ball reached the opponent's penalty box, players needed a more precise strategy to eventually move on to the goal.

If Mourinho decides to move Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba 10 meters forward in the following games, they might come to a point where the team can supply precise set-pieces in the final third. At this point, however, Mourinho seems to be stuck between his old chaotic tactics and the new-found ways of creating opportunities.

What's more, as I have pointed before in this column, I am glad to see young players like Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard on the pitch, rather than Zlatan İbrahimovic and Wayne Rooney. The old guards, have clearly lost significant physical abilities in the last three or four years and are clearly more egocentric, when compared to the youngsters.

With Lingard and Rashford, Jose Mourinho has managed to achieve a level of fluidity and speed in the final third, given the duo are much more loyal to their coaches' tactics and are more suited to collective action, and not to mention their defensive contributions.

Mourinho's current team is on the right track toward becoming clear title-contenders next season. Now, if he can churn out the right strategy for the final third, Manchester United have all the right ingredients to rediscover its old lethal bite.

As I have said, I would field Pogba and Fellaini closer to Herrera, in order to strengthen the center, after all, what Herrera did to Eden Hazard, may very well be done to him and it can put United's game under great risk. But, for now, United is in a good shape, and their opponents should start taking notes if they want to stop them next season.

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