Guardiola- United remain threat despite indifferent start to new season

By Soccer Blog | Sep 12, 2018

The gossip in England’s unofficial soccer capital, Manchester, has essentially followed two themes so far this year. One has been Manchester City kicking off the new season in much the same way as they finished the last, and looking like the class of the field. The other is United’s woeful start.

Losing two of their first three Premier League fixtures was the stuff of nightmares, and placed even more pressure on manager Jose Mourinho, with widespread rumors in the media that his days in charge of the world’s most famous team are numbered.

Jose M

All eyes on United

The iconic nature of Manchester United can be a two-edged sword. When things are going well, as they did in the Alex Ferguson years, nothing can be finer. But over the past two years under Mourinho, United has been in a rebuilding process. For sure, the team is as popular as ever, and tickets for a United game, like the ones available on this website, will always be in strong demand. In other words, the rebuilding is done before the eyes of the world, and when things go wrong, the reactions can be extreme.

For Mourinho, it could not have got off to a worse start. A disappointing transfer season, internal pressure from the board room and two high-profile defeats in the opening matches caused knives to be sharpened, but support has come from the most unlikely direction. Mourinho’s closest rival, City boss Pep Guardiola, says it is far too soon to write off the Red Devils.

Pep G

A great team

Speaking to reporters before the international break, he described United as “a great team” and said that it would be unwise to draw conclusions from the opening games. He said: “There are a lot of points to play for and the real season starts after the international break.”

When asked to comment on the pressure his cross-city rival is facing from the media, he said that it is “all part of the job” and described Mourinho as a “top, top manager.”

Back to the serious business

United went into the break with a workmanlike win over Burnley – the performance was far from convincing, but three points are three points, and it places United joint seventh in the table and four points behind City. Guardiola is right that the serious business starts this weekend.

United are away to Watford, who are one of only three Premier League teams to remain unbeaten. They will be desperate to maintain their remarkable run, so it is a bigger game than it might appear on paper. Manchester United are the even money favourites with bookmakers, but plenty will be tempted by the 3/1 odds for a Watford win.

After that, Mourinho’s men have an intriguing encounter against Wolves, who surprised everyone by holding City to a draw last month, before taking on the troubled Hammers. Ultimately, we will have a far more accurate view on how much of a threat United really are by the end of the month – Guardiola is right to be taking nothing for granted

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