Following a crucial loss in the derby to Manchester City in the Premier league, Manchester United were shockingly defeated by Bristol City in the quarterfinal of the Carabao Cup. With these two monumental results in such a short span of time, United need to sort out what will define a successful season going forward.
With the title seemingly out of reach, after the 2-1 loss in the Manchester derby, and following the 2-1 loss to Bristol City on Wednesday, it is clear now that the pressure is rising on José Mourinho and United to succeed in the FA cup and Champions league. However, the question remains; what exactly will constitute a successful season at this point for Manchester United? Almost halfway into the season, let’s go over what is important in each competition that remains for Untied in order to have a successful season.
Given the way Manchester City have been playing this season, and the difference of 11 points between the two giants of Manchester in the current table, it may be time for United to shift focus from contending with City for the title, to settling for a finish in the top four.
United need to focus on going into the new year still holding onto second place and maintaining their place in the top four at the end of the season. They may not be in a great position in the table to surpass the noisy neighbors in the Premier league for the title, but they still can finish in a top four spot to ensure another Champions league campaign next season.
Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal are all breathing down United’s necks in the standings, and could pose a threat to United’s poor form right now if they do not get it together going into the new year. Not to mention, Tottenham and Burnley are both in good form and are both within 10 points of United as well. United still have to face Leicester City, Burnley, and Southampton in the Premier league before the new year starts. It is crucial for Mourinho to get his side organized and motivated in order to finish out 2017 strong and keep United on the right track for a top four finish at the end of the season.
The only domestic cup left for United to contend for this season, following the shocking loss to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup is more important to win now for United, more than ever. By getting knocked out of the Carabao cup, and losing grip on the title to Manchester City, the upcoming matchup in the third round of the FA Cup versus Derby County is a must win for Manchester United.
United needs to show a strong force in domestic play going forward, and the expectation for the players should be lifting the FA Cup trophy at Wembley come cup final time. In order to reinforce their presence to the rest of England, they must perform at the highest caliber against Derby County on January 5th in order to setup a promising FA Cup run.
Let us not forget about all the glory and anticipation for the round of 16 in Champions league next year. Manchester United have drawn Spanish side, Sevilla, and will have their work cut out for them.
Sevilla won the Europa league three years in a row, from 2013-2016, before United won the same trophy last year. This is not a team to expect an easy victory against. Sevilla are contending for a top four spot currently in La Liga, among giants like Barcelona and Real Madrid. With that being said, United need to focus harder and prepare given the time they have before their Champions league matchup on February 21st with Sevilla.
A deep run in the Champions league competition is crucial for United. If they are not able to lift the FA Cup trophy at the end of the season, they better be able to at least contend for the Champions league trophy, given their draw. A spot in the Champions league cup final should be José Mourinho’s top goal for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season.