The lovely thing about Jose Mourinho being Manchester United’s manager is, when he’s not going over the top, that he can absolutely hack off any other manager at will. He’s dismantled Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez long ago, but he’s getting to both Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp too. His provocation of Pep Guardiola was a thing of beauty while the two of them were in Spain. But now he’s even getting on people like Ronald Koeman’s nerves, simply by saying Everton have lofty ambitions after spending £140m.
Ashley Young’s return to fitness has aided United of late. He featured against Basel, and then did well against Everton. While not exactly a natural left-back, he adapted well under Louis van Gaal and has performed adequately since then. Far from perfect, but a step up from Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind.
Some relatively less bad news: Mourinho has denied a Sunday Times report that Paul Pogba could be out of action for three months. The original stories indicated that he should actually be out for between four to six weeks, which while a serious problem, is less of a disruption to the whole season.
It was reassuring to see that Wayne Rooney is no longer capable of raising his game. He was absolutely magic at times for United in his first five years at the club, but things started to fall apart pretty rapidly. His misses, sluggish running and poor passing suggests that this simply who he is now. A shame, but a vindication of the decision to get rid in the summer.
Bad news, though. Mourinho thinks that one day Rooney will come ‘home’ to United. Presumably that means he’ll be bunged another wedge of cash in order to parade as an ambassador in front of tourists at Old Trafford and on pre-season tours. What a magical club this is.