By 90Min
August 06, 2018

Manchester United signed off pre-season with a 1-0 friendly defeat against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena over the weekend. On the face of it, a narrow away defeat against one of Europe's best teams and still without a handful of key players looks respectable. In reality, United were disappointing, struggling to create and generally failing to attack with any gusto.

It became an all too familiar sight as last season wore on, despite an outstanding start to the campaign during which United had netted four goals in four of their first Premier League games.

Many will argue it bears little reflection on what will happen when the real football begins this coming weekend, but United's pre-season has been poor.

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Even a weakened side should have been able to beat Club America and San Jose Earthquakes - a young United side hammered LA Galaxy 7-0 in the summer of 2014 - followed by 4-1 a thrashing at the hands of Liverpool. Ironically, the only game United won inside 90 minutes was against reigning European champions Real Madrid, albeit a largely unrecognisable Blancos XI.

Mourinho has cut a miserable figure for most of pre-season and as the transfer deadline looms, the Portuguese has caused a stir by suggesting that United are in for a 'difficult season' if no more players are brought in before the transfer window for Premier League clubs closes.

"The other clubs who compete with us are really strong and have fantastic squads, like Chelsea, Tottenham or Manchester City, or they are investing massively like Liverpool, that are buying everything and everybody," he said.

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"And if we don't make our team better it will be a difficult season for us."

Brazilian midfielder Fred is the only United signing so far this summer who fans can expect to see on a regular basis, with teenage full-back Diogo Dalot signed for the future and veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant drafted in as emergency back-up.

Mourinho's pessimism is troubling. United clearly have talented players that he doesn't seem able to get the best out of and no end of public criticism is helping that.

The fact that Paul Pogba shone so brightly at the World Cup shows just how capable he is of performing at an elite level. That version Pogba is seen only sporadically at club level, while Mourinho seems to be a major reason why Anthony Martial is so intent on leaving.

Whether he is different behind closed doors or not is irrelevant, his public pessimistic demeanour is enough to create a negative atmosphere.

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Despite some of the horribly turgid displays of last season, this is a team that should be on the up, even without new faces. United finished second in the Premier League last season with 81 points, the club's highest position and best tally in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. There is a good mix of youth and experience, as well as many academy talents eagerly waiting in the wings for their chances.

Instead of getting ready made excuses in place and telling the world that this United team has no hope of satisfying expectation, Mourinho needs to be backing and actually enabling his very talented players to maximise their enormous potentials.

For a group with such skilled and attack-minded players like Pogba, Martial, Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and more, United are way too reserved and that is either a direct instruction from a safety first manager or an effect of rock bottom confidence.

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Mourinho needs to work on building a feel good factor, telling his players they can compete with the Premier League and Europe's best, not telling he whole world they have no hope.

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