Changes need to be made.
Truthfully? Many may doubt if the Portuguese has too much pride to see the error of his ways. Shades of Arsene Wenger have crept out in the last few weeks, and that's not a good thing.
I need to emotionally detach myself from this Man Utd team— Olangdaddy 🇸🇱 (@Selenks1) August 28, 2018
Not many of us have won the Champions League with Porto, but that was 14 years ago now. Times are changing, and if Mourinho fails to adept, he'll be left behind. Statistics would show Manchester United are the biggest club in England, therefore second place isn't good enough.
With the wealth of talent at the club's disposal, finding a way to get everybody clicking shouldn't be difficult. Here's what needs to be switched up, in regards to tactics, formation and players.
GOALKEEPER - DAVID DE GEA
David De Gea is the best goalkeeper on the planet. Saving the Red Devils more times than it's possible to remember, there is no chance Sergio Romero or Lee Grant can take his place.
Cat-like reflexes and an ever-growing maturity means he's one of the first names on the team sheet. If only the defence in front of him could get it sorted.
DEFENCE - ERIC BAILLY, CHRIS SMALLING, MARCOS ROJO
Manchester United need to change from four at the back. Whether that's to three or five, it doesn't matter. Stylistically inept, too much space is found between the central players and fullbacks.
To create a high press you need athletic prowess and commitment from the whole unit. Right now, Victor Lindelof isn't good enough to warrant anything more than a bench place.
I’ll go on record to say Victor Lindelof is the worst United defender I have ever seen. It’s like he’s a fitness coach who’s blagged a game, we’d be stronger with 10 men.— Gaz (@CantonaManc) August 27, 2018
While Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly haven't covered themselves in glory, their defensive instincts are far more honed than their teammates. In this formation, defenders are to defend. Nothing else. Win the ball, pass it to somebody better than you.
Against Spurs, Man Utd couldn't deal with Lucas Moura cutting in from wide or Dele Alli's movement in the hole. PLlying with three at the back cuts out the indecisive nature of picking up a man between the lines, while width is covered by the defensively minded wide men of midfield.
Bailly will bounce back from his horror show at Brighton, and Smalling has the physical capacity to lock down Chris Wood. With Luke Shaw's slow press creating the second Spurs goal and Phil Jones' inability to handle Harry Kane for the first; athletic, strong defenders are a must.
That's were Marcos Rojo comes in. Used as a wing back under the Louis Van Gaal's regime, the Argentine combines pace and power. Likely back to full fitness this week, Mourinho should have zero hesitation in giving him an opportunity to shine.
MIDFIELD - ANTONIO VALENCIA, PAUL POGBA, NEMANJA MATIC, ASHLEY YOUNG
In midfield the call for a 3-4-3, attacking, wide formation rears its tactical head. The key for Manchester United to do well is Paul Pogba. With the French national team, he had Kylian Mbappe in front of him to open up space for the attack. Youthful Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are perfect foil, but more on them later.
A creator when at his best, Pogba's rangy style is best utilised when he's given freedom to carry the ball. Therefore, a defensive head in Nemanja Matic is a must. A Mourinho stalwart, he isn't the kind of guy to let his manager down easily.
Pogba is the youngest most talented inconsistent overrated player in the Premier League— Jeho (@JehoHans) August 27, 2018
Not exactly the paciest player, but luckily his three centre backs have got that on lock down. His role against Burnley will be to constantly track the movement of midfielders Jeff Hendrick and Ashley Westwood. With both having a big part to play in Europa League qualification, the fitness boost Matic has should be more than enough.
On the flanks are two natural defenders. Well, sort of. Ashley Young started his career as a winger, and his attacking instincts are vastly underrated. Experienced, he and Antonio Valencia can offer leadership to both Lingard and Rashford who sit in front. Monstrous under Alex Ferguson, Valencia may have lost yard of pace by now. However, his age is overstated when it comes to footballing ability.
The Ecuadorian has a great cross on him and his forays forward will acquiesce Lingard to drift more centrally, dragging markers. With both also able to sit back, Pogba can have reign over midfield if wanted.
FORWARDS - JESSE LINGARD, ALEXIS SANCHEZ, MARCUS RASHFORD
After the first leg in Greece, Burnley are 3-1 down to Olympiacos in their Europa League qualifier. Whatever the score, likelihood is that they'll have put a shift in. If Mourinho has the courage to opt for all out pace, this game can be won at a canter, and Alexis Sanchez will have his confidence back.
If Romelu Lukaku plays, his lack of movement will stifle attacks. Both Ben Mee and James Tarkowski would far rather be in a physical battle than a footrace. Fulham brutally exposed the weaknesses of Burnley in behind, with all four goals scored from continual shifts to wide areas.
Andre Schurrle and Luciano Vietto caused constant problems for Matt Lowton and Stephen Ward, and there's a strong argument to say these three are much better players. Lingard and Rashford are electric on their day, just what the Clarets don't need after a tough and draining game on Thursday night.
Why Alexis over Lukaku? Tireless work rate and intelligence of movement. Sanchez's ability to either dribble past a defender, create space for his attacking partners or fizz in a snapshot will create far more trouble than Lukaku's one dimensional game.
We're still not much into his United career and things could change soon, but it's a difficult-to-explain dip. I still think he's a great player though.— Ashwin Raman (@AshwinRaman_) August 26, 2018
In Rashford and Lingard, Manchester United have two local lads who supporters can really get behind. Both fighting for the badge, these two won't let the club down for fear of trying.
In these front three, havoc will be caused to a fatigued Burnley side. A club predicated on attacking dynamism and pace, Manchester United need to get back to their roots. Vicious when at their lethal best, this progressive formation change would open the gates for an exciting season.