Jose Mourinho ended last season trophy-less and the Portuguese-boss will be desperate to secure some silverware during his third campaign in charge. A second-place finish was solid enough, but it was the dominance of noisy neighbours Manchester City which exposed United’s shortcomings and they must try and bridge that gap during the 2018-19 campaign. Old Trafford was a happy hunting ground for the Red Devils but despite having the third best away record in the division, it’s an area which needs improvement if they are to stand any chance of overthrowing Pep’s men.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 23, 2018
Mourinho has not been universally popular since arriving in the North West but he has created a side which is incredibly tough to break down and he guided them to Europa League success during his first campaign. Despite public dressing downs of a number of players including left-back Luke Shaw, the majority of the players do appear to buy into his philosophy with winning football matches at the top of his agenda. He was victorious in 25 of his 38 games in charge last season in the Premier League, although only ten of those arrived away from Old Trafford.
Whilst 34 points from 19 away matches can be considered a decent return, they did fall to a number of disappointing results on their travels and scored just 30 times away from Old Trafford, eight of which came against the three relegated sides. In contrast, Manchester City collected sixteen more points on the road and netted an additional 15 times away from the Etihad. Liverpool were the only side to pick up a home win against Manchester City last season with the Citizens also leaving Old Trafford with all three points on December 10th.
United struggled to break down two of the three promoted sides, slipping to away defeats at the AMEX and the John Smith’s Stadium last season whilst Newcastle, Chelsea and Spurs also collected three points whilst hosting Jose Mourinho’s side. They need to find a way to break down teams such as Brighton and Huddersfield who thrive at home and rely upon a buoyant crowd to create an unnerving atmosphere for the away side. The latter will once again be hoping to pick up the majority of their points in West Yorkshire, although David Wagner’s side have been priced up as second favourites for the drop in William Hill’s football betting markets for the forthcoming campaign and the Terriers can be backed at 5/4 to return to the Championship.
— Sortiwa (@Sortiwa) July 24, 2018
One of the many challenges facing Mourinho is finding a way of getting the best out of World Cup winner Paul Pogba, who endured a disappointing second season in a Manchester United shirt. The French midfielder was extremely effective in Russia but he netted just six times during the 2017-18 campaign and many United fans were left disappointed by a series of languid displays from the former Juventus-man. His manager has called upon him to solely focus on football and has hinted that off-the-field distractions may be hindering his progress. Manchester United won just three of their last seven away matches in the Premier League and they can’t afford any more complacency on the road. City were the runaway winners of the 2017-18 Premier League but Mourinho will be determined to significantly eat into the yawning 19-point gap which sat between the two rivals. They need to be more decisive on the road and starting picking up points away from Old Trafford if they are to dethrone Manchester City this forthcoming season.