In Depth

Jose Mourinho to Man United: What challenges does he face?

With the former Chelsea manager set to take over at Old Trafford, it could be time for the fans to hold onto their hats

Jose Mourinho is expected to be installed as Manchester United boss this week after Louis van Gaal was relieved of his duties two days after winning the FA Cup.

The cup triumph was some consolation for United after a trying season in which they failed to qualify for the Champions League and played some insipid football.

United fans demand more and Mourinho must provide it. But what challenges does he face?

The rivalry with Guardiola:

"Above all, [United] want a winning manager and one who will compete in terms of confidence and charisma with his fellow new arrival, Pep Guardiola, across the way at Manchester City," says Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph.

In that respect he is the perfect choice, as there is no one else in the game who can get under Guardiola's skin like Mourinho.

Keeping his nose clean:

But Mourinho will be on a political tightrope at Old Trafford, where senior figures already view him with suspicion.

"In appointing Mourinho, the board have taken a vast gamble," says Matthew Syed of The Times. "They are confident that the Portuguese will improve short-term results, but what then? I sense no appetite from fans to have a manager, even a moderately successful one, who brings the club into disrepute, as he surely will."

Maintaining harmony:

Mourinho has left a "trail of destruction" behind him at his other clubs, claims Syed.

The Portuguese promised to be the "happy one" when he returned to Chelsea promising to stick around and build a dynasty, but he lasted only two-and-a-half years and his exit was acrimonious.

"So, if Mourinho finds it difficult to change persona and be a calmer, less divisive figure, it could be hang-on-to-hats time for everyone involved at Manchester United. All (or most) will be forgiven if he is successful: which means a 21st title and taking United back into the Champions League semi-finals at least," says Jamie Jackson in The Guardian.

Dealing with the players:

As with any new managerial appointment some players will be happy, others less so.

"Mourinho has always been a keen admirer of Wayne Rooney, whose role is set to change for good at United, with the captain seeing his future in midfield," says the Daily Mail. "David de Gea is likely to stay at Old Trafford under the new manager. It will be interesting to see where it leaves Juan Mata."

However, the squad was frustrated by Van Gaal's style, and the paper says they "should be like caged animals come August, ready to show this wretched year was not purely down to them".

Mourinho is also likely to be handed a substantial budget to bring in some big names, including superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic as his first major signing.

Putting trust in youth:

Replacing 18-year-old Marcus Rashford with 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic could set off alarm bells.

Mourinho's track record is at odds with United's approach adds Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.

"Is he the perfect fit in terms of what United would want going back through the years? Probably not in terms of blooding young players and the type of football," he says.

But he tips Mourinho to bring success to Old Trafford. And that, says Jason Burt of the Telegraph, is the main reason for hiring him.

"It will be hoped that Mourinho will have faith in some of United's younger players, such as Marcus Rashford... and also encourage an aggressive, attacking style of play. That remains to be seen. But the biggest reason for hiring Mourinho, as it was for [Chelsea owner Roman] Abramovich, is because United want to win again. And not just claim an FA Cup."

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