Phil Babb: Jose Mourinho doesn’t know his strongest XI at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Liverpool defender Phil Babb has claimed Jose Mourinho doesn’t know his strongest XI at Manchester United.

Man United slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Watford on Sunday, leaving Mourinho’s side in 7th spot after five games.

The 53-year-old fielded another different starting XI against Walter Mazzarri’s side, leading to overwhelming dysfunction and stagnation going forward.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Babb declared Mourinho is still in the process of figuring out his strongest starting XI.

“I don’t think Mourinho knows his starting XI – his best preferred starting 11 at the moment. He keeps chopping and changing,” Babb said.

“Mourinho keeps talking about the youngsters coming under fire but sometimes you’ve got to have chat with your senior players – certainly someone who has been at the club so long.

“You’ve got to say ‘Come on Wayne, I need your help from a skipper’s role to lift everyone else at the club and have more of an impact on the pitch’.”

Mourinho has used six different starting lineups in his opening eight games as United manager. And that, above anything, is the underlying reason behind the side’s recent slump in form.

A key feature of any triumphant Mourinho side – or any successful side, for that matter – is a fixed starting XI, an immovable core that acts as a platform for momentum to grow.

Continuous chopping and changing leads to what United fans saw yesterday – an anxious, immobile and most of all uncertain outfit, struggling to understand its exact purpose. A far cry from Mourinho’s archetypal model – a balanced, unbreakable side that teems with assurance and conviction, driven by a hardwired idea of what needs to be done on both an individual and team level.

The 53-year-old is yet to find this at United. Once he does, supporters will see what this group is really capable of doing.

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