West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis believes that Jose Mourinho will win the title with Manchester United next year.
Pulis saw his side come away from Old Trafford with a 0-0 draw on Saturday, stifling the home side with his infamous defensive approach once again.
The result leaves Man United four points adrift of fourth spot with ten games to go; they will slide back into sixth spot – their natural resting place this season – if Arsenal beat Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
But Pulis, speaking after the game, was quick to insist that United, under Mourinho’s tutelage, will challenge for the title next season.
“Jose is a top manager and it is a transition year for him,” he said.
“I would not bet against him winning the title next year. He will go out and get the players he wants.”
If you take the draws at home against Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham United, Hull City, AFC Bournemouth and now West Brom – seven games that United dominated from start to finish – and turn them into wins, United would be just two points behind Chelsea.
This is strictly hypothetical, of course, and indeed pretty meaningless in the context of this season, but it serves as a potent indicator of where United would be next year if they do indeed manage to rectify their malaise in front of goal at home ahead of the 2017/18 campaign. Make no mistake: Mourinho’s ability to address this problem will largely define how his time in charge at the Theatre of Dreams is viewed in the future.