Jose Mourinho hails Manchester United’s ‘solid’ start to the season

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has heaped praise on the “solid” way in which Manchester United have begun their Premier League campaign.

Man United enjoyed what the 54-year-old labelled as a “perfect” pre-season tour before suffering a sobering 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

But they have emerged as the early pacesetters in the Premier League, claiming 4-0 wins over West Ham United and Swansea City before dismantling Leicester City to become the only side to enter the international break with a 100% record.

And Mourinho, whilst calling for caution, has noted that his side have developed a crucial air of solidity and confidence this season.

“There is a difference in the quality of our football,” he said.

“The team is playing very well – they are very confident and are playing great football. I like my team very much. Three matches and nine points is nothing new for us, because last season it was three matches and nine points.”

“We played very well. The result was open at 0-0 and it was obviously very difficult. The blue wall was very well organised and I always give credit to that, but we kept calm and kept control.

“After missing the penalty the team remained confident and we deserved it. If I had to choose a word to describe my team, it would be ‘solid’.”

The most encouraging thing about this current United side, at least to me, cannot be found on the pitch, but rather in the dugout.

Mourinho clearly didn’t enjoy last season, perhaps only in an obscure masochistic way. The number of obstacles he had to confront cannot be underestimated: his captain being way below par, how to get the best out of Paul Pogba, constant injuries and, above all, the deep set dogma of the Louis van Gaal regime – these were all things that had to be dealt with. And when he said following that victory in Stockholm that he was taking a break from football, you could hardly blame him.

This time around, however, there is an air of grandiloquence about the Portuguese. Not many managers know better than Mourinho what a title-winning side looks like and you can tell, one year on, that he is finally satisfied with the options at his disposal. He has, after all, been here so many times before.

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