May 26, 2016

    Which Red Devils will be told by Jose to get the hell out?


    JUAN Mata has as much to fear as any Manchester United player after, according to Sky TV reports, Jose Mourinho agreed personal terms to succeed Louis van Gaal in the Old Trafford hot seat on Tuesday.

    The Spain midfielder was jettisoned by Mourinho at Chelsea in January 2014 despite being a darling of the crowd, having won the Player of the Year award in his two previous seasons at Stamford Bridge.

    Mata is an astute attacking player who is always liable to chip in with an important goal, as he showed when scoring United's equaliser in their 2-1 FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

    He does not fit the bill, however, for a prototype Mourinho midfielder. He lacks defensive attributes because he has no pace, is weak in the air, cannot tackle and is heavily reliant on his left foot.

    No matter how skilful they might be, Mourinho demands all his midfield players track back when the team lose possession to form a solid defensive shield.

    Daley Blind is another United player whose role will come under scrutiny.

    It seems inconceivable Mourinho would entertain the thought of deploying Blind in the same central defensive role he occupied under van Gaal.

    Mourinho prefers tough centre-halves like John Terry of Chelsea, Real Madrid's Pepe and former Stamford Bridge stalwart Ricardo Carvalho, players who rely on their defensive attributes rather than eye-catching skill at the back.

    Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay, Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj are other United players who may be understandably apprehensive about Mourinho's impending arrival.

    The fans have never really taken Marouane Fellaini to their hearts but the Belgium international is powerful in the air and combative on the ground and may be someone the Portuguese can work with.

    As for another possible marquee signing, media reports have persistently linked Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a move to United from Paris St Germain. He teamed up with Mourinho at Inter Milan and has always spoken highly of the Portuguese.