Manchester United have been struggling to get going in the Premier League, having made a great start to the season. Mourinho’s men currently lie 6th in the Premier League table and face an uphill battle to make it to the Champions League spots.
Injuries to key men, misfiring forwards and a series of late goals conceded have meant the Red Devils have had to endure the worst start to a league campaign since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. While there is a stark improvement in their style of play compared to the much-maligned Louis Van Gaal era, the team has struggled to put a string of results together.
With the crucial Christmas period coming up, Mourinho and United should look to get the most out of the gruelling schedule if they are to get their season up and running. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the best starting XI that Mourinho should send out regularly if he is to spark a revival of fortunes at Old Trafford:
David De Gea (GK)
No-brainer. He has been one of the best goalkeepers in Europe over the past few years and despite making a few errors this season, he should continue to be United’s No.1 without a doubt.
Antonio Valencia (RB)
The Ecuadorian has made the right-back spot his own this season. He has been one of the few consistent performers for United. Has looked solid defensively and has been very good going forward. Some improvements in his final ball and he will be one of the best right-backs in the League.
Eric Bailly (CB)
The Ivorian had been one of the best things about this United side in the early parts of the season before he got injured. His head-on, no-nonsense approach to defending has been a treat to watch. No wonder he is being likened to United legend Nemanja Vidic.
Chris Smalling (CB)
He is the leader of this defence. Having established himself as one of the key players for United over the past season, Smalling formed a good partnership with Bailly. One bad game against Chelsea should not stop Mourinho from relying on the Englishman.
Luke Shaw (LB)
Has had a stop-start season, due to niggles and injuries. But when given a chance, he has shown his immense potential at left-back. Once back to 100%, Shaw will be a force to be reckoned with on the left flank.
Michael Carrick (CM)
With him in the team, United end up on the winning side more often than not. The control that he offers from the deep areas is absolutely crucial for Mourinho’s side. Despite age catching up with him, he has looked the part so far this season, and should regularly feature in the playing XI.
Paul Pogba (CM)
The world-record signing is finally looking like he is getting into his groove. He is looking more menacing going forward and has created the most number of chances for United this season. Always helps out his side defensively. Looks a different player altogether when playing alongside Carrick.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (RW)
Mourinho has finally brought the Armenian back from the cold and in his few appearances after his return, Mkhitaryan has made a huge statement. He has been a big threat to opponents going forward, is always involved in everything positive for United. Stick with him and soon he will be the lynchpin of this United attack.
Juan Mata (CAM/No. 10)
United’s best player of the season without an iota of doubt. Has looked the player from his Chelsea days, constantly troubling the opponent defences with his smart movement and excellent passing. Has contributed with crucial goals as well. Play him in his favoured No. 10, and United will unlock defences with much ease.
Anthony Martial (LW)
United’s top scorer last season hasn’t had the best of the starts this time. But he seems to be growing in confidence judging by his performances in the last two games against Feyenoord and West Ham United. He is clearly working hard and should be persisted with on the left-hand side, as he can provide that X-factor for the Red Devils going forward.
Zlatan Ibrahimović (ST)
Many would not agree with this choice given the impact Marcus Rashford has had in his short career at Old Trafford. But the Swede needs to be leading the line, at least for this season. Despite his recent run, Zlatan has shown that he has still got it and bounced back with 3 goals in United’s last two games.
He is their leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 8 strikes and has created most number of chances for the Red Devils after Pogba. Jose needs to utilise the talismanic striker as much as possible this season and ease Rashford in slowly from the next term.