José’s Early-Season Progress Report

Mourinho looking for positive result at the Bridge to consolidate encouraging start

José Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday and Oulala have compared his first 8 Premier League matches at Manchester United, with how he fared when he returned to Chelsea, for his second spell at the club.

There isn’t too much to choose between the two sets of figures, with Chelsea shading it in a few key areas but from the fantasy football managers’ perspective, it’s worth pointing out that both sides recorded 3 clean sheets in their opening 8 fixtures.

tJosé Mourinho Start

However, there is one fundamental difference between the two sides – the age of the squad. Mourinho inherited a very mature side when he took charge at the Bridge for the second time, with Oscar, Eden Hazard and André Schürrle (all 22 years old at the time) the only notable exceptions in an ageing squad.

So far, at United, he has been prepared to give youth a chance. He was quite adamant, when he was unveiled as United’s new manager, that he had a good track record of bringing young players through and, if anything, it is veterans like Michael Carrick who are struggling for game-time.

He signed 22 year old Eric Bailly and 23 year old Paul Pogba, to complement more experienced new arrivals and has been happy to play Marcus Rashford (18), Anthony Martial (20), Luke Shaw (21) and Jesse Lingard (23) in a number of Premier League games already, while Memphis Depay (22) and Timoth Fosu-Mensah (18) have also seen action in the Europa League.

This youthful approach sits well with Manchester United traditions but which player should fantasy football managers be focusing on?

Eden Hazard was the stand-out performer for Chelsea in that 2013/14 season, scoring 14 times and registering 7 assists. Mourinho has signed two players with the right type of credentials – Pogba scored 8 times in Serie A last season, while chipping in with 10 assists and Henrikh Mikhtaryan lit up the Bundesliga, adding 11 goals to his 15 assists.

The Armenian international has been struggling with injuries and has a track record that suggests it may take some time for him to adapt to his new life in Manchester, so Pogba looks like the player to focus on, especially if he is deployed in an advanced midfield role like he was at Anfield.

Is Mourinho making good progress at Old Trafford ? Let us know what you think.