"Fans are sceptical of world-class signings" - Andy Mitten on Manchester United's summer
Manchester United journalist Andy Mitten believes that United need a break from football and that the overall churn of the squad this summer may be minimal. Andy spoke to Ger and Eoin on OTB AM, and gave an insight into the feeling within the squad about Mourinho and the likely profile of this summer's signings.
Andy also reflected the misgivings among United's fanbase about the prospect of several 'world-class' signings arriving this summer. Currently, United are looking to recruit a left-back, a right-back and a central midfielder, as well as potentially a striker.
"The club don't want another close season of huge turnover of players. They feel that they have invested heavily in the last few years. Ideally, they want two or three new players and to retain all but two or three of the current players.
"There are a couple of factors that you could add into that - it's not just down to who the club want to sell or to bring in - if there are players that want to leave then there are a couple of players that actively want to leave then that throws a spanner in the works."
Andy believes that Anthony Martial is one of the players that may be tempted to angle for a move as his relationship with Mourinho remains relatively poor. As for Mourinho, the highest points tally since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson may not be quite enough to guarantee his future in the medium to long-term.
"While this is the best team since Ferguson, and those 81 points are to Mourinho's credit and he's finished second - this is Manchester United. There are players there that have come in and are not improving as players. Paul Pogba, who is a hugely talented player, has had another pretty mediocre season. There are others - Alexis Sanchez earns an absolute fortune [...] he gets a bit of a free pass because he needs time to settle in, but much more is expected of both of them next season."
Manchester United fans may have been spoiled by attacking riches in years gone by, but it appears that any recent frustrations have come from this side showing their prowess only after trailing in games. The question is whether the initial frustration comes from Mourinho's tactics or turgidity within the squad.
"I think it is the way Mourinho sets up the team. At West Ham a couple of weeks ago the team were unsure of what was being asked of them, and that can cause dissent within the ranks. Mourinho could push back on that by saying 'All of you surround yourselves with yes men, you all earn so much money that someone has to give you bad news in life - and I'm the one that has to do it,'
"It frustrates fans immensely when they go a goal behind, or two goals behind - against Crystal Palace, against Manchester City away, against Tottenham in the semi-final at Wembley - only then do they seem to play. I don't know if that's Mourinho on the touchline giving an instruction to play ten yards further forward, or a desperation, but it's certainly very frustrating for the fans to watch.
"Converse to that, when United take the lead they usually win. There was only two games last season where United took the lead and didn't win the match. Fans would just like a little bit more entertainment.
"It's not quite as bad as it was under Louis van Gaal, and it's nowhere near as bad as it was under David Moyes, there definitely has been a progression - but the last six weeks have been very flat for United."