Jules Maiorana was a United player between 1988 and 1994, during which time he made eight appearances in the club’s first team. A regular contributor to United in Focus, here Jules discusses United’s recent fortunes under Jose Mourinho and looks ahead to Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane.
United are going for Champions League football and I find it strange that they’re not that far behind third place in the league, despite recent results. A club that big should have the squad depth to compete in both the Premier League and Europa League but to be fair they haven’t had much luck with injuries, something Mourinho has complained about in recent weeks.
Qualifying for the Champions League through either route would mean that this has been a successful first season for Mourinho as that’s where all the money is. It’ll give United the pulling power to attract the top players, something they’ve still managed to an extent but that’s down to the manager.
The football has been Mourinho’s style, they are playing better than under Van Gaal but at times have struggled to create and convert chances. There’s still something missing without a doubt, I think they need a playmaker and we’ll have to wait and see if Paul Pogba can step up but I think his first season has been a bit of a let-down.
If Pogba was the player he was at Juventus he could be winning games on his own, I know Serie A is a different league and the games over there are a bit slower but when I watched him he looked a different class. He hasn’t really shown it yet and players like him should be doing it week in week out.
I’ve never had Wayne Rooney down as being world-class, don’t get me wrong, he was a good player who did a good job but I think he started to decline about three years ago. If he was a top player he wouldn’t be forced to play out wide or in midfield because if he was that good nobody should play in front of him. I think he’ll probably go in the summer.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game with Spurs, my last first team appearance for United was against Spurs in a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, that team had Gary Lineker up front and both Paul Gascoigne and Chris Waddle playing for them at a similar time. I think this is definitely their best side since then and a lot of credit needs to go to Pochettino because he’s a hell of a manager.
Unfortunately for Tottenham sooner or later I can see Real Madrid or Barcelona coming in for him and I think last season was their best chance to win the title. They’ve been pretty close for two seasons though so they’re definitely doing something right.
Over 90 minutes anything can happen, it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended a draw but United could win. I thought it would be good for Rashford with Ibrahimovic being injured but it does seem like they’re missing that presence up front. It could go either way and United’s season could still depend on the Europa League final.