By Mark Weasley
Manchester United lost 2-1 on Tuesday night in the European Super Cup against Real Madrid, in a result that was flattering to the Old Trafford outfit. Goals from Isco and Casemiro ensured that United went 2-0 down, but a Lukaku consolation was not enough to prevent Jose Mourinho from losing his third Super Cup match after defeats with Porto in 2003 and Chelsea back in 2013.
United looked shambolic from the very first whistle, and left it a little too late to come back into the game. Despite spending more than £140m this summer, United looked every inch nowhere the European champions, but there are signs of improvement that point to the fact that United could have a say going into next season.
The second half in Skopje proved that fact as United stood toe-to-toe with the European champions, and if not for some profligate finishing from Lukaku and Pogba, the match could have ended 2-2 and gone on to extra time.
United have signed the likes of Lukaku, Matic and Lindelof this summer and look like title challengers, however, that loss could prove that more work is needed to put the team into shape and compete for the major trophies. It is a known fact that Jose wins the league in his second season, and plans point towards that fact. He has won countless trophies and knows better than most coaches the art of winning titles, but in Skopje, Macedonia on Tuesday, he surely must have known what is needed.
The loss is good for the morale of the team, as it would spur them on to achieve even greater success. The squad depth is good but a marquee signing is needed to catapult the team into a team capable of winning the major trophies.
The interest in Bale remains and his signing will galvanize the team, and ensure that perhaps a new era of dominance, not seen since the era of Sir Alex Ferguson is finally seen. Jose is keen to make a statement and remind everyone of his quality, after two difficult league seasons.
Just like the 5-0 loss in his first El Clasico at Madrid back in 2010, that prepped him up for his success in winning the La Liga ahead of a more fancied Barcelona, this loss might be that catalyst to thirst for success. A loss might not be so bad.