By Mark Weasley
It has become something of certainty that Jose Mourinho always wins the league in his second season at every club he has managed permanently in his career.
The Portuguese tactician has won countless trophies since breaking through at União de Leiria back in 2000, and success has only continued to follow him ever since. He won three trophies at United last season, and finished a disappointing 6th in the league and will he looking to win what will be perhaps his toughest league title so far.
He has a host of top managers to beat to the title and the likes of Conte, Guardiola, Klopp, Pochettino and Wenger to contend with, but history has proved that the Portuguese most usually comes out top.
At Porto, he made the bold statement after being appointed mid season in 2002 that the team would win the Portuguese league the following season, and true to his word, they utterly destroyed their opponents and won the league, breaking numerous records along the way.
His team were simply fantastic and their opponents had no answers for their power, pace and winning mentality. His records were superb at Inter at Inter; and won perhaps his greatest league triumph so far in the 2011/2012 season with 100 points at Real Madrid against a more fancied Barcelona team managed by Pep Guardiola and boasting perhaps the best club side in history.
United have strengthened so far and in Mourinho, they have a manager capable of upsetting all the balances. Against Chelsea last season at Old Trafford, Mourinho outwitted Conte making the Italian look clueless despite his supposed tactical superiority.
At Chelsea in his second spell, he called his team the little horse and vowed that the next season would be better, and true to his word, he won the league losing just three times and guiding Chelsea to the top of the table from week three to the end, a new league record.
United will be better and the mind games will begin. He will unsettle his opponents, and ensure an ‘us against the world mentality’ that will only spur his team on. He will become more ruthless and garner points consistently that may prove too hard to decipher.
His team is taking shape and his record speaks for itself. All the signs point to him, and it would be pure folly to write him off, even despite finishing 6th last season.
The horse is no longer little. It is now a thoroughbred ready to win the race.