Jose Mourinho definitely didn’t get what he wanted in the transfer market this summer.
That there is no doubt. But behind the scenes, too, the Manchester United boss also had a setback which didn’t help.
In an ideal world, Mourinho didn’t want to appoint three new coaches following the surprise departure of longtime assistant Rui Faria.
Overseeing such a drastic overhaul of his back room team is something Mourinho has never had to do – let alone two years into a job – but it could yet work in the 55-year-old’s favour.
Remarkably, United have got as many new staff members as they have new players and we may well see a greater impact behind the scenes, given how Lee Grant and Diogo Dalot will not necessarily be regular starters report the MEN .
It is Stefano Rapetti, Kieran McKenna and Michael Carrick who are having daily contact with the squad at Carrington and, two months since the the players returned for pre-season training, we are beginning to see glimpses of their influence.
Romelu Lukaku has already hinted as much.
“We are Manchester United, this is how we have to play in every game and against Tottenham we did the same,” he said after the 2-0 win against Burnley. “The people will now see a different side of us.
“Everything that we worked on in the last couple of weeks is coming out now – lots of quick passing, runs in behind, a lot of action and a lot of chances.
“As long as we create chances, we know we will score. We defended well, we tried to press the ball, the fans want to see that and we tried to deliver.”
Pressing, quick passing, runs in behind, a lot of action and a lot of chances – what kind of sorcery is this?
Of course, United will no longer have the luxury of just having a game a week to prepare for but that is the way the players like it. Three days after a bad performance, they have an immediate chance to get it out of their system.
That was not the case after Brighton, for example, when United had to wait eight long days to bounce back against Spurs.
That encouraging first-half performance under the lights at Old Trafford was perhaps a little overplayed but it stood out simply because it has been a long time since fans have seen their team hunt and harry like that.
United built on that against Burnley; in the two games, combined, they had 43 shots. In contrast, against Leicester and Brighton, they managed just 17.
It would be wrong to put this down to just Carrick and McKenna – Mourinho is ultimately the manager leading training sessions – but the longer the season goes on, the more we will see their influence.
It is early days but the signs are promising.