Manchester United

Are Manchester United potential 2017/18 Champions League winners?

It is almost a decade since Manchester United last won the Champions League and the club is still struggling to reinvent itself following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, Jose Mourinho demonstrated his managerial prowess last season by winning the League Cup and Europa League in his first season at Old Trafford and supporters will be hoping that he can bring more success during the current campaign.

Here, The Boot Room examine whether Manchester United can win the Champions League this season.

Performance so far

Manchester United were handed a relatively straight-forward group in the Champions League, having been drawn against Basel, CSKA Moscow and Benfica, and it was no real surprise to see them to culminate as group winners.

The Reds were never required to get out of second gear for the vast majority of their fixtures, scoring twelve goals and keeping three clean sheets in the process, and the only blot on their record came in a surprise defeat against Basel when qualification had already been all but confirmed.

Jose Mourinho and his side will face much tougher opponents in the knock out stages of the competition but they deserve credit for making easy work of qualification.

Squad strength

Manchester United have made significant investments in the transfer market since Jose Mourinho’s arrival eighteen months ago but there is still a feeling around Old Trafford that the club are attempting to rebuild after the stagnation that followed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Portuguese maestro has built a strong starting eleven, with the likes of David de Gea, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku among the leading players in Europe in their respective positions, yet the Red Devils undoubtedly lack genuine strength in depth.

Whilst there are plenty of offensive options, an injury or suspension to key personnel in defence or central midfield would leave United short of real quality.

Mourinho will be hoping that he can keep the likes of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic fit and healthy so that he will not have to call upon inferior replacements such as Marouane Fellaini.

 

Manager

Jose Mourinho is widely perceived as being one of the leading managers in modern football having won 25 major trophies in four different countries over a career that has spanned almost two decades.

He has already won the Champions League twice, with FC Porto in 2004 and Internazionale in 2010, and has consistently led clubs to the latter stages of European competitions, including a Europa League triumph in his debut season at Old Trafford.

Quite simply, Mourinho knows how to secure silverware and he has developed a knack of grinding out results, especially away from home in the Champions League, where his pragmatism is often just as effective as any expansive brand of football.

The Portuguese maestro will be expected to guide United into the final stages of the tournament this year.

Chances of winning

In Jose Mourinho Manchester United certainly possess a manager that has a history of achieving success in European competitions having already won the Champions League twice, whilst at FC Porto and Internazionale.

He knows how to grind out results on the road, even if that means parking the metaphorical bus in order to keep a tie alive, but has also built a squad that has an abundance of attacking quality in forward areas.

However, have United got the strength and depth to go all the way to the final? Much will rely on whether Mourinho can keep key personnel fit and available for selection, yet the Champions League could now become the main focus of the season with Manchester City running away with the Premier League title.

With things not exactly going to plan on the domestic front, expect United to make a significant impact in the latter stages of the Champions League.

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