Before the season began, most people felt that the Premier League trophy would be leaving London and heading for Manchester, they just couldn’t decide whether it would claimed by Manchester City or Manchester United.
While United did start off the campaign in great form, they have stuttered at times and this opened the door for neighbours Manchester City to take a commanding lead in the title race. It’s highly likely Pep’s men will go on to secure the Premier League crown now so could United save their season by winning the Champions League?
First of all, you’d have to say that it hasn’t been a bad season in reality for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They’re on course as things stand to finish in the top 4 which would mean another season of Champions League football is secure. They’re also through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup too, so there is still a chance of silverware to be won domestically.
With City likely to be declared Premier League champions, it still could see a bit of disappointment on the red half of Manchester but if United were to lift the Champions League trophy, you could say that Jose Mourinho’s men have gone one better than City. Both United and City have performed well in Europe’s elite competition so far this campaign, with both sides only having one loss on their records as things stand.
United could use the fact that they’re competing on less fronts than City to their advantage, especially when it comes to the Champions League. While City already have one foot in the next round of the competition they are still having to keep their foot on the gas in the league and they also have the EFL Cup final just around the corner too. United though could switch their attention to European success, starting with their last 16 first leg game away at Seville this week.
Lifting the Champions League trophy in Kiev in May would certainly be one way of declaring the season a success for United, even if City have been crowned Premier League champions. They have won the trophy three times up to now, with City never lifting club football’s top prize, even though they have thrown plenty of money at trying to do so already. Many people may feel City will have the edge in the tournament but the Mourinho factor could help to swing things in United’s favour.
Mourinho is more of a pragmatic manager than Pep Guardiola and has shown that he will do whatever is necessary to win games of football or to secure results. If this means abandoning expansive play in return for parking the bus and grinding out a 1-0 win, he will do that. You can certainly see this approach working in Europe this season, especially with a lot of the teams very good in an attacking sense. It could be this pragmatism that sees United go all the way in the Champions League, effectively saving their season and outdoing their noisy neighbours in the process.