May 27, 2016. The day José Mourinho was announced as the new manager of Manchester United. This was the day he was entrusted with the responsibility to breathe air, into a distraught bunch of players and fans alike.
For the life of me I could not get my head around this! We were signing, Jose; a Manager who had effectively been booted out by Chelsea, our rivals, after publicly falling out with the team with whom, the “Special One” had won the Premiership just a year previous.
To me, the world was not making sense anymore and so it took me a while to swallow this pill. After all, I was suddenly at the receiving end, and all my previous critiques about this manager were being smashed right back at me.
The thing that further annoyed me was at that point we were an open wound, the stab left by SAF’s departure was still deep & the disaster called Moyes, along with the preposterous reign of LVG had just rubbed salt on it and now we were again placing our faith in another boisterous personality. I did not have much hope and such was the beginning of a tempestuous journey.
Not that his previous laurels were insufficient, but to be fair our manager started out with a bang, winning over most of the naysayers with the conquests in his first transfer window with the club. He couldn’t have made a better statement, bagging the likes of Mkhitaryan, Pogba & Zlatan, that too without a berth in Champions League.
A force had arrived at Old Trafford, something that definitely had not been felt in a long time and I would have been a fool to not sit up and take notice, but I still had my reservations.
The first few games were exciting & we were actually playing well, something that was a sight for sore eyes. But then came the inevitable hiccups, the Schweinsteiger episode left a bad taste in the mouth of many and I for one was certainly not happy to see a player, whom I had loved growing up, being treated the way he was.
These setbacks were perhaps inevitable, not so because of the Manager himself, but probably more because of the arsenal at his disposal. The lack of depth and quality of our squad was something that was clearly being exposed, and this reality was slowly dawning upon me.
As the season progressed, it was a sine-wave of a journey, with many a high’s and equally woeful lows. The second half of the premiership season was probably as bad as it could get, with the Chelsea Master class perhaps the only thing I would want to look back at.
The rumblings had begun, but it was impossible to dismiss the fact, that our Manager was trying his best, with a limited set of resources to salvage whatever was left of our season and more importantly end it on a high.
Meanwhile, though still not extremely happy to place all our eggs in the UEFA Cup basket, I was slowly coming around to #InJoseWeTrust. The trust did pay off and we went on to lift the UEFA Europa Cup! However this season was not yet over and a final chapter was being simultaneously written. A Chapter called Farewell Wayne Rooney.
Perhaps a chapter for which Jose would always be fondly remembered for. One of the icons of a generation that was perhaps a final reminder of Sir Alex Fergusson’s era was finally leaving. We all knew it was inevitable, we had all seen it coming, but we never knew it would be so classy!!! Those last minutes given to Wayne Rooney in the finals of UEFA Europa League was a send-off befitting the player he had been for us!
Jose had managed to pull off something incredible. He had silently over a season, transitioned a player of Rooney’s stature out of the playing XI, making it one of the smoothest exits we as a club had ever witnessed.
With that our Manager left no doubt in my mind that he had indeed been the best man for the job, all along. He had proved that he was ready to take tough decisions, he was more than prepared to fight, and more than anything else that he had a voracious appetite to win!!
For me our new season begins now with us turning over a new leaf. We still have a long way to go, and these are uncharted waters, but the addition of players like Lindelof, Lukaku, Matic, the exuberance of young players like J & A Pereira, Tunazebe, Fosu-Mensah & the return of players like Luke Shaw and Rojo to our squad will only make it stronger.
As far as I am concerned, I may not still always agree with all the decisions our manager takes but now In Jose I truly Trust!!! Now more than ever am packed with optimism and am eagerly looking forward to our next season as we set forth again to make history!! Glory Glory Man United!!
By Aishwarya Kala
Twitter Handle: @aishwaryakala13