The Pressure Gauge: Can Mourinho mastermind a Man Utd victory over his old pupil?

Eric Bailly Jose Mourinho Manchester United 2018-19
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With three consecutive wins in all competitions, the Red Devils appeared to have turned a corner - but old friend Nuno will be out halt their progress

There’s a rare sense of optimism around Old Trafford this week.

Jose Mourinho’s side were plunged into a relative crisis in the early stages of the season as they suffered back-to-back defeats to Tottenham and Brighton.

The loss to Spurs meant his side had lost two of their last five Premier League home games, as many as they had in their previous 43 at Old Trafford combined.

The Portuguese manager, so used to finding himself leading league tables, instead found himself as one of the frontrunners in the Premier League sack race.

Third-season syndrome, it appeared, was kicking in again.

But his side have responded brilliantly with three consecutive wins and this week, in the Champions League, with a 3-0 at Young Boys, it felt like a corner had been turned.

The much-criticised Paul Pogba was superb. And Man Utd fans were buoyed by the rare sight of seeing him joined in a starting line-up by both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Sure Pressure 21092018

Joined by two natural full-backs in Luke Shaw and new-boy Diogo Dalot, United cruised to victory in Switzerland in what could yet prove a turning point in their season.

But only if Mourinho can get one over on an old friend.

They host a newly-promoted Wolves team on Saturday led by Nuno Espirito Santo, who was a goalkeeper in Mourinho’s Porto side more than 15 years ago.

If Mourinho can mastermind a win over his old pupil, then Man Utd may well re-join the title race. Defeat at the hands of young, modern manager, however, would pose more questions over whether his time has passed.

The formbook is on his side: Man Utd have won their last six league games against Wolves at Old Trafford.

And Wolves have scored just two goals on their previous seven visits to Old Trafford in the top-flight.

Mourinho has never suffered back-to-back home league defeats in his managerial career and Man Utd have lost just one of their last 49 Premier League home games against promoted sides.

Wolves, however, have won their last two Premier League games and are out to make it three in a row in the top-flight for the first time since March 1980.

The stakes are high. The pressure is on.

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