Why Mourinho’s unique brand of second season syndrome bodes well for Man Utd

Jose Mourinho Manchester United
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While the label is unwanted by many, the Portuguese coach has a habit of delivering title success once his feet are firmly under a particular table

Jose Mourinho is not your usual, run-of-the-mill manager.

He is, as he will happily tell you himself, a one-off – some may even go as far as to call him special.

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That reputation has been cemented during a productive opening 12 months in charge of Manchester United, and the challenge now is to enhance it.

There is every reason to believe that will happen, with the omens looking good for a club enduring an uncharacteristic drought on the league title front.

As the most successful club in the history of English football, success is demanded at Old Trafford.

Mourinho knew that when inheriting the reins and duly delivered three shiny pieces of silverware in his debut campaign .

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He was also fully aware of the situation he was inheriting and that time would be afforded to him should he provide glimmers of hope.

Having been frustrated by David Moyes and bored by Louis van Gaal, the United fan base were, for the most part, happy to embrace the arrival of a proven winner into their dugout last summer.

Jose Mourinho titles second season

Mourinho may not be to everyone’s taste, with his footballing philosophies facing criticism at times, but his detractors have tended to be silenced in the best possible way and in the best possible place – with trophies secured out on the field.

The likes of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola may have become more in vogue since Mourinho first burst onto the scene, but both ended 2016-17 empty-handed while a wily old foe proved once again that he is to be written off at a critic's own peril.

And for United fans, there is the promise of even more to come.

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The record of their manager is much discussed and well known to those throughout the world, with multiple Champions League crowns complemented by an enviable haul of domestic honours.

It is, however, when his CV is broken down into smaller, bite-sized chunks that the most intriguing record for United supporters emerges.

Since taking the reins at Porto in 2002, Mourinho has won eight league titles.

He has risen to the top of the pile wherever he has been, from Portugal to England via Italy and Spain.

Jose Mourinho Manchester United second season

That record in itself should have United daring to dream, but it is the fact that Mourinho has never failed to capture a top-flight crown in his second full season with any particular club which should have them really excited.

Porto 2003-04, Chelsea 2005-06, Inter 2009-10, Real Madrid 2011-12 and Chelsea 2014-15. The Portuguese tactician really does know how to get the job done once he has his feet firmly wedged under the proverbial table.

It is not just league crowns that he likes to collect after 12 months of getting his eye in either.

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At Porto, he also claimed the Champions League, while further European glory and a Coppa Italia win completed a historic treble at Inter.

During his two spells at Chelsea, he also won the Community Shield and League Cup in the years which delivered Premier League honours.

Having already managed a treble of sorts during his debut season with United, the Red Devils will be hoping that a managerial quirk continues and that enough progress has been made, with a few more additions brought in, for a title trend to be stretched into a sixth installment.

The general consensus is that Mourinho will have his side there or thereabouts , with greater emphasis set to be placed on top-flight tussles after a year spent favouring knockout competition.

Jose Mourinho trophies second season

The aforementioned Klopp and Guardiola will want to have something to say about that, along with defending champion Antonio Conte and north London rivals Mauricio Pochettino and Arsene Wenger, but United appear to have the perfect figure at their helm.

The man himself has said of the challenge which lies ahead: "Can we win it? We can, but maybe we won't.

“Everything is good and strong, but some of them (other clubs) are really strong in the market, so it is going to be difficult.

“Normally the second season should be better than the first because you know the club, you know the players.

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"The players, they know you, the club know you can affect in a positive way the structure. You can affect in a positive way the people that work around you.

"So normally the second season should be better than the first, but again, this is modern football.”

Mourinho, it would appear, is just being modest and ensuring that he does not set himself up for a fall.

In reality, while second season syndrome may be considered to be a problem for many, the Portuguese has, in his own unique way, made it something to be embraced at Old Trafford as the Red Devils seek to move themselves off unlucky 13 and towards a 14th Premier League title triumph.