Why Manchester United fans should be optimistic
When the clock struck five on Thursday, the meltdown began. If Old Trafford had church bells, they would have rung. Supporters would come running to watch it burn.
The summer transfer window ended with Manchester United having signed Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant. All three are excellent signings, each with a role to play in the coming season. Fred will slot straight into the starting XI alongside Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. Dalot will try to break into the starting XI when he recovers from his preseason injury. Lee Grant will provide cover for David de Gea while Sergio Romero is injured.
Was that a productive window for United? Absolutely not. Manchester United need a right winger desperately, have for seasons. Another left back, centre back and right back would have helped, too, but no signings were made after Grant. Gareth Bale, Willian, Ivan Perisic, Harry Maguire and Toby Alderweireld were all linked to Old Trafford. The club allegedly failed to pay an extra £10 million for Perisic last summer. It's reported they did the same with Alderweireld this year. If that is true, Ed Woodward and the board have let down Jose Mourinho, the squad and supporters. Massively.
Fans have every right to be angry, complain and criticise. But is it all doom and gloom?
The answer is no. A squad that finished second with 81 points last season has improved. Mourinho hasn't lost any key players to other clubs and filled three needs. Manchester United fans must not lose faith. There is reason for optimism.
Pressure on City to retain the title.
Pressure on both new managers at Arsenal and Chelsea.
United are, for once, the underdogs going into a title race with no expectancy.
The season is never over before the first ball is kicked. United did lacklustre business but the roster was already stacked. Even with Liverpool and Arsenal shooting from the hip all summer, United can compete with any Premier League side. Without a full squad, they picked up three points against an aggressive Leicester side on Friday evening.
Tottenham Hotspur signed no one, Arsenal still lack a centre-back and winger, Chelsea doesn't have an intimidating striker. Liverpool need at least one more centre-back. City may be a Fernandinho injury away from struggling. Every team has issues. Like all the rest, United must cope with theirs.
David De Gea is back and raring to go. After a poor World Cup, he had a point to prove. A pair of saves against Leicester reassured doubters. Victor Lindelof is rejuvenated after putting in solid performances in Russia. He and Eric Bailly have chemistry at the back. When James Maddison tried to put Kelechi Iheanacho through in the first half, Bailly was there to support the Swede. Dalot's entrance into Mourinho's XI isn't guaranteed the way Luke Shaw is playing.
In midfield, Andreas Pereira feels like a new signing who might play a major role this term, especially while Nemanja Matic recovers from surgery. Paul Pogba was confident and involved even though he is not yet fully match fit. Fred showed a flash or two of his talent but needs time to settle. Alexis Sanchez made an error late that helped Leicester get on the board, but he was imperious in preseason.
Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku are working their way back into shape after post-World Cup holidays. The squad is filled with world-class talent and match winners. Half of them have not even peaked yet.
Club football is finally back. It is the start of a new season. Fans should be positive and back their team. The media wants to surround everything with negativity, Don't let them. This is the time for hope.