New Man Utd boss will be rewarded if he shows Blind faith

New Man Utd boss will be rewarded if he shows Blind faith

The image rights have been resolved, the photo opportunity with Sir Bobby Charlton has been milked and there are still over two months until the first competitive game, so naturally the current obsession regarding Jose Mourinho at Manchester United is who he is going to buy and sell.

The latest whisper is that, even before adding to the group that finished fifth in the Premier League in 2015/16, he has identified two players that he absolutely does not want to be part of his squad: Juan Mata and Daley Blind.

It is highly possible that Mata is a lost cause, given both how quickly Mourinho discarded of him at Chelsea and the fact that bwin go 3/1 that the Spaniard starts against Leicester in the Community Shield, but it would be misguided to not afford Blind a chance to prove his worth.

Few tacticians are as appreciative of outstanding defensive work as the former Blues boss and there is no denying that, however much the Red Devils struggled to sparkle in the campaign just concluded, their rearguard record was excellent.

Jose Mourinho and John Terry press conference
Jose Mourinho paid for disrupting a proven defensive unit at Chelsea

They conceded only 35 Premier League goals all season – the joint-lowest number in the division – and centre backs Chris Smalling and Blind, who was previously recognised as a full back or holding midfielder, were integral to that, which is why Louis van Gaal persevered with what initially seemed an unlikely partnership.

The pair started 35 top-flight fixtures apiece, more than anybody else at the club, and their crowning achievement was the lack of leakage at Old Trafford, with nine breaches in 19 home matches the joint-best total seen in the Premier League in the past eight years.

The sole backline to equal that feat were Chelsea’s title-winning stoppers of 2014/15 and that should resonate with Mourinho for two reasons, firstly in feeding his ego: they must be a pretty good double act if they can perform at a similar standard to something that he constructed.

Reason two is the lesson that he learnt this term: the old “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage. The John Terry and Gary Cahill combination led him to the top, and his insistence on tampering with it – first by trying to throw huge sums at Everton for John Stones and then taking turns to bench both – was one of several factors in his Stamford Bridge demise.

If he hounds Blind out of Man Utd, he risks committing the same grave error in successive years, and surely he is too smart for that.