Man Utd Focus - Moyes and Mourinho square up with future clashes to come
David Moyes and José Mourinho square up on Monday evening in what may be the inception of a long and intriguing battle between two managers at the forefront of the English game. Moyes could find himself at the helm of Manchester United for many years to come, while Mourinho feels like he has returned home to Chelsea and the Premier League.
Moyes takes charge of United at Old Trafford for the first time in a competitive fixture, as the Reds seek to capitalise on an excellent start to the season. The Scot sets out on his six year contract hoping that his performance leads to a long stint in the hot seat that was formerly occupied by Sir Alex Ferguson for almost 27 years. More than a decade in charge of Everton, during which he won three manager of the year awards, exemplifies his potential for longevity.
At 50 years of age, Moyes has the time on his side for a similar term as his predecessor. He possesses the necessary skills in respect of building a team to succeed with this, having gelled the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Mikel Arteta, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and former captain Phil Neville on Merseyside. The current United squad does not require wholesale changes, just the right players to plug the gaps now and in the future, for which Moyes could prove the ideal man.
Mourinho meanwhile is the antithesis of longevity, with the three years he spent at Real Madrid his longest spell in a managerial post. Now, also aged 50, could be the time that the Portuguese looks to build a dynasty at a club that would cement his place among the greats of the game. He may be seeking to replicate the success Ferguson enjoyed at Old Trafford in West London, aiming to settle at a club where he can really imprint his name in their history.
The difficulty Mourinho has at the moment is that the current Chelsea squad is not of the quality that it was back in 2004, although the signing of Willian and potential arrival of Samuel Eto'o should address this somewhat. A goal threat of the magnitude Didier Drogba brought to the Blues in Mourinho's first transfer window is necessary to compliment the abundance of creativity they have in advanced positions.
It is for this reason that Wayne Rooney has been pursued so vigorously, which adds further intrigue to Monday's clash. Mourinho's famed mind games have begun in earnest, targeting Moyes for the first time after claiming it is down to the new United boss that the England forward is unsettled in Manchester. The way in which Moyes reacts will be interesting, whether he fights fire with fire or chooses to diffuse the situation. The result of the game, and the involvement and contribution of Rooney will likely be pivotal in this.
With all the talk about Rooney in the build-up to Monday's game, the difference could turn out to be Robin van Persie, who gives United the quality up front that Mourinho currently lacks, and was at the centre of the storm that left his teammate 'angry and confused'. In the Dutchman Moyes is perhaps holding the trump card as he faces off with Mourinho for the first time as equals, in an encounter that could be the first of many between the two managers.
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