According to United former defender Gary Pallister, Manchester United can be steered to UEFA Champions League glory by the club's manager Jose Mourinho.
The last time United won the elite European competition was back in 2008 with Sir Alex Ferguson managing the club. Ferguson did guide his team to two more finals, both against Barcelona in both Rome (2009) and London (2011) losing both matches with United just not getting themselves into the game.
The next European final came under Jose Mourinho last season with his team lifting the UEFA Europa League trophy, the first time the club has done so, by beating Dutch side Ajax 2-0 at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Mourinho has experience in the Champions League and on accepting the vacant manager’s position last summer, he would have been gutted to not lead his side into the elite European competition. Pallister, speaking exclusively to 888sport about Mourinho steering the club to glory in the competition, said:
“Manchester United have a seasoned UEFA Champions League veteran in Jose Mourinho. He’s won it and been in finals and semi-finals so he knows what it’s all about. We’re also coming off winning a European final last year and we’ve got quality players to have an impact. It’s of course always difficult to win but I expect the English clubs to perform a lot better now in the Champions League after a quiet period.”
Many will suggest United are not near good enough to win the Champions League again, which I get, but luck in involved too. Many supporters wrote United off in their quest to lift the Europa League last season because the Ajax side they were player had been very good throughout the tournament, but that seems to have been an underestimate on that night in May as the side did not score a single goal with United dominating the match from the kick off. If United did the same in the Champions League, which will be another tough ask as the club will be taking on the best teams in Europe again, they could go a long way in the competition. Of course, Pallister does not say this could happen next season, that would be a big ask, but you cannot rule it out, not yet anyway.
The last time Mourinho lifted the Europa League trophy as a manager was with FC Porto and the next season he won the UEFA Champions League with the club, history could repeat itself. The UEFA Champions League final will be played at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev in the Ukraine, not a stadium where United has much history, but it is the date of the final which will mean more to every Manchester United supporter, especially the ones who were around the last time the final was played on that date – the 26th May – Sir Matt Busby’s birthday – it would have been his 109th. This could be written in the stars for Manchester United just like the Europa League final was last season with it being played in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s homeland, a game he was not able to play in.