With England having been dumped embarrassingly out of the European Championships and the post-mortem well underway, attention is quickly turning to the new Premier League season which gets underway on 13 August. Among the key themes of the new campaign will be the raft of new managers across the top flight – not least at Manchester United where Jose Mourinho replaces Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and is charged with turning around the fortunes of a club without a much-cherished league title for three seasons nor Champions League berth.
Mourinho has wasted little time getting his feet under the table at the Theatre of Dreams, a position he had long coveted. Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have bolstered the squad, while Ryan Giggs has been forced out to pursue a managerial career away from a club where he has spent the last 29 years as a player and coach. Yet, the 53-year-old faces the media for the first time since assuming the hot seat at the 20-time league champions on Tuesday (5 July), with a mountain of issues still to address. IBTimes UK looks at the key questions which will most likely be put to the double Champions League winners.
Chelsea exit and Eva Carneiro fall-out
Though Mourinho arrives at United as a multiple European champion and as a league winner in four different countries, the elephant in the room surrounds his exit from Chelsea – where he was sacked after the Blues lost nine of their first 16 league games having strolled to the title the previous season. The media was awash with reports the squad staged a revolt against Mourinho, leading to his exit as manager in December.
The disastrous spell is a rare blotch on Mourinho's otherwise excellent copybook, yet the reasons for the episode remain largely unexplained. Furthermore, United fans will surely want reassuring that a repeat scenario does not reoccur this term, and that a squad already treading water are not plunged deeper into uncertainty. Mourinho has conducted a series of in-house interviews, but on such a grand stage as his unveiling it would perhaps be an appropriate time to issue a public apology to Eva Carneiro. Such an expression of regret was missing from the joint statement issued last month when an out-of-court settlement was reached during their employment tribunal, but do not hold your breath.
Will Paul Pogba follow Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
Mourinho's reputation in the transfer market precedes him, so it is only natural that his plans to overhaul the United squad will be among the main points on the agenda. The Mirror understand he has been handed a £200m war chest, but having only signed Bailly and Ibrahimovic on a free transfer, plenty of additional activity is expected. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is expected to become the third addition after Borussia Dortmund confirmed his departure, but there remains one name on everyone's lips.
The Daily Mail understand that United are confident of clinching an £80m deal to re-sign France midfielder Paul Pogba, in a deal which would represent a significant statement of intent. Mourinho has never commented openly about the Juventus star but will be conscious of United's threadbare midfield which does not compare to any of their rivals. The 23-year-old's future is likely to be among the sagas of the summer.
Commitment to United's youth policy
News of Mourinho's arrival at United was seen by many as the death knell for a throng of the club's young players. Van Gaal brought through 14 during his two years in charge, including starlet Marcus Rashford, but Mourinho's history of building his squad using the transfer window rather than the academy is often perceived as his achilles heel. Indeed, the strength of the current crop means it would be unthinkable should Mourinho elect to ignore the undoubted resources at his disposal.
His first media appearance as United boss is likely to be accompanied by wild claims he can satisfy and respect the club's tradition of bringing through young players, but the conviction in his answers will provide an insight into his real intentions. Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have already had new deals sanctioned by Mourinho, but will we see an about-turn from the former FC Porto and Inter Milan boss?