By Stephen Asante/Richard Kankam-Boadu, GNA
Kumasi, Aug. 08, GNA - Twenty (20)-time English Premier League (EPL) Champions, Manchester United, are mindful of the huge expectations associated with their 2018/19 thrilling opener against 2016 winners, Leicester City.
As the two combatants battle for honours at the dreaded Old Trafford Stadium on Friday, August 10, the focus would, ostensibly be on how the Red Devils would work to restore their supremacy in one of the world’s most competitive leagues.
Already, the pressure is on Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho, to deliver and same could be said of the entire team, having finished behind their ‘noisy neighbours’ - the Citizens, who overcame all that they surveyed last season.
Manchester City was by far, the best team in the EPL last season – being credited with the most goals scored, most wins and the most points amassed by a particular club in a single season.
More importantly, connoisseurs of the game are also looking at how the Portuguese Manager defies the odds in his third year stints with the clubs he had managed over the years - at least mention could be made of Real Madrid and Chelsea.
The enigmatic coach had his own issues to deal with on and off the pitch in the aforementioned two clubs – player management, fracas with club owners and his seemingly outspoken character trait, which brought him on collision course with the critical European media.
The criticisms had started ahead of this year’s season, touted as one of the most difficult in the EPL history - judging from the stiff opposition from Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs.
According to the ‘Eurosport’, Mourinho has sounded a note of caution to all enthusiastic followers of the Red Devils as to what was in stock for England’s most decorated club.
In an interview after Man U had been pipped by Bayern Munich, in a pre-season friendly, the controversial Manager called for additions to his team in order to overcome all that they survey this season.
Whether or not the Red Devils are able to make things differently remain to be seen. Leicester suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Red Devils last season.
Man U go into the game with determination on their minds, and the return of World Cup winner, Paul Pogba, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and agile goalie, David De Gea, who were absent in the majority of the pre-season friendlies, seem to have added more bite to the team.
French midfield dynamo, Pogba, would have to justify the huge investment made in him, and his experience and inspirational role would count a lot on the field of play.
For Leicester, there would be no room for complacency, and on the basis of their dismal performance in the previous two seasons, the Foxes have to leave no stone unturned as they seek to make amends.