Jose Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford will be deemed by many as a failure unless they victory Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final against Peter Bosz side Ajax Amsterdam to secure UEFA Champions League qualification.
The former Chelsea coach arrived at Manchester United at the start of this campaign charged with the task of restoring United to, if not their old dominance, at least a place at the top table in the English Premier League elite.
But a sixth-place finish is lower than Mourinho’s ancestor Louis van Gaal managed in his two seasons at Old Trafford, which concluded with fourth and fifth places.
It is not the prestige of the Europa League trophy that would change the perspective on the Portugese coach first year at United but the place that celebration would secure in the continent’s top club competition.
For the Red Devil, a second straight season outside the European elite would not only be a flurry for the fans and the club’s status but could also affect their ability to newcomer the very best talent from across the globe.
For the former Real Madrid manager, there is also his own ‘brand’ to consider.
The former Inter Milan boss left Chelsea last season after a shocking campaign of under-achievement, only for largely the same group of players to march to the Premier League trophy this term under his replacement Italian Antonio Conte.