UEFA Super Cup Will Provide Test of Manchester United’s Credentials
Manchester United will return to the Champions League after a one-year exile and Jose Mourinho will be hopeful that his additions over the summer will be enough to close the gap at the top.
Real Madrid are searching for their third European title on the bounce and will face competition from the usual suspects of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, although United and the rest of the English will be determined to force their way back into relevance.
The Red Devils have their first opportunity to signal that they can provide fierce resistance to Real’s attempt to make history in the Super Cup Final on Tuesday, August 8th. The Spaniards enter at solid 5/6 favourites with the bookmakers, including William Hill.
Mourinho made steady progress in his first term at Old Trafford, but his side could not compete for the Premier League title, suffering a number of draws on home soil to halt a potential challenge.
The signing of Romelu Lukaku could provide the cure, with the Belgian notching 25 goals in the Premier League last term. However, there may be questions whether he will be able to raise the level of his game against high-quality opponents, having scored only four goals against the top six last season.
Mourinho will get an early opportunity to see whether the £75m man can be the man to fire his side to success in the Premier League, and on the continent for the second campaign on the bounce.
The same can be said at the back, where United made another significant signing in the form of Victor Lindelof. The Swede will be aiming to forge a successful partnership with Eric Bailly at the back and their first test facing Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale could forecast whether the Red Devils’ backline is stoic enough to contend with potent attacks.
Should United aim to win their fourth major European crown then they will have to pass the test and the Super Cup contest provides a fine trial of their credentials for the coming campaign.