BENGALURU (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United have shown improvement in the past two seasons but will need further strengthening in the transfer window to challenge for the Premier League title, former defender Wes Brown said on Friday.
Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford in 2016 and won the League Cup to become the first manager in United’s history to claim major silverware in his debut season at the club.
A Europa League title followed in Stockholm last May but the team have failed to deliver the attacking football that fans have craved since Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013.
“Since Mourinho has been here, we’ve won some trophies,” Brown told reporters at a promotional event for United fans co-hosted by ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc in Bengaluru.
“Obviously he’s a different manager and all the managers have different ways of playing.”
United were criticised by fans and the media for their defensive style after their exit from the last-16 of the Champions League this season. However, Brown said Mourinho’s side have delivered results in the domestic league and FA Cup.
“Again (this season) we’re second in the league and in the final of the FA Cup... so Mourinho’s doing a good job,” the 38-year-old added.
“Every season we’re improving and hopefully he can get us even closer to Manchester City if not win the league next season.”
United sit second in the standings, 16 points behind champions City, and are guaranteed a better finish than last season’s sixth place.
However, with City breaking new ground en route to their first league title under manager Pep Guardiola, Brown believes United will have to bridge the gap with smart purchases in the next transfer window.
“I’m sure he (Mourinho) would want to improve on this season so he’s going to get some people in... even if that means some people go out as well,” Brown, who won five league titles with United, said.
“This year you put your hand up and say they (City) were brilliant.
“I’m guessing it will be a lot harder for them next season. Not just us (United) but other top teams will have to step up their game.”
Brown, who made 23 appearances for England, believes that Gareth Southgate’s World Cup-bound squad could benefit from low expectations from supporters ahead of the June-July tournament in Russia.
England crashed out of the last World Cup in Brazil at the group stage and suffered a humiliating defeat by lower-ranked Iceland in the last-16 at Euro 2016.
“I don’t think everyone is saying ‘we’re going to win it’ which is probably a good thing,” said Brown.
“Whether we can win... I’m not sure. We qualified pretty easily again. I’m guessing a lot of it is mentality. I think they will need a little bit of luck and togetherness too.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge