Manchester United win showed that it didn't matter who they signed
Manchester United began their Premier League season with a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Friday evening
After a strained pre-season, which saw Jose Mourinho vent his frustrations at every available opportunity, and an underwhelming transfer window, which saw the club make only three new signings, Manchester United got off to a bright start against the Foxes.
Just 75 seconds had passed when Alexis Sanchez's shot was blocked by Daniel Amartey's arm in the Leicester penalty area.
Paul Pogba, made captain for the night in Antonio Valencia's absence, stepped up and dispatched the penalty into the top corner past Kasper Schmeichel. And, that was pretty much it from United, other than a late goal by Luke Shaw.
They had the lead after three-minutes at home to Leicester, in front of 75,000 fans on the opening night of the Premier League, but they didn't really strive to build on their advantage. They surrendered possession and gave Leicester the initiative, retreated and waited for the chance to catch their opponents on the break. There was little of note from the home side after they took the lead, and it was sloppy at times. Not that Mourinho will care.
This was vintage Jose and similar to several displays from United last season. They took the lead and sat back. Surrendered possession and the iniative to the opposition, and then waited on David de Gea to bail them out with brilliant saves, relying on individual moments of quality to see them through. This is United's default setting under Mourinho.
There was little evidence of a pattern of play, the ball rarely went through the middle, and the team just did enough to get the win. It was stodgy and a tedious watch at times.
However, Mourinho and many United fans won't care, and that's fair enough. As Gary Neville told reporters on Thursday in Dublin, Mourinho's sole objective is to win.
"You have to win. The Man United players only need to think about winning tomorrow night," the former United defender said.
"They shouldn't be thinking of anything else other than winning and that will result in less pressure and it'll move towards football stuff again."
This will be Mourinho's message after the game and for the rest of the season. He is there to win, regardless of how he achieves it.
Yet, the victory over Leicester also proved that, despite the United manager's reported frustrations at the club's lack of transfer activity, it didn't really matter who he signed this summer.
United will always only play this way under Mourinho, regardless of who is in the team. They will always play conservative, reactionary football. They will be difficult to beat and disciplined, but don't expect anything more than this. No new signing, whether it's Diego Godin or Ivan Perisic, will change that.
And that's ultimately why questions will always hang over Mourinho and United unless they can bridge the gap to Manchester City. If winning is all that matters, then only winning the Premier League and/or the Champions League will constitute success for Mourinho's United this season.
Because there is absolutely nothing else Mourinho's football can offer.