Manchester United's 2016-17: Player ratings from Red Devils' first season under José Mourinho

Manchester United's 2016-17: Player ratings from Red Devils' first season under José Mourinho

With Manchester United having won two trophies in José Mourinho's first season at the club, how did the Portuguese's players fare?

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Manchester United enjoyed a turbulent debut season under superstar manager José Mourinho, but they achieved their main objectives.

Victories in the Community Shield and the EFL Cup meant that the Red Devils earned silverware despite their league struggles.

A record low number of wins in the league left United finishing in sixth, with a series of home draws the root cause of their plight.

However, a successful Europa League campaign, culminating in a 2-0 win over AFC Ajax in the final, meant United qualified for the Champions League.

The defence

David de Gea - 8: The Spaniard finally surrendered the Player of the Year crown at Old Trafford, but that bares no reflection on his performance throughout the season. Always consistent and reliable, De Gea was the foundations of a usually solid defence that was very rarely breached with great regularity.

Sergio Romero - 8: The Red Devil's' stand-in keeper performed exceedingly well whenever he was called upon. A star player in United's Europa League run, the Argentinian made a strong case to be Mourinho's first choice keeper should De Gea leave Old Trafford in the summer.

Antonio Valencia - 9: The Ecuadorian was voted as the Players' Player of the Year for 2016-17 and deservedly so, the United veteran was the most consistent performer throughout the entire squad all year long. Excelling at full-back, Valencia was able to offer defensive solidity as well as surging attacking runs, boosting the Red Devils' performances at both ends of the pitch.

Ashley Young - 5: The former England international was very much a bit-part player for Mourinho throughout the season, usually filling in when the squad is plagued with injuries or fatigue. It wouldn't be too much of a surprise to see the veteran utility player leave Manchester in the summer.

Phil Jones - 5: Jones' United career has not been a success up to now, and his problems continued last term. Two long injury lay-offs were atypical of a player who has desperately struggled to maintain his long-term fitness at Old Trafford. His run in the side was mixed, with some very good performances plagued by error-prone displays that will make it difficult to forsee Jones being a crucial member of Mourinho's squad.

Chris Smalling - 5: Compared to his rock solid season under Louis van Gaal, Smalling had a disappointing campaign this time. The injury issues returned, and the arrival of Eric Bailly found Smalling struggling to retain his place in the first team.

Marcos Rojo - 7: The Argentinian was a calamity when he started at left-back throughout the season, putting in shaky defensive performances with limited attacking output. However, when he was moved into the centre of defence, Rojo excelled and proved to be a hugely important member of the squad.

Eric Bailly - 7: Costing United in excess of £30 million, the young Ivorian proved to be an inspired acquisition from Mourinho and his team. Raw physicality and solid defence made Bailly the perfect centre back for the Red Devils. His season was blemished by a long term knee injury and two red cards in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Luke Shaw - 4: Once the most promising English talent in the country, Shaw was a forgotten man throughout Mourinho's debut season, The Portuguese often singled out Shaw for criticism over his attitude, and his performances also flattered to deceive. Having started the season in the team, a series of poor showings left Shaw out in the cold, and fighting for his United future.

Matteo Darmian - 5: The Italian is said to be unhappy at Old Trafford, but he was used frequently at left-back throughout the season. His performances were inconsistent, with his lack of attacking flair letting his game down. 

Daley Blind - 5: The Dutchman was not a consistent member of the first team, in comparison to last term where he was instrumental to the squad. Blind wasn't able to deliver the consistent solid performances of last season, often being exploited for a lack of physicality.

The midfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ander Herrera - 9: Scooping a player of the year award, Herrera showed he is one of the key cogs to the United machine. Tremendous break-up play complimented by a creative influence meant the Spaniard became one of the first names on the team sheet, and earned him his first Spain call-up. The man marking job he did on Eden Hazard in the impressive win over Chelsea was a particular highlight.

Michael Carrick - 7: The veteran midfielder recently extended his contract at the Theatre of Dreams, which displays his tremendous importance to the squad on and off the field. Unrivalled experience and know-how help guide Carrick throughout games, in which he seems in cruise control for the majority of his time on the hallowed turf.

Marouane Fellaini - 6: United's midfield destroyer turned his season around after a troubled beginning. Poor showings early on culminated in conceding a last minute penalty at Everton, and the United fans booing him at Old Trafford. However, a string of destructive performances in the midfield saw him become an important member of the United side, contributing vital goals in big games. 

Paul Pogba - 7: A world-record transfer fee weighed heavily on Pogba early on in the season. The Frenchman came into his own as the season went on, becoming the most important player in the team. His unbelievable passing range was key when linking defence and attack. His presence was heavily missed when he sat out games late in the season dude to the death of his father.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 6: A slow start for the Armenian saw him not feature consistently in the first team until November, but he made quite an impact when he did. He was United's top scorer in the Europa League, but lacked consistency as the season progressed.

Jesse Lingard - 5: United's Wembley specialist delivered again at the home of football, scoring in the League Cup final. Other than that, there wasn't too much to write home about for Lingard. Good work rate but poor final third quality made Lingard an important squad player, but not a guaranteed starter. 

Juan Mata - 7: The little Spaniard was a key member of the squad throughout the season, despite the expectations of the media that Mourinho would sell Mata. His creativity and finishing made him an important squad member, and the Red Devils' missed his intricacy when he was sidelined late on in the season.

Wayne Rooney - 4: United's legendary skipper may have played out his final season at Old Trafford. Despite becoming the all time leading goalscorer at the club, Rooney fell out of first team contention. A series of poor performances meant Mourinho relied on his captain less and less as the season progressed.

Forwards

Zlatan Ibrahimović - 8: The Swede arrived in Manchester with a cloud of hype, and he stepped up to the mantle of being United's talisman. Despite a fairly poor conversion rate, Ibrahimović ended the season as the Red Devils' top scorer and by a distance. He single-handedly carried United through the EFL Cup final, scoring a magnificent brace. His season was cut short by a devastating knee injury against Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final, meaning his time at United may be over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus Rashford - 8: United's wonder boy proved he was no flash in the pan, as he featured in the most games of anyone in the Red Devils' squad. Despite a long goal drought, Rashford remained an integral member of the squad, performing well off the wings. The way he stepped up after Ibrahimovic's injury displayed why Mourinho trusts his character so much.

Anthony Martial - 5: The Frenchman suffered from a dose of second season syndrome at Old Trafford. Martial put in some great performances atypical of his debut season, but couldn't deliver them on a consistent basis. Mourinho's lack of trust in Martial meant he didn't start enough to kick on into a run of form.

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