|Man United players celebrate Zlatan's goal|
In the end, Jose Mouirnho ensured that there was no hanging about for the opening weekend of his managerial reign at Manchester United. For the Portuguese, leading from the front has always been the antecedent to a decent campaign. Jose doesn't do come-from behind title wins. If he is not leading the log, then it will quickly unravel for him. One stray comment here or there and one bad thing will quickly lead to another.
It's just as well then that Manchester United have come away from the opening weekend of the premier league in first place. United were the only side to win by more than one goal and as such, pending a bigger victory margin in the MNF game, the club will remain in situ for MatchDay 2.
Away on the South Coast at the Vitality stadium was destined to be an awkward fixture for United, not least because the last United manager to win there was Sir Matt Busby. For Jose therefore, it was no mean act to follow. A professional 3-1 victory was marked by some excellent defending to repel the home side and capped by a fruition of the attacking potency in United's ranks.
Even so, it could just as easily have gone all wrong for the visitors. Up until the half-hour mark, the home side were the better on the balance of performance but one unfortunate error, two actually, let in Juan Mata to stab home the opener and ease United's progress from thereon.
It will bode well for the manager's plans that Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic found the net on the opening day but it was the Swede who capped another brilliant 'Number 9' display with an equally brilliant ball. It's easy to see why Jose likes the 34 year old to stay on for the 90 minutes.Not since Didier Drogba has Jose had a striker to whom every pass, every long ball sticks. The sublime and the physical in equal measure. As such, United were able to quickly transition opposition to the final third quicker to catch Bournemouth out of position. It was a far cry from the recent past when United could recycle the ball so much that the opposition gets back into shape before the Red Devils muster any opportunity.
For the captain, the goal added a point or two to his ratings on the day but it could not hide what was another dour display. He remains not quite in sync with what the rest of the side are doing but his mobility from deep at least affords him the luxury of getting an opportunity to score like he got yesterday. He was involved in the start of the move that saw him get on the end of it with a well placed header. More importantly on a personal note, he is now within four goals of breaking the club's goal-scoring record for a player. It will be some feat.
The biggest cheer on the day was reserved for Eric Bailly who has scooped a second consecutive Man o the Match award following his performance in the Community Shield. The Ivorian has made quite the impressive start to life at the heart of the United defence. Indeed, there is the argument that Daley Blind's positional awareness and tidy touch are a perfect foil for the 23 year old. Even though the pair are yet to register a clean sheet, it is already apparent that United have, in two games, shown the mettle to cope with the physical demands of the league. It will hold the club in good stead if the same resilience can be kept up.
There is nothing much to read into the opening game of a campaign that will end well into the following year, but for side whose preparations threatened to leave the side under-cooked for the new campaign, they can look back on the opening weekend with satisfaction. The first job was done as required.