Manchester United have been backed to win the Premier League next season by former Porto player Dmitri Alenichev, potentially preventing Manchester City from winning back-to-back league titles.
City are currently 13 points clear of United at the top of the Premier League with 12 games left to play, and they are heavy favourites to win the title this season.
However, Jose Mourinho’s United have done well to stake their claim as the best of the rest and look instead to finish in the top four.
And Alenichev, who played under Mourinho at Porto, believes his former manager can lead United to the title in 2019, stopping City from consecutive league titles for the first time in their history.
“If I am honest, yes, I think [Mourinho] will stay at United for at least another three years,” he told RT Sport.
“He is the kind of manager that Manchester United need, he is indispensable to them.
“Currently Manchester City are outdoing every team in the Premier League.
“But I think if Mourinho stays – the club hierarchy can decide that – if he stays, then even as soon as next year Man United have a real chance of becoming Premier League champions.”
The Russian, however, who previously won the competition with Mourinho, argued United will find it a harder task winning the Champions League this season.
“Maybe the favorites will be more Real Madrid, or Manchester City, or Barcelona,” he added.
“I wouldn’t put United first in the list of favourites to win the Champions League, but in football all sorts of surprises get thrown up. Who knows, maybe even United can win it.”
Successful Premier League title defences
The competitive nature of the Premier League, this season aside, has seen the past seven title winners fail to retain their crown the following season – with Chelsea looking likely to become number eight.
Since United won three in a row between 2007 and 2009, no Premier League title winner has successfully continued their success the next season, with three sides finishing second the term after winning it.
2009/10: Chelsea – When Chelsea won the league under Carlo Ancelotti, scoring 103 goals, many had expected the Blues to march to the title the following season. But a strong Manchester United side held Chelsea off, as they finished second. Ancelotti was sacked.
2010/11: Manchester United – Winning the league by nine points, as well as reaching the Champions League final, United came very close to retaining their Premier League title the following season – only missing out on goal difference (second).
2011/12: Manchester City – A dramatic final day of the season saw City win their first league title in 44 years but Roberto Mancini’s men were unable to retain the trophy, finishing second a year later.
2012/13: Manchester United – Having won the league in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge, United struggled in the Scot’s absence with David Moyes leading the club to a seventh-placed finish the following season.
2013/14: Manchester City – Edging Liverpool in a dramatic end to the season, City were blown away the following campaign by a fast start from Chelsea, eventually finishing second.
2014/15: Chelsea – Having cruised to the Premier League title, Chelsea crumbled in the second-half of 2015, sacking Jose Mourinho and finishing 10th – the worst attempt by the defending champions at the time.
2015/16: Leicester City – A miracle Premier League title win celebrated around the world, the Foxes were unable to replicate their form the following season, finishing 12th.
2016/17: Chelsea – Antonio Conte reinvigorated the Chelsea side following a poor title defence, winning 13 games in a row, but look unlikely to retain their title currently fourth after 26 games.
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