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03 Jan 2018 14:40:25
Well the crazy winter schedule is nearly over and it hasn't been a great one for us. Too many draws against teams we should be beating. To be honest when I look at our squad I expect us to be comfortable top four, possibly even challenge in most seasons. This year however City look like they might be doing something a little bit special. With that in mind though we shouldn't be as far off the pace as we are.

The loss away to Huddersfield was silly, however every year one or two of the promoted teams get a shock scalp against one of the top teams. So it happens.

The loss to Bristol City in the cup hurt, not so much because we got knocked out. It's hardly the first time we've been beaten by lower league opposition in the cups, but being comprehensively out fought and more worryingly out played was the hard thing to take.

The losses away at Stamford bridge to Chelsea and at home to City have dented our chances, although hardly surprising. In the last decade I think we have only one once at Stamford bridge. And has anyone seen this City side play this season, hardly shocking stuff that we came up short against them.

We have to accept at this moment in time they are the better team, they have a better more balanced side, they have more confidence, and they are playing the better football. Unless you accept that fact you will never be able to start what is needed to overcome them. Mourinho and our players need to look at what City are doing and rise to the challenge.

The losses haven't been that disruptive to our season to be honest, it is the draws that have killed us. Liverpool away is just about an acceptable result, however I was not happy with the way we went about getting that result. The draws away to Leicester and the home draws against Burnley and Southampton can be considered 6 points dropped. With the 3 dropped away to Huddersfield that is 9 points I think we can consider dropped this season. Which is too many at the halfway point for a team with title aspirations. I don't know is the defeat to City and has demoralised the players as it did really indicate the end of our title challenge this season as you can't see City dropping enough points for us to overtake them now. I appreciate we might need to spend more money to elevate the side to City's level but we have more than enough talent in the side to dispatch sides such as Huddersfield, Leicester, Burnley and Southampton.

It is the managers job to motivate those players after such a loss.
I was never in support of giving the managers job to Jose Mourinho, I have always respected what Mourinho has achieved but didn't feel he was the right fit for our club.
I will though always support the manager of our club until such a point that it becomes clear he will not succeed. I did it with Moyes and LvG and I have got behind Mourinho too. He proved his ability as a manager winning two trophies with us in his first season, even with a squad that looked far from a quality side.

I continue to back the manager as I still feel he can get this side playing better and performing better. However, I think we might be seeing the beginning of the end with Mourinho. It must be very hard for the players to lift themselves if our manager comes across in a constant state of misery. Mourinho looks pissed off when we don't get the result and angry or even worst nonplussed when we do get a result. Yet never happy. At the final whistle in the Europa league final he seemed more interested in holding three fingers up than actually being happy with the players and celebrating with them on a fantastic achievement.
When he first moved to England he was happy, cheeky and playful with the press, now he just scowls and is awkward for no real reason. He has openly flirted with PSG and is now picking fights with the board which he must know he won't win. Picking fights with club legends. Complaining he hasn't been given enough money seems churlish considering how much he has spent. Agreed City have spent more in the same period, but he has still outspent every team below us in the league.

To me he just seems like someone who is really unhappy with everything at the moment, maybe as some have suggested being away from his family for so long is affecting him, maybe the fact the Pep seems to have stolen his spotlight first in Spain now in England has rubbed him up the wrong way.

I think Mourinho needs a sabbatical, I thought 6 months off before taking our managers job would be enough. Now however, I'm starting to think he might need a year or two off then maybe try something different. Club football has moved on and winning isn't enough anymore, now you need to entertain as well. Can Mourinho change? I don't think so. With that in mind maybe international management is the best place for Jose now. The intensity he manages at wouldn't be so damaging when players spend less time with him. He has proven he is excellent at doing what is needed to win in knockout competitions.

However, he is our manager and I will continue to back him. I am becoming less confident he will be our manager at the start of next season though. I hope that this time Ed Woodward has learnt and he has a back up plan incase it all goes south between now and the end of the season. We can't afford to be left with no plan, no manager, no idea who to hire or which players to target.

We should be succession planning almost continually. That's why I think we need a director of football, someone who can take pressure off our managers and provide a continuity in style and transfer targets, someone who can monitor young up and coming managers and profile which ones could be a good fit for the ideas of Manchester United. Managers who play progressive offensive football, who trust in youth and who progress their players.

Until then we need to get behind our manager, our players and our club.

Agree12 Disagree7

03 Jan 2018 15:46:32
Great Post Shappy. I posted about Jose on Christmas Day but it didn’t get a lot of comment, probably because it was Christmas Day.

He is no longer the same person and his constant spikiness and negativity must permeate through to the players. It’s a real shame as he was charming, witty, intelligent, and engaging years ago; nowadays he is just a constant grump.

I’m not convinced he wants to be here, it’s just a job for Jose and I think he already has an eye towards his next one.

03 Jan 2018 16:13:37
The thing is Tony is that there is likely to be several top jobs available this summer. On the club front you will have Bayern looking for a manager. Now I don't think they would consider Jose but they might take a manager from another top side that might consider Jose if he was available. Emery isn't in a strong position at PSG and could be out of the job come the summer unless he does exceptionally well. Zidane could also find his position less secure than he thought unless Real Madrid do something about this slump they find themselves in. Inter Milan could also make a move for Mourinho as he is still well liked by their top brass. AC Milan have owners who want to make an impression and could decide to move for a manager of Mourinho's experience.

Then there is every chance that a top international side could be in need of a new manager if things don't go well at the World cup for their country.

I feel that for whatever reason Mourinho isn't totally happy at our club, he seems to be trying to push the board into a back me or sack me situation. Considering the backing he has already received he might find himself on the wrong end of that battle.

03 Jan 2018 17:06:52
I think you are leaving this too much to chance or the whim of Mourinho. I think the club should take control of the situation by starting to look for a replacement and then ask Jose to leave at the end of the season.

He obviously doesn't want to be at Utd and like you say he's not a good fit, so why prolong the pain for him and us?

A DoF should have been appointed years ago.

03 Jan 2018 17:31:10
Woodward and the Glazers run the club, Mourinho wants more power to do the stuff for the team. I feel our owners are more concerned about the commercial cash, rather than the prestige of winning the league.

03 Jan 2018 18:20:18
JOse already has the top job in Europe. Manager of Man Utd!

03 Jan 2018 19:08:24
Shappy. Agree with all that apart from his demeanor. I am obviously not privy to anyone at the training ground, but in terms of his interviews I would imagine he has just learnt his lessons. Even when he was at Chelsea and I loved to hate him I thought he got a rough run of it.

In terms of going forward, I think trying to give him another season after this would do us well. In my opinion he has more often than not left behind a solid base/ top team. I would like to see the club, like pre mourinho, have a plan and this time stick to it. Start wooing (tapping up) the future pochettino's (sp) now.

Just my 2 penny's.

03 Jan 2018 19:21:08
Good posts Shappy.
Personslly I want to see jose force a back me or sack me approach.
If the board won't back him then his position becomes impossible.
He took over a really poor squad that failed miserably in the league for 3 years and those same players with his 4 additions failed miserably again In his first year. Allbeit winning 2 cups where consistency is not the foremost criteria. He added 3 more players this summer. But due to injury suspension and in lindelof and miki's case poor form he has had to rely on a lot of the same faces that have failed for the last 4 years. But somehow he has got them in 2nd place all season again allbeit with a poor ever changing but mainly defencive style. These same players in the main are doing Better than they have for 5 years.
If we want to see better style and entertainment a lot of these players need to be replaced. Or they will cintinue to fail under the next manager.
Back jose and he will produce a team we are all proud of.
If not sack him. Start again with a new manager that's the choice.

03 Jan 2018 21:44:27
So the rumour is that the owners are not happy with Jose’s comments about spending. Why is anyone surprised as it will highlight the imbalance between the ambition to be the best financially or best on the field.

For football reasons Jose should stay next season, gives the benefit of stability and if we buy the right top quality players he has proven he wins and wins big. If he doesn’t then review his position then.

The other reason is that if he is jettisoned at the end of the season, people will wonder if it is for football reasons (having not fully supported him with the top players) or for flagging of the owners ambition?

There is this fantasy idea that there are young up and coming managers with a profile and a good fit for United. (Give it to Giggs mob? ) Did people not learn from appointing managers, Moyes and LvG with all their experience couldn’t hack it. Poch keeps getting mentioned but what has he won? No doubt someone will say Dyche next. The next manager has to have the gravitas. Then it is about those who play progressive offensive football, trust in youth and progress players. Offensive football is built on a strong base, otherwise you get Arsenal and years of pretty football but win little of significance. Progress players, seems Jose gets no acknowledgement of progressing Jesse. We need to have a plan but naivety must not be part of it.

Give Jose the money and next season judge him.

{Ed004's Note - I honestly couldn't think of a better manager than Jose available that's why I want to see him continue on. There's still a lot of deadwood in this side. Although, I would like to see a few more youngsters get a chance such as Mensah, Tuanzebe, and Perriera next season}

03 Jan 2018 22:10:17

Yes I agree, the board should ask him for his requirements and support him or sack him. I believe they should support him and see where we are next season. I get used to reading the anti Jose stuff to the point I have given up on live chat but I can see progression. Give Jose the players.

Mensah has a good chance, always believed he is a central midfield player, but has the attributes plus Tuanzebe similar although maybe he would benefit from a loan. Perriera, I am not sure he will be quite good enough for United but I sense he may want to stay in Spain.

{Ed004's Note - I think Perriera might want to play permantently in Spain as well but he would be like a new signing for us in the summer}

03 Jan 2018 22:42:39
Describes some posters as, 'the give it to Giggs MOB'. Gets upset about some comments on José's management of the club.

04 Jan 2018 01:06:01
Totally agree with you red. I think Jose is doing a grand job and that City are skewing everything with their freak season.

04 Jan 2018 02:22:40
I think Ancellotti would be the perfect fit for us right now. He's got the gravitas, personality and attacking football philosophy which is a good match for Utd.

He's also flexible with his approach to get the best out of the players he has available. He's not dogmatic about formations and tactics.

I just think he could handle the job and would bring some much needed positivity to Manchester United.

04 Jan 2018 11:34:21
Red Man, I still fully back Jose and think currently he is still probably the best man for the job.
I just feel that his timing isn’t right if his long term ambition is to remain at our club. Everyone knows the January transfer market tends to be very poor. You pay a premium for players mid season, they also often suffer with adapting to their new team and quite often new country.
Add to that very few top players are available and those that are are usually cup tied it all adds up to a poor time to buy players.

Very few January signings go on to become top players for their new club and even fewer do so immediately. The only really successful January signings we have made is Evra and Vidic, it took nearly 6 months for them to adapt meaning neither made much difference to us during the season they were signed and both were signed 12 years ago and we haven’t signed anyone in January since or really before them who came close to being as effective as they were.

Jose knows the January market is poor and considering that most players we could sign with be cup tied for the UCL and if we are honest the EPL is beyond us now then what difference would any signing we could sign make to our season? Probably none or very little at best. So why drive a wedge between himself and the board when there is little to be gained at this moment? Sure in the run up to the summer window it makes sense, but now? Not really.

What it does do though is send a message out to parties possibly looking for a new manager in the summer that Jose isn’t completely happy at United and that he might be open to a move. Considering who his agent is and how many influential people at top clubs Mr Mendes will likely be speaking to this month it makes sense to put it into their minds that Jose isn’t completely happy where he is. I expect some might even take the chance to ask Mr Mendes what Jose’s position is while discussing players this month.

I hope the owners continue to back Jose as they have done. We have spent 26m on Mkhitaryan, 30m on Bailly, 35m on Lindelof, 40m on Matic, 89m on Pogba and 75m rising to 90m on Lukaku. Plus commiting to sign Zlatan twice the second time while he had a serious injury. That is 295 - 310m. That is massive backing in just over 18 months at the club. I completely agree that the Glazers didn’t fund transfers properly during the Sir Alex’s final 5 years or so. But with Jose they have been more than fair with spending so I’m not sure Jose has too much to complain about.

As for looking for good, young, up and coming managers. I think it would be negligent to not keep an eye on these guys and see how they are doing. I am not one of the give it to Giggs brigade, in fact I argued against giving it to him on many occasions. I just don’t feel he has proven himself as a manager yet, we would be diving into the unknown.

My opinion is a club our size needs a director of football to take a lot of the burden off the manager. Sir Alex was a freak of nature in that he effectively did both roles and he could do both without letting either suffer, yet in his final years he delegated far more than he used to. Going forward very few people will be able to do both roles, so we need to share out the workload.

If there are lower off field demands on our manager then they can spend more time with the players, helping them progress and building a stronger bond with those players. It’s all well and good having an authoritarian manager who has control of everything, but who do you think the players will blame when something goes against them?

If we stick with the idea that our manager needs to have the “gravitas” and track record to do every job then we will be picking from a very limited pool. We will also be entirely at the mercy of that manager. Okay so Jose has the track record, but he also isn’t known for sticking around long. If we had a director of football then maybe Moyes or LvG’s reigns wouldn’t have been so bad.

But allowing managers complete free reign has created nearly all of the problems we have had since Sir Alex’s retirement. Who do we go for after Jose? There aren’t many other managers out there who can do it all. The solution should be that we can sign exciting young managers at the forefront of modern football, guys who have proven themselves at a certain level but need the chance to scale up what they are doing. Because top managers are already at top clubs and prising them away isn’t going to be possible. So what then?

04 Jan 2018 12:12:01
Good post, Shaps. I still maintain that the jobs Dyche and Howe are doing at their respective clubs, are on a par with or better than, an Arsenal or Utd winning a League or FA Cup.



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