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Mediocrity and apathy now permeate Manchester United like a cancer

25 Nov 2018 10:25:48
{Ed's Note - DLIB has posted a new article entitled, Mediocrity and apathy now permeate Manchester United like a cancer


1.) 25 Nov 2018 11:15:34
Great summation of the situation we are in. Obviously some of us have been saying this for some time and the fact that so many fans seem to be content with the job Jose is doing speaks volumes for the point you were making about expectations.

We need wholesale changes and it starts with the manager. Let's get back to enjoying being Utd fans, not going to happen for most of us with the negative football on offer and a team full of misery.

2.) 25 Nov 2018 11:48:58
Thanks Beast it was a bit of a rant to be honest, possibly an overreaction to another languid performance I wasn't sure it would even get posted!

It wasn't really intended as an anti Jose post more about a perceived malaise around our Club. When you stop striving to be the best, accept mediocrity and accept that finishing in the top 4 represents success this attitude permeates the Club and rewards the players for failure. It gives a licence for the average and mercenaries to come to Old Trafford and coast along knowing that they will be paid handsomely and rewarded not for winning but for simply securing a 4th place finish.

As a business It makes financial sense I get that. It keeps the Club marketable and secures revenue and sponsorship, but from a fans perspective it is largely irrelevant. We should never be content or celebrate anything less than winning. Finishing in the top 4 means nothing. So we get to enter another competition the following season that in reality we have no chance of winning merely making up the numbers so the Club can remain profitable.

It's not just the structure of the Club that needs to change but the whole attitude to competition. We want to win not make up the numbers. When we start accepting that 4th place represents success and we allow the Club to drift without a commitment to sporting excellence we are no longer a football Club merely an irrelevant money making brand or franchise operating without soul or purpose.

3.) 25 Nov 2018 11:59:52
I didn’t like Jose when he was with Chelski but when he became our manager I supported him. We have been pretty ok initially but we are going backwards lately for whatever reasons. Be it The board’s fault, Woody’s fault, manager’s fault or players’ fault I think it is not found us good. I hate it even more especially when we are being compared to the scousers.
I believe it is not productive calling for the manager’s head now but if we really decides to do something, I’ve said it before, I’d try out Carrick for the rest of the season and then see if he is good enough to get the morale and mojo back into the team afterall he has got good rapport with the players. We can never know until we try out right? If anyone is worried then get Nicky to stand in working with Carrick.
It’ll save us money appointing manager midway and beside most managers may not want to move. We can take our time to tee up the new manager if needed. Who knows maybe Neville or Giggs might be keen to come back. Else we can start working on the likes of Poch or whoever.
As I watch the team don’t seem to want to play for Jose. It’s sad and these players ought to be kicked in their backside but we start with unfortunately the manager.
As I said I don’t believe it’s entirely Jose’s fault and it’s a team effort. If we should change manager then we better make sure we get behind the next one and ensure future players’ ego do not grow. We need to get back to the “we are a team” mentality. If once we change manager then we need to start rebuilding the team - from organization, right mentality and players. It may take 2-3 years before we get back to the top but hey I’m fine with that. Hopefully I get to see us become the PL champion again before I’m gone from this earth.
In the meantime I’ll still support the manager and the team even though it’s hard to watch with swearing sometimes 🤣. But afterall its just football and there are more important and urgent things in this world that needs our attention and prayers.
God bless you all.

4.) 25 Nov 2018 12:18:56
Look at the cash we have spent, and people say the club isn't ambitious, doesn't want success.

You would off though a team with cm options of Fred, matic and pogba and options up top of martial rash Sanchez lukaku would be looking to win things .

Did we spend a world record fee on pogba to finish top 4
Or make Sanchez the highest paid player in the league to finish top 4 .
Appoint Jose with remit of 4th .
We have made a bad choice with Jose, but how many people thought he would be a success at the time?
We tried for pep but couldn't get him if we had off we wouldn't be having this convo.

1st is the target 4th is the bare minimum to keep your job .

5.) 25 Nov 2018 12:28:07
I’ve never been a Jose fan but I think you are overreacting somewhat. We finished runners up last year, something has changed this year that has caused the current malaise. I don’t thInk it’s a lack of ambition, we have spent an awful lot of money but it appears not spent it very wisely. I don’t think we are heading for an abyss, nor are we all doomed, we are having a tough time right now and some tough decisions will have to be taken.

Some players do not seem happy, others are not playing to anything like their potential so something needs to change. Our recruitment has been slap happy, Pogba is a distraction and the signing of Sanchez made no sense whatsoever. I fully accept we need a player overhaul but I still believe a number of other Managers would have us much further up the table.

6.) 25 Nov 2018 12:30:32
It's very clear that there are serious issues higher up at our club, the board don't have a clear direction, a clear vision or at least they don't have one they share with the fans.

We talk about the lowering of our standards and its clear to see. What doesn't help, in fact it hugely damages us, is when our manager talks down our side. When Moyes said we should aspire to be like City he was slated for it, and rightly so. So when our current manager says things like we were always targeting second place in our UCL group. Or that the target is top four, then he should rightly be lambasted. How can he be asking his players to perform when he sets the bar too low? The fact of the matter is he was just defecting, stating the club isn't good enough to avoid the question of whether he is good enough.

The previous managerial appointments don't seem to follow a pattern or an idea, which suggests the person hiring doesn't have a clear understanding of what kind of managers different manager are, or has a clear idea of what a Manchester United manager should be.

However, that is a very different issue than how the team is playing. Both need to be sorted out, and soon.

Now for all fans top four isn't seen as good enough. That being said a failure to achieve top four this season will put huge pressure to achieve it next season. Especially when you factor in the financial aspects of not achieving UCL qualification.
There is also a secondary aspect of attracting the right level of players if we aren't in the UCL next season as well as retaining current players such as De Gea.

So the situation is we have a manager who for whatever reason is underachieving, he isn't getting the most out of his players and he doesn't look like he can turn it around without a mass clear out and a huge recruitment drive. None of which are realistically possible before we find out if we have UCL qualification for next season.

So a classic stick or twist.

Do we gamble of Mourinho turning it around and achieving a top four finish, if he fails we will suffer the consequences.

Or do we gamble and sack him and hope whoever replaces him is able to get more out of our current players than he is and that enables us to finish in the top four.

Both seem a dangerous game to play, and we should be wondering how has the club got itself into this situation? Well that brings us back to the first problem with the club and those who currently run it.

We have an easy run between now and Christmas, Palace was supposed to be the start of that. If we fall further behind the top four between now and Christmas then that gamble might start to seem like less of a gamble.

{Ed002's Note - Which board are you talking about? Who in particular? Stirring everything up from an ill informed position will do no good.}

7.) 25 Nov 2018 12:39:50
Matic is not as good as he once was and Pogba is just Pogba. I would get rid of him at the earliest.

8.) 25 Nov 2018 12:45:31
A decent manager who could get these lot playing well and things would look very different.

9.) 25 Nov 2018 12:46:23
Jred - I'm not saying I'm right pal it's just my perception of our Club. I honestly believe we lack ambition. Style aside Jose did a decent job last season and we finished 2nd. This is not success however and the chasm between us and the Champions was huge. We needed a lot more than just Fred and an unknown teenage right back to bridge that gap. We also saw the return of the the "no value in the market" rubbish which so blighted SAF's last few years in charge. Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree but it's my assertion that the Club were content with our performance last season and didn't want to invest the money required to help us bridge that gap. I honestly believe they lack ambition. Of course they'd like to win but are they really committed and determined to make this happen. I have my doubts. I understand this make me sound like a paranoid idiot but I can't understand why we didn't build on two relatively successful seasons under Jose and show more of a determination to topple City. I think we're paying for that lack of ambition and in the long term it will probably end up costing them a lot more to repair the damage. I say back the manager (within reason obviously), aspire to be the best and if things don't work out then act decisively. That way there can be no excuses.

10.) 25 Nov 2018 12:58:50
The gap between city and everyone is massive this is an amazing city team lead by a genius of a manager.

It's maybe not as easy to just go out and buy top players as you think .
Ed has told us the club tried and are very ready to spend cash .

We were sat in second last season when we got Sanchez before city and made him the highest paid player in the epl .
Strange if the target was only 4th.

11.) 25 Nov 2018 13:15:42
AJH - I accept that pal I do have a tendency to write emotional posts which can lack balance and can come across as paranoia.

Maybe if we'd have appointed Pep the board argument would probably be irrelevant. Having said that we saw in his first season that even the great Pep needs significant backing and I suppose we just have no idea what he could achieve with our Club. I've always maintained that if Mourinho couldn't bring success then we are in big trouble but maybe I was wrong and he is a dinosaur like others have suggested? In reality it's probably a combination of problems that are proving really difficult to solve and requires a far greater mind than mine. Good debate thanks to everyone for sharing your views!

12.) 25 Nov 2018 14:07:02
Ed002, The honest answer is I don't know. Having not met them, or being privy to all they do it's hard to have an informed opinion.

I suppose I feel the board aren't doing a great job from smaller little snippets of information and not a small amount of (un) educted guess work.

From an outside perspective the club seems rudderless, at least in a footballing sense. There seems a clear agenda to maximise the profit making capabilities of the club, yet there seems no clear identity about the clubs footballing image. Information from higher up is nonexistent, although I think it's important not to have too many people getting involved in the football of the club, especially if that isn't their area of expertise. I do think it's good for the fans to have a connection with the people running the club and that there can be some unity in what the club is aiming for.

There have been hints that not everyone at board level was happy with the appointment of Mourinho, which suggests a lack of unity and possibly support for the manager. It might also suggest that there isn't one clear defined vision of the club, and different board members view the club differently.

Mostly I suppose many people blame the current malaise the club finds itself in on more than the manager. They feel that after three bad appointments who is accountable for that and what was the thinking behind those three appointments?

Is it just a case of bad appointments or is there something not right in the process of hiring these appointments.

The longer the club struggles and keeps hiring managers who are unable to get the club challenging the more people will question who is hiring these managers and under what remit?

{Ed002's Note - Which board are you referring to?}

13.) 25 Nov 2018 14:19:28
Ed002, the board at Manchester United.

{Ed002's Note - As I was saying, perhaps you would want to stay clear of things you don’t understand. It is typical for football supporters to blame people they don’t know, and typical of Manchester United supporters not to understand the structure of the club. The constant moaning and people typing the same stuff over and over is tiresome and making the Manchester United pages unusable.}

14.) 25 Nov 2018 14:57:32
What is your opinion on United's situation ed? You are very on the money with your assessments and it would be great to hear your opinion. Thanks.

{Ed002's Note - Allegri should be in his second season know so the Toxics got what they deserved. However, over-reacting to a simple draw doesn't help anyone and the site is becoming unusable with people wrecking every thread that they can spouting the same ill informed nonsense. There is never any mention of advisors whilst all and sundry are blamed. Players come and go, MU blocked DDG leaving before so he will be far from happy. Pogba has been done to death. The expectations on Martial are too high for the ridiculous money pad. Inbrahimovic caused issues and was a mistake. There remain those who don't trust the coach and there was a lack of support

15.) 25 Nov 2018 15:03:48
That's cool Ed002. At least we know its all down to Mourinho now. lol.

16.) 25 Nov 2018 15:16:53
Correction - Moyes should be entering his 5th/ 6th season - I forget which because it's been mind numbingly boring since he was in charge. The whole fiasco started with hiring him on a 6 year deal.

That was the plan!

17.) 25 Nov 2018 16:12:37
As pointed out yesterday, Moyes after 13 games had more points, more goals scored and less conceded than we currently do. With arguably a weaker side, at least on paper.

18.) 25 Nov 2018 16:40:56
Not an excuse for Jose Shappy but the Moyes team was better than the current one, champions the season before and all of them actually looked like they wanted to play for the club.

19.) 25 Nov 2018 18:17:49
Oh come on. Every man and his dog on here was saying what an awful state Fergie had left the team in. RVP was the difference that year, and an amazing manager. I've always maintained Fergie's biggest achievement, was eeking out one last title from such a relatively ordinary team. Could you imagine what he could have done with players of the quality of Pogba, Sanchez and Mata, as well as the exciting young talent we have now in our squad?

20.) 25 Nov 2018 19:02:32
Scholes, it's arguable either way to be honest. On one side the team were champions, and supposedly all of them wanted to be there. Although RvP has said he might not had joined if he knew Sir Alex would retire after one season. So that might suggest at least one player wasn't completely happy at the start of that season. Its probably fair to say many players were probably concerned as to how the season might pan out after Sir Alex retired.

On the other hand we had some terrible players and many of our best players were well into their 30's. Practically our entire defence was past their best, Rio, Vidic and Evra. Scholes retired for a second time before that season started and he was probably our best midfielder between January and June in his final season. Maybe only Carrick on a similar level. RvP has a great season the year before firing us to the title, yet he wasn't completely happy going into that season, plus injuries started to effect him again that season. then players like Anderson and Nani who had failed to live up to expectations, Rafael and Fabio, Kagawa, Cleverley, Evans, Zaha, Powell, Buttner, Micheal Keane and Welbeck.

That was on paper and in actuality probably our weakest side to win the league.

21.) 25 Nov 2018 15:42:40
Ed002 it's all well and good pointing out we should have Allegri on season 2 but that ship has sailed and the direction of the club seems to be lost. I and I think everyone here is more concerned with the new plan. Is there one? It doesn't seem like it.

{Ed002's Note - I am not sure there needs to be right now. I appreciate the club drew a game.}

22.) 25 Nov 2018 16:03:08
We see what you're saying Ed002 but these draws and losses are becoming a regular occurence now, fair enough if it's not happening too much but when it's happening this often there's bound to be a backlash from the fans.

{Ed002's Note - If someone new came in and after a few weeks they were wining, drawing and losing would you want someone else - are your expectations reasonable. Where did the club end up last season?}

23.) 25 Nov 2018 18:36:24
Ed 002. As you have repeatedly said Allegri was the manager the club had in mind a few years back to take the club forward.

The Owners and Board must be concerned at the results and, contrary to the belief of some posters, are not all idiots. They will see and hear the discontent from the fans and also know the damage it will do to the clubs share price if we are consistently out of the trophies. Would you know if they have a manager in mind to succeed Jose if things do not work out and it would be interesting to hear who You would pick who might reasonably be available as his successor and why you would pick him. Thanks for your time.

{Ed002's Note - I would hope the deal with the fans with the contempt the fans deserve. Your go to Mail or Mirror or whatever told you Zizou would be taking over a few weeks ago - that should be enough for a while.}}

24.) 25 Nov 2018 20:39:58
Thanks ed. And in relation to Jose, should he gain the support needed? Do you believe that he can still take this united team further?

{Ed002's Note - The fans are done with him, the club has already demonstrated their position. I am not sure where this is going.}

25.) 25 Nov 2018 21:25:12
Well I believe he is a world class coach. I hope come January and summer, he will be able to make the necessary moves to bring in the players he wants and move on the players he wants out.

I also am 100% sure that no matter who comes in after, whether it be god himself, 'fans' would be calling for his head too if a few results weren't going their way.

{Ed025's Note - and thats fine angel, im sure if jose turns things around he will be the best thing since sliced bread again mate, this is not something that is exclusive to united though as all teams supporters are very much the same..

26.) 25 Nov 2018 21:35:52
True ed025. Just wish we could be more realistic with our own expectations. I've not been convinced by the bulk of the current squad, many of whom have been there since fergie/ moyes. It's almost like their is a rotten core than hasn't been fully eradicated and no matter the player being added they seem to get sucked into that core.

It's a pattern that has emerged since Fergie left. Players consistently underperforming.

Too easy nowadays to blame the manager.

{Ed025's Note - united can only have one expectation angel and thats to win every competition they enter its the way the club has set itself up for many years mate, success has meant that when things dont go to plan its classed as a catastrophe im afraid..

27.) 26 Nov 2018 10:41:10
Great point Beast. Cannot believe we’re back to the toxics. Unbelievable.



My view on the Smalling / Lindelof partnership

23 Nov 2018 10:20:05
{Ed's Note - DLIB has posted a new article entitled, My view on the Smalling / Lindelof partnership


1.) 23 Nov 2018 11:17:40
We had the second best defensive record only last season.

2.) 23 Nov 2018 12:08:42
Jred - Exactly Lindelof hardly played last season. I'm not saying he's a bad player I just don't subscribe to the rave reviews he's got recently. He's done ok nothing more. Will he improve and does he have the attributes to be a top class CB I am yet to be convinced. We all know about Smalling. Both are decent defenders, but I'm not sure they make the best partnership, I don't think we can win the league if they both start together regularly and I'm not even sure we'll make the top 4 if they are going to be our preferred pair for the rest of the season. Just offering my own opinion.

3.) 23 Nov 2018 12:14:54
We had the second best defense last season but didn't score enough didn't offer enough in midfield or attack . It's been even worse this season .
The issue for me is at the other end of the pitch .
People go on about young or smalling but is the big issue not the form of our star players pogba Sanchez lukaku and co? Will a new cb really improve there form and out attacking play?

4.) 23 Nov 2018 13:31:41
Jred - We don't score bucketloads of goals because we don't play that type of football. Under Mourinho we don't press or play on the front foot, we don't take the game to the opposition, we sit deep, deploy a low block and are passive. We wait for moments in games and rely on individuals to provide the attacking intent rather than any structured style of attacking play. This will not change whilst Mourinho remains in charge. I'd love us to score more goals, play with more energy and intensity but we do score enough goals to win games.

If we are to have any success under Mourinho it will be built on organisation, defensive solidarity and clean sheets. We've scored 20 goals this season which is the same as Spurs and only 3 behind Liverpool. The big difference is Liverpool have only conceded 5 times, Spurs 10 we've conceded 21 goals this season. To put that into perspective, it's more than the top 5 obviously but it's also more than Bournemouth, Watford, Everton, Leicester, Wolves, West Ham, Brighton, even Newcastle and Crystal Palace have better defensive records. Huddersfield have only conceded 1 more goal than us and we find ourselves level with Southampton. This is simply not acceptable.

Last season we were out scored by the top 6 (expect Chelsea) yet we finished second 4 points clear of third place.

Under Jose we simply won't score vast quantities of goals. We will however get enough to enable us to win games but he must get things right at the other end.

We scored 68 goals last year. I think we'll equal if not surpass that this season. The difference will be the defence and unless this improves significantly we won't finish in the top 4 it's as simple as that.

5.) 23 Nov 2018 13:45:39
So we had the 2nd best defence last season but not this season and you don't think that's an issue. unbelievable geoff.
If we still had 2nd best defence we would not be 8th ergo the defence is an issue there us no doubt about that.

6.) 23 Nov 2018 13:55:37
We are 7 goals behind were we were this time last season.
Jose teams may of defended well as a team and it was a team not just the back 4 but they also scored goals .

The last time Jose won the league
It was pretty dire footy but his Chelsea team only conceded 3 less than we did last season.

City only conceded 1 less than us last season but they scored 36 more .
So I don't think we do score enough .
City currently have the best defensive record in Europe it is because they are a very good team it's not all about there cb . Lindelof would do fine in that city team .

"Maybe you will realise if you see the statistics from the last 20 years, the team that scores the most is the team that conceded less. It’s a balance. ” pep.

7.) 23 Nov 2018 14:22:57
The obvious difference in our defence this season to last season is the form of two key players. Matic and DDG.

Last season, particularly at the start of the season, Matic was in majestic form, making telling contributions in every game shielding the back four. Blocks, interceptions and generally forcing players down blind alleys. However, as the season wore on his form deteriorated, and as it did so did our ability to limit teams chances. This was mitigated somewhat though by the quite outstanding form of DDG. Not a single week went by without him pulling off a near impossible save.

However, this season Matic looks well past his best. Without a summer off the recuperate he looks physically shot. worryingly that will not improve as the season goes on. Although DDG is in good form, and he isn't playing badly. He has yet to replicate last seasons truly stunning form.

These two factors are exposing what was in truth a poor defence last season.

That being said, a good manager will play to the strengths of his players to negate their weaknesses. If you have a poor defence its not a good idea to ask them to defend for 70-80 minutes every game. Its asking for trouble.

I used to manage a kids team, my natural instinct is to play quick offensive football, speed of transitions with loads of pace and off the ball running. In my first season I had the lads playing good football, we didn't always win, but we always had a shout of winning. In my second season a bigger club swooped and took 8 of my best lads, including the super talented midfielder who everything used to run through. We also lost most of our quick lads.

So I had to adapt, we were far more conservative in my second season. We defended deeper as we didn't have much pace in defence. We sat back more, we focused more on set plays in training to maximise our chances.

It wasn't what I wanted to do, but I had to work with what I had. In the league we finished 4th in my first season, and 3rd in my second. Which did demonstrate that a more defensive style can get results. However, it was notable how myself and the lads found the second season less enjoyable.

In my third season we picked up a couple of good new players, and I decided to switch back to something more like my first season. We finished 6th, yet everyone enjoyed the football far more, more smiles on faces and more compliments from parents. In my fourth season we won the league with only two new players, we also top scored and had the third best defence, conceding only 4 goals more than the best defence in the league, yet scoring 27 more than the next best team.

The core of my side had been with me since day one, we lost 8 top young players and brought 4 more new lads in. A couple of my lads went on to join local academies, and I still speak to some of the parents.

To me my experiences highlight two things, the need to adapt to what you have if you want to get results. Secondly, that you achieve far more if everyone is enjoying their football.

8.) 23 Nov 2018 14:40:50
You defend as a team it's a team effort. The other team can't score if they haven't got the ball.
Which is why teams like barce and Madrid nearly always have good defensive records even tho they don't play defensive football or a lot of the time have great defenders .

It's why city have the best defensive record in Europe . Stones has played every game this season in the best defensive unit in Europe a player people keep telling me can't defend . Delph played most of the season at lb .
We don't control cm we don't look after the ball we don't defend from the front .
Far more to it than buying a shinny new cb like some people think
I would leave it pal this sounds a bit above your head.

9.) 23 Nov 2018 16:23:24
Id say most things are above your head little denis.

10.) 23 Nov 2018 16:52:53
Ken, have you got a thing for jred? I get you might disagree but blimey, give it a rest. We can debate, disagree, have a laugh, get emotional, take the p1ss, but we don’t need to stoop to insults.

11.) 23 Nov 2018 18:08:10
Thanks ajh i think uou will find i replied to an insult. Get off your high horse ajh and read the posts before you jump in as the banter police i think you insulted ronnie many a time. you will win 2nd place for double standards in the xmas awards.

12.) 23 Nov 2018 18:28:56
You’re so aggressive ken, sometimes maybe you should just reflect on things instead of going on the attack. Yes I gave Ronnie a hard time but let’s be honest, he didn’t add anything at all to the site, just an endless list of young players every post so I may have bee blunt but I think he needed to hear it.

I’m not the banter police, I’ve had arguments with many posters but I move on and don’t hold it against them. You seem obsessed with jred, and you get personal. It’s not big and it’s not clever. I even stopped responding to you at what point as it felt like I had my own personal stalker. For once, take a step back and ask yourself, ‘am I sometimes an arse’? I’ve asked myself and realised that yes, sometimes I am. You need to do the same mate.

13.) 23 Nov 2018 18:51:47
Your right ajh someone's you are. I responded to an insult ajh i didn't throw the first one. But you want to have a pop at me. Happy for you not to respond it worked for me too. Thanks for the amature physiology.

14.) 23 Nov 2018 18:58:20
So its ok for you to insult ronnie if you think he needs to hear it. take a look at yourself.
Ive no issue with jred or anybody else throwing an insult at me but ill throw one back if i feel like i should.
Never once have you tried to pull jred up for taking the polar opinion on anything i post, nor should you indeed. He is entitled to post what he likes.
You would be better off minding your own business and until you practise what you preach.
So on a nutshell you can insult someone if you think they need to hear it but i cant. do one ajh.

{Ed025's Note - i think its time to put an end to all this nonsense now ken, that goes for all you guys..

15.) 23 Nov 2018 19:02:50
Jred, you always say ‘second best defence last year’ yeah for one reason and that’s DDG, he was top 5 for shots saved alongside 2 relegated keepers and others in bottom half, fact is our defence has been poor for a long while now and if DDG hadn’t been papering the cracks I’d hate to think where we’d be. Same this year, DDG saving far too many shots only this year he’s not saving as many. Plain as the nose on ya face, our defence is and has been poor.

16.) 23 Nov 2018 19:14:53
And there you go, firmly proving my point. No further questions your honour.

{Ed025's Note - case dismissed..

17.) 23 Nov 2018 19:33:02
I don't think the defense is very good Welsh the issue though is he inherited maybe the world's best keeper, an expensive lb highly rated not to long ago, then he was given funds for two CBS and a right back and yet we still look a bit naff at the back .
There seems to be a theory that because we didn't get other players the manager wanted then that automatically means he didn't want the defenders he bought, I don't really understand how that link is made, I'd assume the manager gave his blessing to the players purchased and was involved with others in deciding these players would help make the defense better, if in the future something comes to light to suggest Jose played no part in identifying players I'd happily apologise but I'm not aware at the minute people were bought against the managers wishes.

18.) 23 Nov 2018 20:53:54
Just a few stats to ponder. I've worked out win percentage and clean sheet statistics for our defenders Premier League performances as follows -

Lindelof - win 53% clean sheet 21%
Smalling - win 56% clean sheet 30%
Bailly - win 65% clean sheet 44%
Rojo - win 60% clean sheet 30%

I think the stats back up what most of us believe that Bailly is our best defender. Yes he's had a few bad games but he's still raw and learning the game. His form has dipped since he retuned from injury but his win percentage is impressive and we keep significantly more clean sheets when he plays. Not unlike Martial getting the best out of Bailly and helping him return to form will significantly assist our defence. Based on the stats our best CB pairing is Bailly and Rojo. That combination also provides the best balance allowing Bailly to play on the right and Rojo the left. Persistent injuries have meant we've been unable to play them on a regular basis and correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think they've started that many games together. Maybe Bailly and Rojo could be partnered in the forthcoming champions league games and see how they perform. We must improve our defensive record if we are to have any chance of securing a top 4 finish.

19.) 24 Nov 2018 11:22:31
I think bailly is a good way down Jose list pal .
Unbelievable Geoff, and then you get upset and angry?
For the most part good thread above get where you coming from shaps and DLIB almost a decent thread about footy there.
On the money.



09 Nov 2018 14:05:09
As our thoughts turn to the Derby my question is can we beat City at their own game?

Whilst results have been great against Bournemouth and Juventus we can't ignore the fact that we've conceded too many chances and I just can't imagine City being as wasteful.

It hasn't escaped my attention that we rarely build from the back and every goal kick goes long. De Gea predominantly kicks long from his hands rather than playing short throws or passes to his defenders. This must be an instruction from Mourinho and until we replace Smalling I don't expect this to change.

The problem with this tactic is we often just give possession back to the opposition. Despite his size and strength Lukaku hasn't been a successful focal point. He rarely wins headers and his first touch and hold up play has been inconsistent at best.

Sanchez has played up front during the last few games yet we have still gone long from De Gea. His movement and mobility has allowed us to play more football when we have won the ball back in open play and I believe we have looked more threatening as a result. He has been able to hold the ball better and bring others into play.

On Sunday I fully expect City to press us faster and harder than Bournemouth or Juventus did. Do we have enough quality to play through their press and are we brave enough on the ball? Whilst I'd love us to go toe to toe with City do we have enough quality in our team at the moment to allow us to do this?

I shudder to even be thinking this but could Fellaini be our secret weapon? Could we play over their press with direct balls into Fellaini and play our football in their half? If we could somehow get some sustained possession in their half we could cause them trouble with the movement and skill of Martial, Sanchez and Lingard with Pogba joining from midfield. I don't expect Kompany to play and City are a relatively small team. We have come a long way in recent weeks. We are almost back within touching distance of the top 4 but because of our poor early season form I think we still need something from this game.

If ever we were in need of a Mourinho masterclass it's now. After our run of good results I'd love us to maintain the momentum. Sunday for me is all about the result and not necessarily the performance. I think we must look at the bigger picture and if a more direct or defensive performance allows us to get something from the game then I think we should support this approach.

Maybe I've blinked too soon, maybe I'm demonstrating the same cowardly attitude that has defined us now under three different managers, maybe I'm condoning the very thing most despise, but I fully expected pragmatism in the big games under Mourinho what I didn't expect was that it would extend beyond this.

Our approach will be fascinating and I can't wait. Food for thought I suppose!


1.) 09 Nov 2018 14:31:48
If we give City as many soft chances as we have given away in the last couple of games we will be destroyed and humiliated. They could rack up a big score before half time.

However, derby games have a habit of ripping up the form book.

Hopefully, all our players pull together, put in maximum effort and we can come away with a win.

If a couple of players have a bad day at the office and we don't put in maximum effort we could be on the end of a whooping.

2.) 09 Nov 2018 16:05:31
The last whopping we got against City was a 6-1 defeat i believe.

3.) 09 Nov 2018 16:09:41
Dlib. In response be to your question in paragraph 1. The answer us No.

Can we win of course we can. But we will need everything to go our way.

4.) 09 Nov 2018 16:14:40
Sometimes in football you have you realise and accept the in deficiencies in your team and that sometimes you cannot go toe to toe with the opposition. Simply put, city are a better drilled and more talented football team than us. If we try and play them at their own game it may be a cricket score. Now that’s not to say we can’t beat them. There are many ways to skin a cat. And perhaps in Jose we have the master of winning the one off game any way possible.

We all want to see beautiful free flowing football but Sunday is all about getting the win. I have no issue us using fellaini’s attributes and looking to go long so we can by pass city’s press and build out attacks. But that doesn’t mean That we play aimlessly. Against Liverpool at home last year we had a plan to isolate Trent Alexander Arnold by going long to Lukaku and getting flick ons. A few years back when we heat city 4-2 at home under LVG we used fellaini to bring the ball down and bring out forwards into the game. I would still play a front 3 of Sanchez martial Lingard and order them to pressure city’s defence. But then I would play pogba Herrera and fellaini in midfield. Herrera sitting deep using his dynamism to sweep up any danger. And fellaini furtther forwatd forcing the two silva’s to push back. It may not be the prettiest or most desirable football, but we are unfortunately up against the best side in Europe for me.

5.) 09 Nov 2018 18:02:07
Agree with what you say Park.

I would add a point will do nicely whether we have 90% possession or 10%. If we don't lose its a good result for us Sunday.

6.) 09 Nov 2018 19:56:27
I agree fzz.

7.) 09 Nov 2018 21:02:17
Regrettably l have to say we are likely to get a tough lesson in reality of how long the road to recovery is ahead of us.
We get outplayed but manage to keep it to a reasonable scoreline we might just about keep on a fairly even keel. If, God forbid, we get trounced then everything will be up in the air again. I wonder whether Jose would survive that, not that I want him to leave at this juncture. I think that will come at the end of the season angway.

8.) 09 Nov 2018 21:04:34
Park, I am sure we will see free flowing football. The real question is will our team be playing it or watching in stunned amazement?

9.) 10 Nov 2018 05:58:15
Of course we can beat them, despite all the negativity on her. If we push high up the pitch and pressurise, play with energy and purpose, anything is possible. Against the big teams we’ve done ok so far, let’s get at them.

10.) 10 Nov 2018 10:00:39
We have to remember that though we CAN beat them and in spite some encouraging improvement recently this is a Jose "just don't lose" type of fixture. If I were a betting man, the only thing that I would put money on is that Jose will park the bus with wheel clamps on)

11.) 10 Nov 2018 11:40:21
DW20 - Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. City are playing the best football in Europe at the moment and they are at home. Big games should be hard fought wars of attrition. To think we can take on City toe to toe at at this moment in time would be naive at best. We have to find a balance between being defensively solid and a threat going forward. I think a draw would be a good result and keep the momentum going. My criticism of Jose is that he's been unnecessarily pragmatic against the lower half Clubs where a more expansive and braver approach is required. Against teams like City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc I think we can all forgive a more tactical approach especially if we pose a threat going the other way. It was in these games which Jose built his reputation after all and it wasn't for his gung-ho philosophy.

There should only be two positions in the team up for grabs. Do we retain Herrera in midfield or utilise the less mobile but more physical Fellaini? Does Lingard retain his position on the right or do we play the more direct Rashford?

I wouldn't start Rashford, I don't like him on the right. He runs up too
many blind alleys and doesn't retain the ball well enough. I think he's a brilliant option off the bench just like at Bournemouth and Juventus when his pace on the counter can be so dangerous.

I'm torn on Fellaini, I worry about his mobility but I fully expect us to sit deep, play narrow and defend our penalty box. I think we have a fluid, mobile front 3 in Sanchez, Martial and Lingard so I expect us to try and break quickly in the transitions with Pogba joining from midfield, Fellaini holding providing the stability and defensive shield with Matic. I think if we go long from De Gea (as we always do) we need someone to get hold of the ball rather than just constantly surrendering possession. If we could hit Fellaini and retain possession high in their half we could be in business. They will probably have the two Silva's in midfield and neither Laporte or Stones are commanding in the air, I think Fellaini could pose be a real problem for them. If all our goal kicks, dead balls etc are aimed at Fellaini and we then press and suffocate City competing for the knock on's, second balls and retaining the ball high in their half then we have the mobility and quality with the likes of Sanchez, Martial, Lingard and Pogba to cause them all kinds of problems.

12.) 10 Nov 2018 11:42:44
It's a derby any thing could happen .

Let's be honest juve performance was pretty poor but we got a result.



06 Nov 2018 09:27:51
Morning guys, Darren Fletcher made some interesting comments about Paul Pogba last night on MNF. I know the Pogba debate has been done to death but Fletcher thinks he maybe lacks the discipline to play in CM and believes he is better deployed further forward so with that in mind does anyone think we could adopt a narrow 4-4-2?

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think Atletico Madrid have enjoyed great success under Simone using a narrow 4-4-2 formation. They don't play with wingers in the traditional sense. They are well organised, defensively solid and like to play on the counter. They are a hard working, pragmatic, physical side and I see lots of similarities with how Mourinho wants Utd to set up.

I speculated yesterday if Matic could play CB but I think the general consensus was this wouldn't work. Is Matic better therefore in a midfield 2? Is he left isolated and Does he have to cover too much ground when playing at the base of a midfield 3 with two more advanced midfielders ahead of him? Is he progressive enough on the ball in that position? He's not like Jorginho and doesn't set or control the tempo of the game. He's a very good defensive shield when he's allowed to sit in front of the back 4 with a midfield partner.

Could Pogba be shifted to the left, Matic and Herrera in the middle with Lingard or even Fred on the right with Sanchez and Martial upfront?

I think we've seen on Saturday that Pogba has the power, strength and skill to beat a man and cross the ball or cut inside and shoot. I've always thought Pogba is at his best when he drives forward with the ball. He's very good at playing cross field passes switching the play balls or he could play balls over the top and into the channels for Martial and Sanchez.

Lingard has fantastic movement and would link well with Sanchez and Martial. With Pogba and Lingard not operating as wingers more wide midfielders we should have numbers in central areas allowing us to dominate the ball. Lingard, Sanchez and Herrera all bring an intensity and energy when out of possession with their pressing and mobility. Sanchez could drop deep at times and link the play with Pogba and Lingard operating either side of him with Martial pulling into his favoured left channel.

I honestly believe most of the pieces of the jigsaw are already in the box. Maybe we just need some creative thinking to find a way where they all fit together and find a system that let's everyone flourish and play to their strengths. Alternatively maybe I'm just over thinking and over complicating things and need to give my thumbs a rest.


1.) 06 Nov 2018 14:57:22
DLIb - your points are well put without the realisation that several of the players may not be there in the summer but its possible a couple could be gone in January. Sanchez and Pogba being touted around and Martial DDG and Herrera not signing extensions, could prove costly for replacements and the process starts again.

2.) 06 Nov 2018 16:19:33
Cookyman - Maybe but Pogba and Sanchez are still under contract. I think we have the option of a years extension with Martial and I think Herrera will re sign. I accept we might lose De Gea.

If we could find a system that allowed all the players to perform to their potential then maybe they'd be more willing to stay at the Club for the short to medium term anyway if they believed we could challenge for trophies.

It would be more a of 4-2-2-2 formation anyway. Two holding midfielders would allow Pogba and Lingard to play in more advanced positions drifting left and right of centre and covering those areas defensively. Martial would be relinquished of much of his defensive duties meaning he could stay higher up the pitch and pull into that left channel where he can be so devastating. I'm convinced Sanchez will perform better centrally.

I'd try De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Martial and Sanchez tomorrow night.

It's only a slight tweak in the formation but it might just provide more stability defensively with the two holding players allowing Pogba, Lingard and the full backs to get forward in support of Martial and Sanchez. Matic has looked a little leggy recently and I think he's asked to do too much as the anchor of a midfield 3.

Just my thoughts but I think we have to change something if we want to improve defensively without blunting the attack. We need to find that balance and stability which is proving so elusive.

3.) 06 Nov 2018 17:55:09
agree we have some decent personel and indeed the changes could work but I think the confidence and mental attitude of the players is at such a low level that more than a formation change is needed and there is no fast fix. I do hope/ wish we can turn it around quickly but if we only play 45 mins against Juventus or/ and city we are toast and even with wins in the last 3 epl games under our belt any improvement is fractional.



05 Nov 2018 14:19:17
Afternoon guys, quick question does anybody think it's time to try Matic at CB?

He appears to be struggling with the stamina and mobility required to play in midfield at the moment.

Smalling has been poor recently. When the ball is in the air he's probably our most commanding defender but he's terrible with the ball at his feet. He struggles against the more agile, mobile attackers and with upcoming away games against Juventus and City I fear the worse.

Matic has the physicality to play the position. He's an intelligent footballer and generally reads the game well. He's calm and assured in possession and he might just provide us with the composure we need to build from the back and get better possession of the football. I'm not saying he's the long term solution but at the moment he may just provide the solution to our defensive problems.

I think our slow starts recently have been exaggerated by our inability to keep possession of the ball early in games. Every goal kick goes long, we lack the courage, bravery and composure to take the ball in tight areas. We look to play the ball long too soon rather than building the play and we invariably surrender possession too easily. When this is combined with the fact that we drop very deep to compensate for our defensive fragilities it fills the opposition with confidence and encourages them to press us higher which causes us even more problems. It's no coincidence to me that we've been able to improve in the second half as the energy and intensity of the game drops which affords us more possession and enables Pogba to influence the game more easily.

I think Matic might just give us the composure we need to settle us down and play some football. I think Pereira could be used as a deep lying play maker and Herrera to add some bite and energy in midfield.

I think Lindelof, Matic and Pereria should be able to manipulate and keep the ball better allowing us to build from the back more readily.

I thought Sanchez looked much better upfront. His link up play, movement and mobility were an upgrade and he was instrumental in getting us back into the game. I hope he gets a run of games up front.

Whilst results have been better, our performances are still frustratingly erratic and until this improves I'm not convinced results will remain as encouraging over the medium to long term.


1.) 05 Nov 2018 14:49:09
Think he should just play in mid mate, needs a rest. Will only see the best of him if he's fully fit and energised, we've badly overused him imo.

2.) 05 Nov 2018 14:56:55
or we can play one the other many centre backs we have.

what is up with bailly. or rojo.

its shown with lindoff a run of games in the team.

sick of playing player out of position.

3.) 05 Nov 2018 14:59:35
Matic is a very good player when he is on form. But unfortunately he has been woeful this season. As you both have alluded to, the guy looks knackered. He is reaching a point for me where he cannot play every week in the middle. He just doesn’t have the legs to get around the pitch especially where he is having to do double work covering pogba when he is out of position. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a back 3 with lindelof and bailly either side. Has a good passing range and would be able to take the ball out of defence. This would then allow us to have a more dynamic midfield with more legs by playing pereira/ Herrera/ Fred. It would also allow us to play mata centrally instead of shifting him to the right. Matic wouldn’t work back 4 imo. Would get shown up against the likes of Aguero. I too hope to see Sanchez played centrally again. Thought he looked far more threatening and dangerous with his runs and movement. He will score plenty of given the time and a run as striker.

4.) 05 Nov 2018 15:19:03
It was always relatively obvious that Matic would struggle this season. Historically he always starts well then taxes as the season progresses. His stamina over a season has always been poor. Therefore, in a season after he has had a reduced rest period due to international commitments it was always likely he was going to struggle.

I wouldn't play him at CB due to the lack of mobility be more likely to be exposed. If he is struggling with central midfielders then what is he going to do with mobile strikers and in cutting wingers?

I think he needs to be tested more. I'd like to see a midfield three of Herrera, Fred and Pogba.

5.) 05 Nov 2018 15:41:23
He's been pretty terrible since the first month or two for me.

Just a body taking up room, occasionally intercepting and picking a good pass, but mostly hampering the speed of our play, losing his man and making other midfielders/ defenders over compensate for his lack of mobility and general poor awareness at times.

Aside from his height (which is irrelevant from an attacking point of view as we can't deliver, and defensively as we look a shambles whenever a ball comes in), I don't see what he brings better than Herrera or Pereira back there. I'd even have Fellaini over Matic and that is saying something.

£50m spent on a player way past his best (clearly Kante taking his place tricked whoever said 'go' on the deal, because Matic was declining rapidly at Chelsea irrespective) . It would be like us signing Fabregas in January because Jorginho plays now, but like Matic somebody will buy Fabregas and feel the pain - hopefully not us but I wouldn't be surprised.

6.) 05 Nov 2018 17:17:09
I agree bolger that we don't want another player playing out of position.
Matic looks knackered to me. Take him out for a couple if weeks as he has done with lukaku.
Bailly has been awful when played anytime this season. I thought he was our potential long term no1 but i just see him jumping in and la king composure all the time.
Can he get himself together and up his game like shaw and martial and respond to the challenge? I don't know its up to him. I thought he was the warrior type but maybe he is a bit soft and easy going for jose.

7.) 05 Nov 2018 17:41:02
I don't think he will be consistent in any position. Past it.

8.) 05 Nov 2018 18:21:33
Badly in need of a rest.

I think he would also benefit with Herrera in beside him doing the majority of leg work. Looked a better player when Herrera was introduced.

But don't be fooled, he is a cracking footballer.

9.) 05 Nov 2018 18:47:04
Shappy - I'm really not convinced by Fred I don't get what kind of player he is yet? Yes he has energy but he's not really a ball winner, his passing is erratic and he gets pushed off the ball too easily for my liking.

I was under the impression he was a bit like Kante but more creative. I was excited by what I'd read about him. I suppose if he was we'd have some player. Early days granted let's hope he improves and finds his role in the team.

Pogba is better with energy around him and pace ahead of him. We still haven't found the right combination to allow him to flourish. We need two tenacious, hard working, ball winners next to him and then pace, movement and mobility ahead for him.

For France he had Kante and Matuidi to do his running and win the ball with Greizman and Mbappi providing the pace and movement.

Football is about finding the correct balance and combinations and we just don't seem to have the right mix.

I suppose Fred does have the energy and Herrera brings an intensity that we definitely miss when he doesn't play maybe that trio could work?!

10.) 05 Nov 2018 20:49:26
Round holes and square pegs come to find. But sometimes it does help slow the water leakage so who knows what happens if actually tried. But I think Matic needs a rest, he has been playing regularly for quite a few seasons and he is getting on a bit. If he still doesn't recover his form even after some rest then maybe we all have to accept that he's legs are going and we won't be seeing the best of him.




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08 Oct 2018 13:08:24
Yeah your probably right Ed001. Pie in the sky talk really just thinking out loud thanks for your reply!


{Ed001's Note - it is difficult because you don't want to push out a legend like Fergie, but sometimes you have to.}



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08 Oct 2018 10:24:18
Ed001 - I think that is superb reply and I totally agree with you about SAF. It is my understanding that as his career progressed he took a step back and became a brilliant delegator. He regularly changed his assistants and coaching staff to freshen things up, implement new ideas and keep the players motivated. He became more of an observer which gave him the advantage of being able to assess exactly what was going on at the football Club.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said any new DOF will become the most important person at the Club most certainly from a footballing perspective anyway. They will drive the footballing strategy and vision.

I was always slightly curious why we couldn't have adopted this approach when SAF retired. I think he could have remained in post for a couple of seasons as a figurehead whilst Moyes took control of the team. He would have been a valuable asset and maybe he could have been more actively involved in player recruitment aiding both Moyes and Woodward through a difficult first window. I'd have liked to have seen a slower more measured transition where Moyes was approached and offered the job as head coach ultimately taking the main role the following season or even the season after. It might just have given the Club time to find its feet and put measures in place to fill the massive void when SAF eventually retired. Of course this is all just pie in the sky reasoning but ultimately the great man was always going to retire and maybe his biggest legacy could have been overseeing the next step and ensuring the Club continued to dominate rather than just leaving a vacuous hole they have been unable to fill. Johan Cruyff left Barcelona with a footballing philosophy which has endured for decades even after his untimely death. He has provided the Club with a blueprint and recipe for continued success. I'd have like to have seen Utd follow suit with SAF engineering and planning his own retirement and legacy rather than just leaving suddenly. Of course this all sounds great in theory but I appreciate in reality it's easier said than done. Maybe he just couldn't commit any more of his time and things happened suddenly which we're out of his control. Its all ancient history now anyway.


{Ed001's Note - I think the problem you had was that Fergie was still around and it never works out when the previous, legendary, manager is still around. Busby stepped upstairs and it didn't help at all. Shankly was causing a similar issue at Liverpool after he quit, so he was asked to stay away. Cruyff went off to rebuild Ajax (if I remember correctly) so he was not there overshadowing his successors. Fergie is too strong a character to just put him to one side, unlike Paisley, for example, who acted as advisor when Dalglish was first appointed up until he fully retired in 1989 and then it all fell apart for Liverpool without him. When you have someone as strong as Fergie, it has to be a clean break or his shadow is over everything.

Your biggest problem was that he was in control of pretty much everything at the club. Great while he was there, but the minute he went it left a massive power vacuum that Eddy Woodwouldward could never hope to fill and Moyes had no intention of getting involved to that degree of micro-management. So you were left with a lot of people who no longer knew who to report to.}



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26 Jul 2018 16:25:54
Shappy - The exotic name thing wasn't aimed at you pal. In hindsight I should have omitted that. I just think Maguire is universally underrated on here but by no means am I saying he's the finished article. I think he'd be a decent signing but I understand your reservations and take your point about him maybe not being a major upgrade on we've already got. Anyway this site would be a boring place if we all had the same opinion.




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26 Jul 2018 12:01:27
I take your point Shappy but I think McGuire has come in for some undue criticism to be honest.

It remains to be seen if he's a viable target but I think he'd be a solid addition to our team. From what I've seen he's big, strong, very good in the air and good with the ball. He maybe lacks a yard of pace and I've heard people criticise his positioning at times but that's something that can be worked on and will prove with experience. I think he's better than what we've got (maybe Bailly apart) . He's got good pedigree and actually played in the FA youth Cup final against us with the likes of Pogba and Lingard. He's continued to improve at both Hull then Leicester and maybe he deserves a chance to play at a higher level. Sometimes we get seduced by more exotic names but I think he's a good solid player, at the right age that will continue to improve.

I think Lindelof was signed for the right reasons but I just think he lacks the physicality for the Prem League. If Jose isn't going to play him then maybe now is the time to cash in. He's had a good World Cup and I'm sure we'd get our money back at least. I'd definitely cash in on Rojo. He's perpetually injured and apart from a 15-20 game spell where he looked half decent playing next to Jones he's been pretty unspectacular to say the least. I think both Smalling and Jones are solid squad players and have served the club well. I fully agree about Tuanzebe but I'm not sure he's ready just yet.

In relation to the Martial saga just let the boy move on. It's obvious he isn't going to flourish under Mourinho and I see little point in keeping a player that is unhappy and isn't going to help the team. He may develop into a very good player but at the moment he's just not quite there and has shown little interest in fighting for his place. His next move will be crucial and if he's hankering for a move to the likes of Real or Bayern I'm certain he'll find himself in exactly the same position.

Maybe some kind of swap deal with Spurs for Son Heung-Min would interest all parties. He works tirelessly, he can play in any position across the top three including striker and scores goals.

Utd need to start getting creative if we want to see some transfer activity this summer.





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12 Dec 2018 23:40:46
The game was a dead rubber but the apathy of the performance was frightening.

I don't care what anybody says when you have no recognisable system or style of play it's difficult for any player to excel.

Pereira was trialled as a deep lying midfielder, he's then plucked from obscurity and shunted out on the left wing. What do we expect him to do?

Can anybody tell me what Jose wants from Pogba, Fred even Fellaini. What is their role in the team?

Fellaini is not a defensive midfielder. He can't run or tackle, his mobility is no existent and his passing ability limited. Unless he's further up the pitch getting on the end of crosses or the ball is played directly into his chest so he can hold it up he's a waste of a player. Would Pep, Klopp, Potch, Sarri or Emary have Fellaini as their defensive midfielder? Use him correctly or not at all.

Fred was largely deployed in a midfield axis for Shakhtar, he has energy, mobility and is good on the ball. He's better from deeper positions where he can play forward passes or dribble from deep breaking the lines. For Utd he's been used to the right of a midfield 3. He's being asked to play further forward on the half turn. When he receives the ball he has no options as Lingard or Mata often drift inside occupying the same space and doing the same job. If the full back doesn't overlap we have no width. He looks bewildered and lost. Why not swap Fred and Fellaini around? Let Fred build the play, allowing Fellaini to get further up the pitch and get into the box where he's a threat.

Pogba has been done to death, we all know his strengths and weaknesses but do any of us really know what Jose wants from him? I certainly don't and he's another that looks confused and disillusioned.

Rojo was selected at left back for no reason other than to give him minutes. He was predictably replaced and it was another wasted selection. How can you expect a player to perform when he knows he's 3rd choice left back and has predominantly been played at CB anyway. If he's not good enough then simply don't play him and certainly not at left back. Give a young lad a chance that's hungry and committed.

Against Valencia we had no width, no pace and no mobility. It was a collection of individuals playing without any defined roles, structure or purpose. They were given a platform to fail not excel and they obliged accordingly.

Our squad is being mismanaged and half of them now appear demotivated and disinterested.

In essence we had a deep lying midfielder that can't pass, set the tempo or build the play. Wide players with no pace that prefer to come inside and receive the ball to feet with no options ahead of them and full backs that didn't attack or provide any width. We had a CF that thrives from crosses yet we played with no width and nobody that can cross a ball. It was a wasted opportunity to build on the Fulham performance and we now head into the weekend with no momentum.

The game didn't matter and it showed. Let's hope Sunday is different!




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11 Dec 2018 19:43:43
Good post Shappy completely agree mate.




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09 Dec 2018 20:45:20
Very good articulate post mate. I agree it was great to see the full backs more advanced and putting crosses into the box. Yesterday we played with genuine width and both full backs played liked wingers. If we can continue to put quality deliveries into the box this will benefit Lukaku and he'll become more of a goal threat once again.

As for Herrera we need him to bring energy and intensity to the midfield. Without him we are passive and pedestrian. He's not the most creative and is sometimes guilty of playing to many backwards and sideways passes but his role in the team is to put the opposition under pressure and try to win the ball back higher up the pitch. It's incumbent on the likes of Mata, Lingard, Martial, Sanchez and Rashford etc to be more creative and carry a goal threat. Having more advanced full backs providing the width and putting quality deliveries into the box for Lukaku will also help. We can only judge Herrera by the qualities to which he brings to the team and our expectations should be adjusted accordingly. I view Herrera as a facilitator, he provides a platform for the others to play and puts pressure on the opposition with his tenacity and energy. Liverpool's midfield is very workmanlike with the likes of Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum none of which are any better than Herrera in my opinion. The key to our midfield is finding a balance which I think Jose is close to finding now. I think he's almost given up on Pogba and I expect him to persist with the Herrera/ Matic axis. I think Lingard's movement and energy is also important in the No10/ attacking midfielder role and Mata's quality on the ball links everything together nicely. With Dalot providing the width and pace on the right its no longer such an issue when Mata comes inside in search of the ball.

It is my belief that Pogba has provided Mourinho with perhaps his biggest challenge at Utd. I think he envisaged Pogba playing as part of a midfield 2 but his lack of positional discipline and his attitude to the game has surprised him. He's abandoned his favoured 4-2-3-1 in favour of a 4-3-3 to accommodate Pogba but an extra midfielder blunts our attack and Pogba's performances have been nowhere near consistent enough to justify a switch in formation. His influence in the dressing room has created a divide and their fractured relationship has had a detrimental effect on results as they have both postured for power. When Pogba was introduced against Arsenal the boos were audible and it would appear Jose is finally getting the upper hand in their battle. It's all such a terrible shame because they are both represent the most decorated employees at the Club and they should be pushing us towards the top and not away from it. In reality Pogba will eventually get his dream move and will recover because his talent is undeniable. As for Mourinho top 4 is looking incredibly difficult and I expect he will probably pay with his job. If Jose could somehow build on the Fulham performance, develop a recognised style of play with more energy and intensity in the team with attacking full backs providing the width and ammunition for Lukaku then with a string of good results behind him maybe he could save his job even without finishing in the top 4 if we can see progress. Sometimes we don't look that far away and with some consistency in formation and selection maybe we can look forward to a more productive New Year.




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08 Dec 2018 10:57:06
I know it's only hypothetical I'm
just playing fantasy football pal indulge me please 😂.




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08 Dec 2018 10:32:02
It's funny because when Jose wins it's down to him and when he loses the players aren't good enough.

I have no idea why the team aren't performing. I think we all agree that this team probably lacks the quality and consistency to win the league but they're certainly good enough to be in the mix for top 4 with the likes of Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea.

Our running stats are embarrassing and this is the principal reason why we aren't winning football matches. With the quality in our squad if we at least match the effort of the opposition we'd be much higher up the table. This comes from the manager and if the players aren't prepared to work hard then they shouldn't play. His "mad dog" comments were ill conceived and misleading. He prefers us to drop deep and he picks players without the necessary mobility to play on the front foot. This was yet another attempt to shift the blame to his players when his tactical approach and team selection is the real problem.

I maintain that Mourinho has the players in his squad to play a high intensity, pressing game but he chooses not to. He prefers to play Matic, Fellaini, Lukaku and continues to indulge Pogba despite them being at war.

He needs to select the players that will run, press and work hard and if they perhaps lack the quality, maturity or experience of the others then so be it because what we're seeing week in week out simply isn't good enough.

My team today would be Dea Gea, Dalot, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Herrera, Fred, Lingard, Martial, Chong and Rashford.

I'd tell them to run, press, chase, contest every ball. Never let them off the hook, Never let them make an easy pass, run all over them, let them feel the pressure, this is Old Trafford for F. sake.

At the moment they remind me of England pre Southgate. Too scared to take chances, stuck in the past playing slow, predictable, safe, percentage football. Does anyone really believe that if Allardyce was still in change then the likes of Rooney and Cahill wouldn't be in the team. Well that's where we are with Jose. He's placing his trust in the likes of Smalling, Matic, Fellaini, Lukaku, Pogba. when in reality these players are the problem. We need someone to breath new life into our team, bring fresh ideas, be braver, bolder, play faster and harder because percentage football will no longer suffice.