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07 Jun 2021 09:25:31
I watched United's famous 5 3 recovery at Spurs in 2001 at the weekend on MUTV.
What struck me was the determination of the players to come back from 3 nil down and also the fact ttat we had 3 top class strikers to convert goals - Cole, Van Nistelroy and Solskjaer. Only one remains as manager and we have Cavani.
Surely we need a team that never gives up like that and 2 more really good strikers. Greenwood is on the way to being anothe rone but that still leaves us a striker short. Kane or Harland?

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07 Jun 2021 12:38:52
We used to play 4-4-2 which meant 3 top strikers for 2 positions, or 4 when we had Teddy and Yorke too, which was an embarrassment of riches. Now we play with 1 up top you are unlikely to find a top striker willing to sit and be 3rd choice, so we had 4 into 2, now we really need 2 into 1, which Cavani and Greenwood can be.

28 May 2021 16:13:35
A couple of thoughts about wednesday:

1) I wanted to simmer down from the agony of losing that game before posting.

2) Losing the final really hurt (not because of what it would've mean and yada yada) but just plain hurt

3) Boy, the lads played really really really bad! Scotty aside, can't think of any one else, maybe Cavani because he husstled and harried

4) Pogba, Bruno and Rash especially stood out. don't think anyone on the pitch played worse than Rash or Pog

5) This game really showed the true depth of our squad, or lack thereof. i found myself scratching my head about who I'd bring on from the subs bench. Folks are saying VDB, but if that's the first name that comes to your minds then i rest my case. Nothing against vdb, but clamoring for someone who has played like 20 mins of football all season really shows how stocked we are.

6) what a bad call to take off Mason when clearly rash was the blindingly obvious one to be yanked off.

7) Pau torres looked really good!

8) Ole surprised us all I think with the team he went with. And i seriously don't get the doom and gloom here. SO many who were shrugging off europa league are now fretting about as if its the end all be all.

9) I think most would agree, 2008 man utd was the best squad we've had in the recent history, managed by (for my money) the best in the game and can't remember if that went to penalties?!?!? did it?

10) The boys played really really bad!

11) nothing Ole said in the post match interview was embarrasin/ dellusional/ shameful or pathetic. There was a lot of that, but it was elsewhere and said by others.

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29 May 2021 13:36:52
Good post raconteur.
I obviously don't agree with parts but I agree with others.
The selection was one that many have been calling for all season but I found it strange that despite having ample opportunity to trial that new system before the final he didn't.
He abandoned the formation and system that's has been boring but fairly effective on the last day of the season in a final. He tried to shoehorn pogba rash Bruno greenwood and cavani into the first 11 for the first time no wonder it looked so disjointed. I feel he did it because he didn't know who to drop and he feared leaving any of them out. I found that odd and its no surprise it didn't work out.
We looked like a team that had never played together before in the final 1/ 3 but I suppose there is good reason for that as that team had never played like that before.
Mctom had a great game. Bursting forward so we went from playing 2 holding midfielders to none.
But one is to blame for not trying anything different to win the match and his first sub was in extra time taking an attacker off for a defensive player to try and hold on for penalties.
I'm not sure there is a whole lot of doom and gloom.
I think a lot of people don't have faith in ole but I for one would be happy to go with the squad we have and a new manager and coaching team next season i don't think we are playing to our potential and that the squad is capable of playing a more entertaining cohesive style of play. The way we approach games is boring its defensive and all about stopping the opposition playing as opposed to us imposing our style on the front foot.
I honestly feel ole is bad for our future and bad for our present. This shortish does not represent me as a Manchester United fan I see it as submissive cowardly disjointed. For the first time ever I think our manager has divided our squad into a 1st team and 2nd team.
We will add 2 or 3 but I fear that we won't clear out enough. I have zero faith in ole. But I have faith in the squad and with 2 or 3 quality signings the tools are there to win the league but unless we change our approach and attitude I fear we will just go down the same path we've seen for the last 2 1/ 2 seasons.

29 May 2021 17:24:08
Apreesh Ken!

I appreciate that you feel this way, and i realize that we'll never be able to see eye to eye, but that's what makes things interesting (as long as its civil of course)

I'll respond to a few of your comments nonetheless

Selection: won't be the first time (and won't be the last) that a manager has tried to pull as surprise in a crunch game to mix things up and throw the opposition off! Ole admitted as much in his post match when he said "we put all these match winners in the team to try and win the game"

You feel it was a disjointed performance, and you say its because of this team never having played together! i whole-heartedly disagree, in the last couple of matches he has taken off fred (for the last 20 odd mins) and moved pogs from the left to the middle. The reason we lost was because none of our star players played a good game! It happens! they are only humans and that's why we lost. Its not Ole's fault that pogba went into hiding for most of the game. Scott for crying out loud was taking the game by the scruff of its neck while pogba was giving away possession cheaply.

Subs: We have a very weak squad, i was left scratching my head on who to bring on and it was either bring on james for raw pace in to spaces (which villareal didn't give all game) or bring vdb ( which could have been a toss up as the lad hasn't played nearly enough) or roll the dice on a youngster who is clearly not ready to be thrusted into the final. Mata WILL NOT have done anything much like this entire season. Lovely lad, and a genuinely nice human being but not a match winner anymore. People yammering about changing shape, still whine because he brought on fred to try to revert back to the main shape and try and nick a goal!

Faith: You and few others here have constantly called Ole names like gutless, pathetic excuse and plethora of other derogatory terms and that i take issue with! you yourself have stated that u didn't have faith in him since day one or after the first month, although one of his first feats was knocking out psg from the champs league with the biggest turn around record or something like that.

You have also said that Ole couldn't win with man city squad, but when Bruno comes in and he plays like a friggin lion, u still don't cut Ole any slack. If one player could do this, imagine 2 or 3 players like that.

Style of play:
I have seen plenty of slick passing, quick interchanging and hardwork from this team, this Ole's team to have hope that we are building towards something longterm. I remember the parked busses under mourinho and the aimless possession of LVG's team quite vividly. Granted this team hasn't been able to do it ALL THE TIME, but i am not nearly delusional enuff to think that this will happen over night. Last year it was all about semi defeats and how he is a serial semi loser and this year its a different poison.

I very much enjoy watching this team of players working hard and trying to press and i especially enjoy the comraderies that seem to be blossoming and Ole has never said anything or shown in anyway that he doesn't see what's going on. If you take off your hatephones (get it, headphones) then maybe you'll hear it too.

Would a gutless manager get rid of Lukaku? a proven goal scorer and go into the season with rash, martial and james? He clearly wants a fast style of play for which he made a very risky move of letting lukaku go and putting his trust in an 18 year old (Mason), and guess what, them three scored more goals combined than the 3 at liverpool last season. Have you forgotten how the mood around the club was just 3 years ago Who has changed all that? he oversaw a clearout of so much deadwood and there is still a lot to clear off as we can clearly see! Your Elite coaches got you players like rojo and schweinstiger and schniderlin and blah blah blah and football was rubbish and the atmosphere was so poisonous.

I feel bad that you feel Ole is bad for our future, and I feel that Ole is the best chance we have of winning trophies in the near future consistently and not a stopgap solution to just keep us relevant by winning us one or two here and there and leaving us worst off.

I also feel bad that i can't change your opinion about him, no matter what i say, but I do have a humble request to please treat him with a lil more respect. don't get me wrong, i don't want you to wax lyrical about him and join me and sing kumbaya, but if you could not resort to name calling because regardless of who is right or wrong, he is responsible for one of our most cherished memories of being a united fan.

P. S dude i feel bad about the "inconvincible" joke in that other post. You see, i am a biiiiiiiig comicbook movies geek and i thought i am making a rather clever joke (which it wasnt i guess - back to the drawing board)

29 May 2021 18:15:25
No apology required mate.
There is only one person who can change my opinion and that's ole himself.
I see absolutely nothing of what you see. Its the worst football since dave sexton in the late 70s. Gutless cowardly and not in keeping with the traditions of the club imo.
I don't think getting shut of lukaku in favour of martial was a smart move in fact one of his dumbest.
I do think he is a joke of a manager. Bruno has kept him in a job imo. He is negative and exudes negativity every time I see him.
Yes he did a goal I was there. He was a good squad player here for many years he gave us all some happy memories as a player but as a manager he gives me nightmares. Yes I think he is bad for our future but only time will tell.
You earn respect as a manager he has not earn mine.
You are confidant that this time next year you will be proven right and that your patience will bare fruit. That's completely your perogative and i don't agree.
I'll call for his sacking until he convices me otherwise.
He is no more to me than a transient employee of the club and not a very good one.

29 May 2021 18:32:59
cheers ken!

I guess time will tell, or maybe it wont. Either way, i really enjoy debating with you good sir!

29 May 2021 19:13:30
Likewise pal.

29 May 2021 19:17:31
Emery made the subs early and their team kept up the energy levels.

Ole on the other hand had some kind of brain fart that he made the sub in about 100th minute.
'Europa allows 5 subs'.
Rashy was having a terrible game. However he again went with favourism and hooked of Greenwood.

Terrible in-game management.
He just can't make those crucial decisions to outwit the opposition managers and key junctures.

27 May 2021 12:15:43
Can someone explain to me why ole took off greenwood who looked a threat far more than rashford and bought on Fred. Fred.

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27 May 2021 12:28:55
He has his clear favourites Leahy. For someone who made a career coming off the bench, you'd have thought he'd have understood the importance of using squad players.

27 May 2021 10:17:51
Like all United fans I find myself feeling deflated and pretty sorrowful this morning after last night. Losing in a final is always the bitterest of pills to swallow, its normal and commonplace to try and dissect the performance, as if the entire club's issues can be explained in a one-off game. It is that need to try and get something out of the game. The thought that even in defeat we can take something, like a newfound truth from the game so that it was not all in vain. The idea that we learned something we didn't know before and are now somehow in a better place despite the defeat.

The reality with our club is that we didn't learn anything new last night, everything we have known about our club was laid bare and we came up short.

We are terrible at defending set-pieces, the most frustrating thing about that is that it conceding a set-piece is less about the quality of your defender's skills and more about organisation and concentration. Last night this was the case, Shaw switched off for a second and lost his man, Lindelof may have been able to fight better for the ball, was it communicated to him that Moreno was behind him?
I also have minor questions about the keeper in that goal. The ball was played into that dangerous zone where keepers can be caught with indecision over whether to come out or stay put. Personally, I prefer a more proactive keeper who'll come out and if not win the ball at the very least they will have closed down the shot making it much harder to squeeze past and into the net. Although I agree it might be harsh to blame the keeper in that situation.

The other big issue this team has was obvious and we have seen it time and time again this year and last. When a team sits deep and stays compact, we lack the players with the speed of thought, skill and ability to unlock them. For probably 100 of the 120 minutes played last night Villareal had 11 men behind the ball, for the other 20 minutes they still had 10 behind the ball. Cavani made clever runs, he found space and he dragged players out of position, what we lacked was a player able to find the right pass at the right time when he made those movements. Harry Kane won't help this side and wouldn't have made any difference to last nights result.

The other big issue is simply squad depth, or the lack of quality in depth we have. On the bench we had Donny who could have come on, a player with 1 goal and 1 assist this season, a player who is averaging 0.3 key passes per game this season. Would he have found that goal? Unlikely. Maybe we could have tried Mata, but bar scoring the penalty against Wolves he was total anonymous and had no impact. This season he got a goal and an assist against Brighton in the league cup back in August, assists against West Ham and Newcastle in the league, a goal against Luton and he scored the pen vs Wolves. 3 goals and 3 assists mostly against weaker opposition. I love Mata but he isn't at the level we need in a big game anymore. Dan James was the most viable attacking change we could make. He has 4 goals and 2 assists for us in around 1400 minutes of football. However, most don't feel he has the quality we need and if we are honest his style entirely relies on space in behind, something Villareal never gave us last night. That leaves Amad, who has played 260 minutes for us.

We talk about United like it's a big club and that's what we have on the bench in a European final to change things up. A player who clearly doesn't fit in, a player past his best, a player who universally is agreed isn't good enough and a kid with a few minutes under his belt. That's not a big club bench, that's a bad joke, and is probably a big reason why we were playing in the Europa league final and not the champions league final.

We wanted an attacking line up, we didn't want to see McFred. We got the most attacking line up we could name. Maybe that was because Fred wasn't fit to start, maybe it was the plan all along. I guess we'll never know.

Some players showed the right mentality to compete at this level, some showed a lack of quality at this level and some just had an off night.

I thought McTominay was one of our best players, the way he drived the ball forward to break the lines and create something was behind many of our best attacking moments. Greenwood stepped up and was alive to chances and trying to force the issue. Cavani showed his class. Shaw was at his best going forward and probably our most creative player on the night. I even though AWB showed glimpses of attacking ability, putting in a few dangerous crosses.
Pogba worked harder than I have ever seen him work, I wish he would try that hard in every game and not just in cup finals. Although he lacked quality when he needed it going forward.

Bruno was crowded out, its becoming an easy tactic to blunt United, mark Bruno out of the game and United hardly create any chances. This is why I feel a creative RW is an important signing this summer. Someone to carry the creative burden.

Rashford tried hard but struggled, tasked with dribbling through 3 or 4 players to create half a chance. Although it was his shot that rebounded for Cavani to tap home the equaliser. I massively disagree though with what some people are saying about him. Not even a Sunday League player? Have a word. I respect everyone's opinion but its hard to take it seriously when people say stuff like that. Rashford has had a tough 3-4 months, he looks burned out and has apparently been playing through injury. Rashford has 30 goals and assists for us this season, in a season he has played poorly in for several months and while carrying an injury. Only Bruno has contributed more than Rashford, yet if you take away the penalties both have score then Bruno has contributed one goal involvement more than Rashford this season. So, either we are massively overhyping Bruno or underappreciating Rashford. Every team in the league would take Rashford in a heartbeat. He doesn't get a 'free pass' for his charitable work or because he is a youth player. He gets respect because he is one of our best players.

The only real mistake I could see last night was not bringing on Henderson for DDG with a shootout looming. I said in the chat during extra time that we can't rely on DDG in a shootout. He has saved 11 of the 64 penalties he has faced, he hasn't saved one since 2016. He has only ever saved 5 for us in his entire 9-year United career. Henderson was 19 years old last time DDG saved a penalty for United. In the time Since Henderson has saved 6 and has saved 8 of the 18 he has faced in senior football.

I think saving penalties is a skill held mostly by those extroverted keepers, the ones with a big personality who can syke out the opposition and make them second guess themselves. For all DDG's quality he doesn't possess that personality. He is polite, placid, nice guy. No one fears him when taking a penalty against him. Leaving him on was a clear mistake. His penalty was the most pathetic of the night and showed a guy who had no confidence in his ability to score from 12 yards.

Fortunately, I'm off house hunting now so I can't wallow in the defeat, hope you all bounce back from this disappointment soon. Let's hope the owners dig deep and we bring in the right players to take this side forward this summer. Because until they start prioritising the football side of this club, we will be stuck in football purgatory.

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27 May 2021 12:13:19
Do you honestly think the manager looks at the bench like he's the terminator and sees "Donny Van De Beek, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0.3 key passes per game, TERMINATE"

Moneyball doesn't work in football. Your compulsion for stats now is getting tedious. Would Ole have thrown on Macheda with 10 minutes to go in search of a winner? We have young energetic players on the bench and he completely blanked them.

You can say "Mata has done nothing all year" but he has that creative touch that can unlock a team. You have 5 subs and the manager used them to bring on penalty takers.

I wouldn't lay any blame at De Gea for missing a penalty. We had 120 minutes to win a game of football and our manager was happy for it to go to pens. You reap what you sow.

All those words and none aimed at the coach. The coach who has coached this team in 3 seasons. A coach who serves up this dross on a regular basis. The jig is up Shappy. He's taken us as far as he can and that's not nearly far enough.

Good luck with the house hunting.

27 May 2021 09:25:49
Now that the dust has settled and we have yet another "final" defeat under Ole here are some thoughts on that game.

We all know that the Spanish sides usually rely on skills and the tactics to sail through while typical English teams or typical United teams have mostly relied on brute force or speed to win. Emery outwitted Ole in that respect by playing a very deep line (almost 11 behind the ball at some times) . He didn't leave spaces in behind for our sprinters to run into. By doing that he simply negated the only skill set that injured rashford has. He didn't get the space to run in behind so he resorted back to doing things he does best. Running head on into a wall of defenders and losing the ball. I am sure Edgar Davids played with glasses so can rashford if he has trouble seeing what everyone else is able to.

Ole probably needs a bigger pair of glasses if he couldn't see that either. He persisted with Rashford when infact he wasnt required on the field. Villareal didn't want to come out and play and they came to defend and sneak a goal via set pieces which they succeeded. Then they sat back. What use was rashford then? NOTHING. They didn't have pacey players so someone like a Mata or Donny who happen to have a footballing brain could have been brought on to unlock their defence but no. The great one decided to wait and wait and wait. I think he is still waiting.

All season, Bruno has failed in the big games for a simple reason that the opposition focus on keeping him quite and Villareal did the same. How to get out of it? Play your next most influential player further forward and alongside Bruno but no, to keep rashford happy, he shoehorned Pogba in the pivot where he has always been poor. You yourself negated the threat of Pogba by playing him deep.

Then to make matters worse you bring on Fred for Greenwood who looked far more threatening than the waste on the other flank. What does Fred offer? Will he score a goal when you are looking to win a game? What worse could Donny or Mata would have done. Even Amad for that matter.

You have Cavani as your CF, a player who thrives on service/ crosses in the box. Neither Shaw or AWB put one good one in the box. AWB is atrocious going forwards. Yet Ole didn't do anything to change that.

Not making subs till so long is beyond me when the one making them is himself a perennial sub. Our players looked finished in extra time.

Did you look at Emery shouting out his tactics and plans to his players at the start of extra time? He was so charged up and that energy was flowing through his players. What was Ole doing? Sitting on his easy chair and letting Phelan do the talking. Brilliant.

Man for man we were the better team. The difference was the manager and his tactics. Villareal had Emery who outwitted Ole GONNER Solksjaer and his rendition of Cardiff.

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26 May 2021 23:45:45
Ole lost that game for us. I blame him and no one else. He sat there forgetting he’s a manager, how he didn’t make a substitution for so long I will never understand. Any idiot who comes here with the excuse that he doesn’t trust the bench is delusional. It’s not like Emery had Messi and Neymar to bring on, but he still made 6 subs. He knew he needed fresh legs and it changed the game for the better for Villareal. They had a low block we didn’t need pace, we could’ve done with mata Vdb matic, ANYONE. Ole out. He has no excuse.

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27 May 2021 00:04:48
Needs to be Glazers out before Ole out guys. Doesn't matter who the next manager is, same cycle will repeat until the root of the problem is dealt with.

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27 May 2021 00:55:41
Ever heard of multi tasking?

27 May 2021 01:13:12
Nonsense. The main role of a coach is to improve his players and implement a style/ pattern of play to suit them. If the players are totally incapable of playing the style implemented then you get players who suit it. It's been 3 years Ole's at the club and the club still has no clear Identity. Any club can play counter attacking football.

26 May 2021 23:53:04
I think a few of the semis ole lost were understandable, we lost to teams basically superior, tonight is harder to take we had a far superior team atleast on paper and yet didn't win .
Its close to being right but it isn't right, away form and hitting on the break we have done amazing, home games or tonight when the opposition sit back we find hard.
Away we have a winning formula but against teams sitting back we certainly don't, when we invest this summer I hope the problem is recognised, we need to break defensive teams down, pains me to say it but we'll played villareal.

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