Ralf Rangnick is a ‘lame duck’ on a shocking night for Man Utd, while the Red Devils need to go down the Arsenal route in the transfer market.
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So how do you fix it…
So the watching world knows United are in freefall. This summer out go Pogba, Cavani, Mata, Lingard, matic at least. Hopefully a few others – Dalot, Bailly, Jones, Rashford, Martial. But most fans will see the same premier league games United scouts do and most will have a pretty good knowledge of world football. So who the hell do you suggest United sign??
Midfield needs massive repair – Rice, Phillips, Bellingham – they’re not gonna sign in this lifetime. We need a 20+ striker – Kane, Lewondowski forget it.
United now are shopping in the mid tier bracket – Ward Prowse, Calvert Lewin, Lamptey, Neves etc. All reasonable players but top 4 players??
So I’m keen to hear who United should be shopping for. I’ve said it before but go down the Arsenal route, under 23’s, second jobbers with a season or two’s experience and give the youth team a chance – if nothing else they’ll have desire and passion.
I’ve got them manager blues again
Here’s a conundrum. If the problem is the players, rather than the manager, how is it that Solskjaer (by all accounts a man way beyond his depth) took the same set of players to 2nd position in the league as recently as last year? Actually, it was the same squad of players minus Varane, Sancho, and Ronaldo, which is a greater achievement. Whisper it softly, but these players aren’t anywhere as bad as they’re being made out to be.
Watching United’s defence leave Pukki and co in acres of space in the penalty box in the last game against Norwich should have left nobody in any doubt about the potential scoreline of yesterday’s game. Defenders can look much worse than they are when the collective is uncoordinated or when even one player doesn’t do his job. And on current evidence, it doesn’t look like there is any defensive coaching. For all the talk about gegenpressing, I’ve not seen any evidence that Rangnick’s United have any clarity about what to do when out of possession, or whom to mark.
While he gets kudos for getting Sancho into form, Rangnick has to take the brickbats for shredding Rashford’s confidence and somehow converting him into a player that would struggle in League 1. And for turning Fernandes into a headless chicken running around in an apoplectic frenzy. Most of the time, the attackers are making it up as they go, with zero signs of any kind of practiced coordination, the very thing that both City and Liverpool currently excel at.
But the real problem is the midfield. The absence of the much maligned McFred shows up most glaringly in these games. For all the deserved praise being showered on Thiago, here’s a 31 year old who is not the most quick or athletic of players, producing a Pirlo like performance – would you not as an opposing coach stick a midfielder on Thiago with instructions to not give him the time to play his passes? Thiago was playing like a kid in a park, in no small part because he was given most of the park to play in!
It’s one thing to know what needs to be done, and it’s another thing altogether to be able to get it done. Rangnick may well have the mind of a good manager, but I wonder if he has the heart. The body language of much of the team feels like they’ve given up on Rangnick. The high number of injuries suggests one of two things – either the fitness levels have dropped, or that the players are using minor niggles as reasons to stay away from the sh*tshow that is the team currently. It’s worth noting that United have not been inconsistent – we have been uniformly insipid for the past 5 months.
Despite all the talk about significant clear-outs under the incoming Ten Hag, I’m willing to bet that a majority of these players will become twice the players they are now with the right coach. Yes, we’ll lose some of the ageing players – notably Matic, Cavani, and possibly Ronaldo, but with tactical clarity and discipline, this squad with minor changes can stroll into the Champions League spots. In fact announcing the new manager could be the best thing that the club could do right now, to give players something tangible to play for.
The end of the season can’t come soon enough!
Ved Sen (MUFC)
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Takes more than Ralf to wreck It
Self-praise is no praise, but I do feel like my thoughts on Ralf are vindicated by what happened last night. He has proven utterly unable to change the mood music and performances at Man U, and basically surrendered when he handed in the team-sheet at Anfield. He’s not a top coach – the players seem to ignore him – he’s a lame duck – all too predictable.
But – and it’s a big but – the problems at the club go way beyond Ralf. He is at least being honest in his assessments of the quality and effort being produced by the dumpster-fire squad he finds himself … maybe not overseeing, but certainly doing media duties for. Meanwhile the Woodward-Arnold axis continues to spin United into a place where their huge resources are actually, incredibly, part of the problem. Now we have months of tea-leaf reading about ten Hag to come, can he make the difference, is he the saviour, will he be backed, does he want Ronaldo… rinse and repeat. Can’t see anything changing there while the people most responsible for creating the current situation (including those on the technical / coaching staff) are left in place.
PS – Sam’s letter – crikey, 39 is a bit young for a full-blown mid-life crisis, isn’t it??
Spoilt Liverpool fan
I dunno, maybe it was the Connemara single malt dulling my senses, but I didn’t think that we got out of second gear, really. As lovely as it was to tonk United for the second time this season (and beat them on aggregate by the highest total since the big bang), I found myself mildly disappointed that we didn’t crank it up a little and utterly humiliate them.
Which is, of course, an indication of how huge the gulf is between the teams.
What a time to be a Liverpool fan, and of course, what a time to be a United fan too.
Mat (Obviously happy, and drinking it all in because we won’t see a season quite like this one again, no matter what the next 9/10 games bring)
Man Utd were disgraceful
It’s no easy feat beating this Liverpool side, but watch some of the lesser teams against them. The may lose their games, but you can be assured that they give their all. Did you see any of that with United? This seemed like a playground exercise for Liverpool. There was no game plan from United. I honestly think that the Liverpool players must have felt sad, and limited themselves to just 4 goals to avoid embarrassing this United side.
I have been ridiculed for my Maguire criticism, and often labelled as not having footballing intellect, but please prove me wrong. Just how is he an United player, is beyond me, never mind being captain? Can you imagine this lot on an actual battlefield? They will hide underneath the dead, pretending to be dead themselves. That is the level of cowardice I’ve witnessed.
Hans Athmaram, upset United supporter
Obviously I’d rather not dwell on another embarrassing performance too deeply but suffice to say the team is broken in every sense of the word. I’m almost sure Mr Ten Hag will be well aware of the problems and deficiencies that need addressing and like most United fans will not have been surprised at last nights performance. It may however have reaffirmed upon him the scale of the project he is undertaking.
Lets not kid ourselves, United need Ten Hag more than he needs them. His reputation has been on an upward trajectory for years and his stock is high. It wouldn’t have surprised to see him linked with Bayern, Madrid, City etc if said jobs were available. Taking the United job is most definitely a gamble on his part, no manager since Fergie has come away from our club with their reputation enhanced and its taken years for Moyes to restore his to pre-United levels. For Erik to take on this basket case tells us a few things.
Firstly United still have pull despite years of ineptitude. The history of the club and prestige it still holds is an attractive proposition. Couple this with the prospect of restoring United to their former glory and I can understand why he’d take on the challenge. Secondly he must really be up for that challenge. Like rescuing a dog with severe behavioural issues you have to be assured of you own ability to handle the problems and be prepared to tackle them head on all the while knowing this is going to be really hard work. Thirdly, he must have received iron clad bolt and brace assurances of his autonomy and authority as manager. I don’t see anyway he wades into this mess without having almost total control. The football must take absolute precedence over commercial interests and he’d be stupid not to have that guaranteed somehow.
The first and most important task will be attitude and application. It didn’t take much for United to get at Liverpool yesterday. That little spell at the beginning of the second half where just more urgency and effort saw United on top for about 10 minutes is a glimmer of hope. It may be the hardest task he faces but instilling confidence and an ethic of hard graft within the team would be the biggest step toward a team we can again be proud of.
Liverpool vs Man Utd: Then and Now
Growing up as a Liverpool fan in the early 2000s was tough but it was brutal when we faced SAF’s ManU. The gangs used to meet for lunch breaks in the school and us Liverpool bunch were used to the boyish jibes and insults by the opposing lot and as kids we took it far too personally. The hatred for ManU grew as every season passed when Anfield was called by some as ‘the second home’ of SAF’s ManU (Can’t remember if that claim is true, what I do remember is when Babel hit the winner against a black-kit ManU side).
This gang grew up and the tables have turned. The Liverpool boys were yearning for the day when those smug devils would be at the feet of the liver-bird. Now, that we have it, two things have come into play:
– Carefree children have become compassionate adults
– ManU have become so sh*t that the expectations of ‘beating them’ have changed to ‘Hammering them by 4 or 5’
How am I to enjoy rubbing it in to the ManU lot where they themselves watch the game with “I hope it’s not more than 5”.
This is a world where the ManU lot operate in apathy and the Liverpool lot (atleast in a small part of Mumbai) operate in empathy for the same feckers who tormented us as children.
Why does one end up becoming the bigger man, when he doesn’t want to!
Mihir Nair. Mumbai. LFC. (Eating my words suggesting that Salah needed rest, Thank the devils to give him a good training session)
Watching the match last night and seeing Rashford again looking the shadow of his former self just made me sad, well not that sad.
The commentator mentioned he’d played over 300 times for Manchester United now which amazed me. Then I realised he’s the epitome of Uniteds current malaise, ran into the ground through too many games at a young age, having to quickly recover or come back too soon from injuries as in effect he was Uniteds big hope of overturning their failing fortunes. If he’d came through 10/15 years ago Ferguson could’ve ensured he was brought in slowly and being able to acclimatise whilst playing next to some quality footballers. But by the time Rashford did come through they’d all left/got too old.
Reminds me sadly of the Liverpool careers of Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen who like Rashford broke through at a young age and both felt the burgeoning weight of being the clubs route out of the darkness, before minutes and accumulated injuries meant neither fully fulfilled that early promise.
You see it now at Liverpool Harvey Elliot seemed vital early in the season but since his return his minutes have been managed, no doubt to ensure he’s ready for next season. If Liverpool were a basket case club I’ve no doubt he’d have been playing almost every game since his return.
This team’s nadir?
Okay where to begin? I can understand being beaten by the better side, this happens in football, I’m okay when my team gives it’s all but falls short due to being not as good as the opponent, what I can’t forgive is 11 overpaid tarts moping around the pitch against your biggest rivals looking like they would rather be anywhere else but there.
Throughout my time supporting United I have watched the good the bad and some really ugly teams but they have always given everything for the shirt, limited players like Graham Hogg, Arthur Graham, Ashley Grimes and John O’Shea have always to a man left it all on the pitch and you can as a supporter appreciate that, yes it’s disappointing getting beat but the team tried it’s best but came up short, even under Sexton we never dialed in a performance like last night, each and everyone can bugger off from the club if they can’t be arsed putting a shift in, play a team of kids who at least care, the fans would be behind them.
I don’t envy Ten Hag the job he has to do if he is indeed our next manager, in saying that if he watched last night’s performance he may be on the phone pleading temporary insanity. Let’s hope that last night was this teams nadir and the penny drops, not holding my breath though.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
I have been attached to United since around 1965, when I first heard of, and then watched George Best. I went to Manchester University to watch the team in 76/77. I lived through the second division, the years of playing second fiddle to Liverpool, and the frustration of being a nearly team. In ’77 we gloried in stopping Liverpool from doing the Treble. Even when we were a terrible team, we knew that we would always, but always, give them a really rough ride, often beating them when they were obviously a better team. It mattered to the players. It was Liverpool. Beating or drawing with them was always a victory. It was why Sir Alex wanted to knock them off their perch, and why players like Gary Neville were so fired up when on the pitch at Anfield or Old Trafford.
Last night they were beyond being shameful.
They were dreadful.
And I didn’t care.
And that is what will force change because when people stop caring they stop spending, they stop seeing the sponsors’ brands as they stop watching, and they stop paying for TV channels and strips.
The whole shebang is on rocky ground. The accountant who replaced Woodward will not see it, he’s an accountant, and sure they can sell for a whole pile, but the trust, the faith, the emotional engagement is fast failing.
The leadership is not there. The CEO is the wrong man. The owners are the wrong owners (they literally do not care about any results other than financial.)
It is a sad end to 57 years.
Do all the players need to go?
Oh my… that wasn’t pretty last night.
There was some mitigation – United were missing five players you may have expected to start last night, plus probably their first choice back up striker – shove all that into an unfamiliar formation (seriously Ralph, if the formation requires you to pick a player for his second start in like four years, it’s not the right formation) against this Liverpool side and a bad result was always likely.
But it was still pretty pathetic. The lack of effort and pride was just astonishing. Since Solsjaer left I’ve viewed the season as a bit of a write off, with Rangnick’s tenure more an extended appraisal of the squad by a very acomplished “big picture” director of football. The truly worrying thing is not that United loss (which was expected), or that they lost comfortably (which was not unexpected) but that they just didn’t seem to give a damn – they are group of players who get wildly overpaid versus their quality, and they look happy to embarrass themselves publicly once a week knowing they’ll never see as big a payday again.
When reports say Ten Hag views it as a five year project, presumably that’s because he, and Rangnick, think nearly all of the players need to go – it’s dire!
Ten Hag, or whoever comes in (if I were him, I’d be reconsidering) needs to swipe the board clean with this team and start again – I hope they let him.
The good news is that a lot of very high salary players will be leaving at the end of the season. Hopefully that gives the club the budget to start acquiring younger, hungry players to kick start a pretty painful rebuild…
No point fielding a team without a midfield
United haven’t bought a single top class midfielder in the last ten years and we keep dissecting why we aren’t up to scratch against teams whose entire systems are based on players dependant on controlling matches in the middle of the park.
To pit the likes of an aging Matic and mediocre Lingaard against a squad such as Liverpool’s is akin to committing suicide and every time I see a transfer window wherein the Manager at that time says “we don’t need any more players” makes me want to laugh / cry.
To play three slow/lumbering defenders and not Bailly clearly points to the fact that we have not had coaches who can make tough choices based on playing style. De Gea over Henderson is another clear case of the Manager not truly believing in the concept everyone thought he will try and implement.
United have extremely exciting talent up top and a reasonable defense if utilised properly. Problem is, an inflated squad of has-beens and quality attackers are creating an illusion that everything is lost, which is clearly not true. A genuine Manager with a plan can rectify things within two transfer windows. Hoping Ten Haag is that person.
Few points from yesterday…
1. Club captain Harry Maguire gave an interview before the game, to summarise, I’m a good player because the last 2 managers have picked me. Heh2. Paul Pogba got injured and somehow the Old Trafford (even though we were Anfield) alcoholics decided that’s something to boo about (these are the same lot who speak about backing players and the manager). And you wonder why he’s got a poor attitude and his agent is speaking out against the club?
3. Can’t convince me Harry Maguire is the worst signing in Premier League history and also the worst captain in Man Utd history. We have his family on twitter calling fans c*nts and his agency posting clips of him making a good pass. Overprotected by the fanbase and the club for having a certain type of passport
4. Hannibal came on and he’s being praised by fans for fouling and almost getting a red card. Apparently he was showing some “spirit” and “pride”. The standards have never been any lower. Praised for being foolish.
Players that need to be sold in the summer: Henderson, Wan Bisakka, Maguire, Bailly, Fred, McTominay, Rashford, Elanga (not good enough),
Already leaving: Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Matic, Cavani, maybe Ronaldo as he’s one of the few who has standards
I thought a few weeks ago, and Jamie Carragher mentioned it last night, , it felt like Liverpool were having a bit of a dip. For us that meant we were taking the lead, by a couple of goals, and then switching off and dialling down the intensity. This resulted in performances like the defeat to Inter Milan at Anfield and the draw last week with Benfica, as well as a couple of league games where the performance dropped abit. Luckily, they were games that didn’t matter too much, but the concentration and intensity dropped considerably so felt like it was only a matter of time before it bit us in a game where it did damage our ambitions. Now though, the energy seems to be back for the final run in.
For me that was the main thing I took from last night. When we started slowly in the second half and allowed Utd a little foothold, unlike in recent weeks, we were quickly able to re-assert control of the game. In recent weeks we have struggled to do this. Makes me a little more confident that we will add another trophy this season at least, and not end up channelling our inner Bayer Leverkusen circa 2002.
For Utd, it’s hard to see where they go from here. Ten Hag may be the answer, he has a clear style and Ajax certainly look a good team. I would be slightly concerned that the players Utd are being linked to if he comes in are all either current or ex Ajax players. Seems to be limiting his options.
He also lost the Dutch cup final at the weekend, after taking the lead, so he may well have proved he is a good fit for this current version of Man Utd.
You can’t buy success
There was a bit of debate in the mailbox yesterday about Liverpools spending. I just wanted to pick up on Andy’s point where he said Liverpool have spent heavily and have “bought success” just like anyone else. The first part is true, to a degree. Yes, Liverpool have spent heavily in comparison with the majority of the clubs in the league. But not compared with other title contenders..
Since the start of Klopp’s time at Liverpool, the Reds are the 6th highest spenders in England. That’s not net spend, that’s gross. They’ve spent £550m, compared to £970m for City, £910 for Chelsea and £830m for Man United. Liverpool have spent less than Arsenal and Everton and only slightly more than Tottenham. (All figures from transfermarkt.co.uk)
Now my point isn’t to try and make out that Liverpool are some sort of paupers. They’ve paid some big fees and they have a significant spend on wages. But it is incredibly impressive that Liverpool have been able to build such a squad, despite spending less than any of their title rivals.
My main point though, is to pick up on Andy’s claim that Liverpool have “bought success”. To “buy success” implies that you are vastly outspending your rivals and that the money is the reason for your success. That isn’t true for Liverpool. To make that claim is to downplay the achievements of Klopp and the entire backroom staff. Liverpool’s success has not come from throwing money around but from buying sensibly and from fantastic coaching.
If you need evidence that you can’t just buy success, look at the match last night. Man United have outspent Liverpool since Klopp’s arrival. Their starting XI cost more. Yet the match played out like a senior squad v under 18s training session, with one team just utterly dominant.
Money matters in the Premier League, and you certainly can’t compete without it. But it’s also no guarantee of success. The two dominant teams in the league have both spent money (although one more than the other) but they are also both brilliantly run clubs, coached by two of the outstanding managers in world football. To say that they have “bought success” is to downplay their achievements and isn’t a fair label.
Mike, LFC, London
The worst fans in the world
Can I just say a word for the Liverpool fans who applauded for Cristiano Ronaldo and his family following their terrible loss last night.
Not a week goes by when we don’t hear how these fans are the worst in the world, the victims, delusional, entitled etc etc.
To me they looked like ordinary decent people reminding us that there are some things in life more important than football, like common decency.
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