The international break – another one – is here. Let’s get through it together by keeping the mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Ole is not the only problem
First off, let me say well done to City and Pep. It’s hard to say that, but they came in with a clear plan and it worked very well. They’ve beaten better sides than this United but they made it look easy and then kept the ball to make United look even worse when they finally reacted, way too late.
Second, Keane was bang on in his critique, particularly on the players and their lack of fight, lack of quality and lack of passion generally. For such a fixture it was shameful.
Third and related to the above, rather than repeat the same things again, I just thought I’d ask the question the other way around. Assuming that Ole left and either Ten Hag, Zidane or someone else came in, who would they keep?
Varane, Ronaldo, Rashford, Greenwood, Sancho, Bruno and Cavani (while he’s still fit enough to command a place) are all a given.
VdB? He deserves a chance and a start as does Lingard. Both have shown elsewhere what the can do. Shaw has shown his ability but also his limitations this and last season.
Maguire too, I don’t think he’s captaincy material, he doesn’t have the rank in the club to pull it off, but in the right system he can probably work; there’s lots of top slow defenders, and he has his strengths but not as a leader in a struggling side. McTominay has lots of potential but it needs to be honed, directed and polished. AWB? Jury is out IMO. He has potential but he needs a lot of defensive coaching.
DDG? Split call for me. At his age he should be dominating the area. He can pull off the incredible and then cost us with his lack of bossing his area. The second goal a perfect example. No communication, no shouts to clear it, and no claiming it himself. Can you imagine Schmeichel in the same position? It wouldn’t have gone in.
Pogba? If Zidane came in, he’d probably stay and he might be shamed into performing. Anyone else he goes. And he won’t be missed.
The rest? Gone. Fred is not good enough. Bailly just seems to lack the quality. There was no reason for the slice, he was only under self-inflicted pressure and he was slow to close down. Lindelof is too lightweight.
That’s my point. There are a lot of “maybe” players. Some just not good enough, some not trying enough. Some with flaws that are exposed by weaknesses around them. So setting aside Ole, whoever took over that side has a job to do. Some can be sorted by defensive coaching (as that’s where the side is being let down), some needs better or different players. Ideally with some leadership qualities.
Ole and his chosen coaching staff may not be right to manage this side, but the problem is far from just him.
OGS was certainly prodding the karma gods by proclaiming United as the better team in Manchester and, therefore, the world.
United have really only had two successful periods in the post-war period – the 50’s to mid-60’s under Busby and done 90’s to mid-2000’s under Lord Ferg. Different teams, different styles – although one could say both were generally entertaining.
While Busby and Fergie are as different as chalk and cheese – they had something in common and whatever that something is – OGS doesn’t have it.
OGS is the man without a plan. I read all sorts of football literature and I am always amazed by the lengths the good managers go to learn more about the game, define their philosophy, create training programs to support that philosophy and select players that will best for their team.
And then I watch OGS’s United. Initially based on counter-attacking that ‘leveraged’ their inability to retain the ball – well, Mourinho did once say he preferred the opposition to have more of the ball as they would make more mistakes – and lucked out with the club buying Fernandes – who could not only pop a few goals in but create goals for the fast moving forwards.
With Ronaldo on board that is no longer possible. But because he has no plan, he is lurching from system to system. From their abysmal attempt to play a ‘press’ against the master pressers in the EPL, Liverpool, to a 3-5-2 against City. Clearly not coached, clearly not practiced and clear that the players are either incompetent or don’t want to put the new ideas into proper practice. After spending a gazillion pounds OGS doesn’t have players to fit any of these systems – because player acquisition is purely based on buying whomever they can get that seems cool in the moment.
By Saturday afternoon karma came home to roost with a humiliating display against the truly better Manchester club.
But perhaps I was wrong – OGS has built a team that is as entertaining as Busby and Fergie – except it’s only entertaining to the opposition.
Man Utd myth
It’s been a shambolic few weeks as a United fan and I think we have thoroughly deserved the stick and criticism from all corners. The performances have been abject, both from a team and individual perspective.
I’ve been supportive of Ole from the beginning and I do want him to be successful. But I think it’s becoming apparent that he might actually be out of his depth this time. Losing is part and parcel of the game, but the manner in which they’ve done so these few weeks have been galling.
What I don’t understand is the narrative being spewed by ex United players about appointing the right manager. Gary Neville mentioned on Sky last night that Conte was never going to be the right fit for United, but who would be exactly?
What is the right fit anyway? An ex-United player with a good managerial record? Someone who “understands the club culture and ethos”? The more I look at it, the more I realise this is a myth. Sir Alex was a generational genius but this “United way” is a myth perpetuated by ex players who want to/are led to believe United are more of a football club than say, Leicester, Spurs, Chelsea etc.
The fact is, we stopped being a cut above the rest the day Sir Alex stepped away. We’ve been horribly mismanaged, too obsessed with the past, blind to the present and neglecting our future as a football club.
OGS has done a fantastic job in the last 3 years but this is about as far as he can lead us. 4 pts from 18 is an absolute travesty. The fact that the club are still backing Ole is not putting faith in our manager, it’s gross neglect from the board & a complete & utter failure to react appropriately to incompetency.
The only United way I see now is an endless, tedious cycle of false hope followed by disappointment.
P.S. regardless, Ole will and should remain a United legend for his contributions on the pitch. Let’s not forget that.
Was just reflecting that MUFC fan purgatorial (or hellish) experience has just transcended deja vu’ian to …. Prometheus’ian… Or Groundhog Day’ian…
No matter car crash, suicide attempts, tire fires… protagonist Bill Murray wakes up at 6am in the exact same bed, cursed to relive the same day over and over in a small town. Where he was sent as a journo to cover the momentous event of … whether the groundhog would see its shadow and winter would be extended for another 6 weeks.
Bill’s an egocentric selfish jerk and is only able to break the curse after:
a. Redeeming himself by being an other-centered townsperson who catches a person falling from a tree and Heimlich Maneuvering an elderly gentleman … and learning to be a jazz pianist to boot
b. Treating his love interest, fellow journo Andie McDowell, in a gentlemanly fashion, with respect
c. Declaring that the little town was actually very beautiful instead of a little dump
No matter 2-0 or 5-0 tonkings AT HOME, or Ole’s responsibility for Man Utd’s 21% of home losses (or various other damning stats)… Man U fans/ players / Ole / board wake up at 6am the next day with Ole still in charge.
What needs to be done to end the curse? Is it by reverting from Ed Woddy to a know-something football DoF? A Fergie-like working class coach (oops er Gollum / Moyes)? A non-Fergie-like non-working class coach (a European?) For the Glazers to pay down their debt or to sell up? To obtain the horcrux / compromising pictures or info that Ole has of Ed Woody or the Glazers? …
Answers on a postcard, addressed to Man Utd FO. Or maybe not, they aren’t answering any fan mails – they haven’t since the Glazers’ takeover.
(Just watch, Ole will outlast us all… past climate destruction and nuclear armageddon lol)
Ten Hag won’t touch United
Told ya, dumpsterfire.
Any up and coming coach wouldn’t touch the Man Utd position with a ten foot pole.
You know, I seem to remember a MUFC manager causing something of a furore having had the sheer nerve and unspeakable audacity, after another Manchester Derby that they lost 2-0, to state that City were at a level that United should aspire to (or words to that effect).
Well, he was clearly an idiot, wasn’t he? Good job the club binned him after eight months because it was plainly obvious he wouldn’t achieve anything given longer than that.
Wonder what he’s up to these days? What’s that?
On a serious note, and from somebody watching City from 1972, that was easily the most insipid and shallow performance from a Man Utd team that I can remember. Not surprised, just embarrassed for United fans. They deserve better.
Mark (Good on Paul Murphy. Now looking forward to Badwolf’s apology to Winty). MCFC.
Questions for Ole
Since its all just a sh*t show at utd these days here are a few shit show questions that some journalists should put up to ole. Would love to hear his answers.
1) Was there an actual plan of how this team would set up and play before Ronaldo signed? If so what was it? and maybe grow a pair and actually try it
2) Did you ever watch Jadon Sancho play for Dortmund? Are you aware that his best performances have been from the right? did you not sign him to strengthen the right wing and provide assists from there ?
3) Does Fred ever win the ball in the training? or is he used as a training cone for the other players to beat? cause if so he’s doing great with your instructions.
4) Did Van De Beek sleep with your daughter?
5) Have you tried to instill some discipline in Pogba’s game? or do you just think it’s best to let him get on with his own shit show?
6) Have you put Wan-Bissaka through basic training for crossing?
7) What kind of instructions do you give the defenders? stand off and wait till the opposition passes it out?
8) Is there a plan for greenwood’s development?
9) are you aware that Cavani and Ronaldo are both great at heading the ball into the goal?
10) when you did your coaching badges did you skip all the lessons on in game management?
Just please for the love of god, if you love this club just please please please resign already.
KC (hiding from shame)
Given the relative valley we find ourselves in following the derby drubbing at the hands of Citeh, the general consensus seems to be that Ole must go. As long as he’s on the sidelines, I’ll continue to back him and hope for the best. However, if I were making the decisions at OT, I’d probably cut him loose. But that’s not really the point of this email. The will he, won’t he is incredibly tiresome. The point of this mail is who should replace him should he go.
We’ve tried a fair few styles since SAF left near a decade ago. In Moyes, we had a premier league proven manager who was ready to make the jump from good to great (absolutely no disrespect meant to Everton). In LvG, we had the stern, foreign, tactical idealist who held his tactics is such high regard that he would bore the masses with an avant garde display just to prove a point. In Mourinho, we had the opposite – a supposed pragmatist, willing to do whatever it takes to win silverware, which he did. Except the football was torrid and the dressing room a mess. Then we have OGS, who’s tactics are hit or miss (or miss and hit?) but the players seem to like him. And he understands the club and what it all means.
But it all seems to have run it’s course and lost it’s luster. Time for a change. A freshening of sorts. There are a few ways to go with the inevitable hire. The club clearly don’t want to go the pragmatist route again, or else they would have hired Conte. So that really leaves the feel-good (Zidane), the tactical idealist (Ten Haag) or the premier league proven. I don’t think Zidane wants it. Can’t blame him tbh. I think Ten Haag is a massive, massive gamble to be frank. He’s clearly got pedigree but making the jump from Dutch giant Ajax to aforementioned Premier League dumpster fire Manchester United seems like quite the leap. So that leaves the premier league proven quantity. The general consensus seems to be Brenda, which I would be perfectly fine with for the record. However I think the profile we’re looking for is a manager who has his team firing on all cylinders, punching above their weight. Someone who is tactically flexible, capable of sending a team out to win 1-0 or 3-2 if they ship a few goals. Someone who inspires his troops and his players look like they want to play for him. The coach who currently fits that bill is :::checks notes::: David Moyes. I don’t know what that says about me or Manchester United. I’m as lost as anyone.
Seth (Tongue firmly in cheek, Birmingham AL USA)
Sympathy for Man Utd’s players
Watching Aaron Wan-Bissaka display shocking positional awareness to step up at the wrong time in the 1st half made me think about the type of defender he was at Crystal Palace.
Professionally he must be aware that his performances are substandard. He’s closer to a £8m defender than £50m.
The only explanation must be that he isn’t getting what he needs from the coaching as he’s obviously not doing it intentionally.
I guess its a bit like joining a company in a high profile role. But realising you don’t have the team to support you, no funding for development or even to stay up to speed but the expectation to continue to deliver as before. It feels like being setup to fail.
Basically, I sympathise with AWB, Maguire and all the other underperforming ManU stars. It must be galling to know you’re doing badly but not have the right support to improve.
Antonio Conte’s Spurs have as many clean sheets as United have in the league this season.
Would Norwich take Ole?
A genuine question for the Norwich supporters out there.
If Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer today, would you want him to replace Farke as your new manager?
Just for once, could Jurgen Klopp behave gracefully in defeat? I get he hasn’t had much practice, but it’s just so very, very predictable each time they drop points. Yes Cresswell’s tackle was bad, but Salah’s patented ‘shot by sniper’ dive for Liverpool’s first should have been a yellow card and not a free kick.
Managers behaving like this simply adds fire to the vitriol directed at referees, Klopp needs to take his share of the blame as he is a leading culprit. I won’t hold by breath waiting for him to take responsibility though. Nor for the media to call him out on it
Ahh Liverpool don’t be so rubbish on Sunday night please. Alisson has generally been outstanding so it was a shame that he might have been out on the cans in London last night because today he looked wretched. Had a real Calamity James feel about the place. Ox looked pretty sketchy too. I am not sure he’s done anything to justify his continued inclusion but maybe all the injuries means he gets a free run of games for a while longer.
Speaking of blasts from the past that had a real Benitez era feel to it. We came to West Ham the better team but got our bottoms served up to us in a game we probably ought to have won. This team has already delivered on all fronts so at least we won’t be left with a, “What if,” feeling about them if this season doesn’t unravel in quite the way we hoped.
All that said, I would like to see VARs report on how he decided the Cresswell challenge on Henderson wasn’t a red card. It was dangerously high, he came over the ball which suggests he was out of control and it was reckless. Wilshere in comms demonstrated how brain dead he is because his explanation for why it wasn’t a red card was, “he just wants to let them know they’re in for a game”….by ending Henderson’s career by breaking his leg? Is that really the best quality person Sky Sports can find to talk about football?
Another wasted opportunity. Another moment to wonder if Van Dijk has lost a yard of pace and another moment to wonder what’s going wrong with Liverpool defensively in second halves. Against Brighton, Brentford and West Ham we were awful in the second halves and today got fully punished for it. Maybe this has been coming for a few weeks.
I suspect there will be a fair fee mails talking about Trent’s free kick and using it to justify why he should be starting for England. Before anyone bangs that drum too hard, please have a look at him on West Ham’s second and third goals and reconsider.
I don’t often think that a manager deserves to be sacked for poor form on the field. If Norwich City were a company in the real world, Daniel Farke would have had several opportunities to discuss his role in the team’s performances and ask his superiors for structural support or changes to get better results.
Despite the noise being made by pundits on social media about how harsh it was to sack Farke after a win, the chances are the decision was made beforehand. Neil Warnock, in true style, told Radio 5 Live on Saturday that he had been informed he was leaving the club by mutual consent in the morning, but would still have to take charge of the team in the afternoon. In most circumstances a point away at WBA is a good result, but it had no effect on the Middlesbrough directors’ decision.
Making a bold decision based on overall form and not being swayed by an individual result does avoid the Mark Hughes cycle. At Stoke City, he had a phase of winning 12 games in 12 months. Each seemed to arrive just at the point when a winless run threatened his job safety, so would ease a bit of pressure, before another poor run ramped it up again, and the pattern repeated. This eventually proved not quite enough to stay in the Premier League; though Hughes had left before relegation was confirmed, he still shared some of the responsibility, along with a club unprepared to make a bold decision.
Hats off to the Hammers
That game could’ve gone in any direction.
At 0-0 Liverpool were dominating (as much as one can in the opening 3 minutes).
at 1-0 West Ham did what any number of teams have previously done when going 1-0 up, 11 men behind the ball. Blue print from our opponents last year.
at 1-1 it was anyone’s game. Makes you wonder what the game plan was for West Ham at 0-0 had it stayed like that a little longer.
At 3-1 I thought a 4-1 was incoming.
at 3-2 i honestly thought a draw would have been a fair result.
On the Day, West Ham deserved the 3 points, but on any other day, Liverpool win that. A poor game by Alisson*’s standards (shame really…3 shots on target should never result in 3 goals) and 2 glorious chances by Mane.
Interesting turn of events. DId not think West Ham would be our business this year but here we are. Suddenly Arsenal with a Goal Difference 20 less than us are creeping up. Football eh?
Nik (this international break is going to suck), Munich
It was inevitable but hurts it had to happen.
Thanks for giving us our dignity back.
Thanks for the promotion.
Thanks for keeping us here.
Thanks for your grace and dignity.
Thanks for being one of our own.
Best of luck in the future Deano.
That’s a STONEWALL penalty for Everton that somehow, even after seeing what everyone else saw, the referee said that Lloris touched the ball. He NEVER touched the ball. He took out Richarlison. If you can’t even get it right with VAR, what’s the damn point?
TX Bill (bin it, just bin it. It’s not making any positive difference) EFC
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