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Four games to save their season…
Another United Liverpool email. After a lean start the season where all the big 3 and United were winning, I’m sure you guys are glad to get some clicks into your budget. Maybe they’ll be turkey at Christmas yet – if you can find one!
United Liverpool is still the biggest game in the country. City / United, Chelsea / Liverpool, Liverpool / Everton, United / Arsenal are of course big games but if these games clashed with Liverpool at OT all eyes would be at OT.
As much as united have tried to paint themselves as a plucky underdog, trying to do things the right way in the face of the Russian and Middle eastern oil money – with Ole being a big part of that marketing campaign – this is one of the most expensive teams that have ever existed. Whilst Barca have spent their way into near collapse, Man United have barely broken sweat with their spending and have had fans literally rioting to demand that they spend more money.
What is truly great about this result, is that United fans thought that they were nearly there. One last Ronaldo, Sancho and Varane shaped £200m including wages shaped push and this league was theirs. Of course it was nonsense. They were 15 points off the 96 points needed to win a competitive premier league. What has changed for United? Obvious one is the crowds following the pandemic but as we were told it’s the same for everyone. Sure they’ve had an injured centre back but we were told that a squad should be able to loose, ooh I forget, was it 4 or 5 centre backs, and still be able to compete. Perhaps it’s the tweaking of VAR so that there is fewer penalties for accidental hand balls or flopping on the ground with nowhere to go. I was expecting a score draw thanks to a floppy penalty.
As for VAR, I didn’t celebrate Keita’s goal believing Salah to be proven offside. Luckily I did make the same mistake for the others. On the other side of VAR, Ronaldo’s arm pit offside was magnificent. It did get a few other calls wrong though. Ronaldo should have been sent off. Had Salah done the same to a United midfielder, had they played one, United would be livid. Fred continued his strategy of not actually being involved otherwise he’d have been off for kicking Naby in the head. Maguire tripping Jota to deny a very probably goal scoring opportunity. But we needed Maguire on to mark Shaw.
I haven’t forgiven F365 for writing a top strikers listicle that excluded Salah. Salah is simply one of the best players to have ever played. His 10 consecutive games that he has scored in include Chelsea, City, Atletico (A) and United (A). He has now scored more goals than Drogba who was one of the best strikers the league has seen. He has scored more premier league goals this season than Spurs. Not Harry Kane but the whole of Spurs. The goal of the season competition is split into his own personal one and everyone elses.
For all the talk of squad depth, this wasn’t a full strength Liverpool team. There’s a lot of football to played yet but Konate seemed to do well, we aren’t talking about Jones slotting into midfield and Mane was rested.
United have a run of four games now to save their season. I hope they do, the league is better for it and it will keep #OleIn. I will personally be cheering for nil nils against Chelsea and City but a tonking from Watford!
Alex, South London
Man Utd’s coaching black hole
I’m not a Man Utd fan and I’ve watched on with interest as Ole has been showered with praise and been damned over the past year. I have some players in my squad that are big fans (the president too) and I’ve seen them defend him and always redirect their ire at certain players for the bad performances. However after spending over 500m in 3 years and still not building a coherent team it surprises me that they, fans of Utd and the pundits trying to protect their buddy in the hotseat have not figured out the big elephant in the room.
Manchester United have no system of playing, no style of play. None of their signings are made with that in mind, they just look at the shiny toys available and then just go and buy them. You’ll constantly hear how this squad is one of the best in the league, individually or whatever words are used to describe it. Harry Maguire is a prime example of the broken coaching/vision in play at the club. “Oh why does Harry Maguire play so well for England yet look like he’s lost at sea for his club?” It’s simple, Gareth Southgate knows what style of play suits him and Maguire the best – sitting deeper with 2 holding midfielders in front of him regardless of whether its 2 at the back or 3. You look at the signings the club has made and there’s no clear concept. Varane throughout his career has played in teams that play high defensive lines, how is pairing him with a defender who is slow to turn and exposed by pace a coherent match? Look through that entire squad and there are various players who are adept at playing in certain styles or systems but not in all of them as Man Utd somehow seem to be trying to play.
There is no foresight and no strategy from the manager, the coaching staff and the board at that club. They’ve gone out and bought the best pieces from the Empire State Building, The Golden Gate Bridge and the Great Wall of China and tried to make their own world wonder. Whilst the rest of the league knows what wonder they want to make and tries to find the best puzzle pieces to complete it. It is utterly complexing that Mr Neville and his gang of sycophants haven’t realised this. Decide on a way to play, either coach your players to fulfil the tasks required in those roles or sign ones that can do the job instead. We decided at the outset of our first league appearance we would play in a certain way and have a certain system – we’ve had many players come and go during that time, players from different footballing cultures, some adapted, some didn’t and now we are seeing the rewards. If my amateur club that is only 3 years old and trains twice a week can do it, I’m sure Molde’s greatest at one of the biggest teams in the world could do it too.
Ash Asani, Dragoons FC, Krakow (9 wins out of 9!)
Is Ole Gary Neville’s blind spot?
I respect Gary Neville for his technical analysis of games, but his blind loyalty towards Ole is quite pathetic. It is ridiculous to hear him say that as United tried going the route of having world class managers in LVG and Jose and as that didn’t work out, they should stick Ole till end of the season. I have not heard a dumber argument. Just because earlier supposed ’world class’ managers didn’t work, we should be OK to have a clearly incompetent manager manage United till end of the season. To achieve what? We are already 8 points of the top in just 9 games. And then he says Conte is not a good fit for United. What does that even mean? What is the description of a good fit for United? United over their history have had 2 good managers, who won everything. Apart from that they have tried multiple managers who have won nothing. We are in that phase now till we get a serial winner who wins and sticks around. The only common theme across the years have been academy players being in the first team. Apart from that United are not known for a particular playing style, so I don’t get this ‘won’t fit’ argument.
The current hard truth is that if this United team is given to any semi decent manager who can coach the team, the least this team will manage is a title challenge. It is astounding that a club of United’s stature will not hire the best in class in every department and let this rot continue. And arguments from Ole’s ex team mates in the media – Rio, Keane and Neville – go a long way in him keeping his job, by constantly keeping the fan base in check. Why is it OK for them to criticise the players and ask them to be benched or sold, but Not OK for them say the same about the manager, when it clear to the whole world that he is not upto the task.
Gary Neville always has an agenda, his own narrative around that and is becoming more of a rabble rouser these days, when he is speaking anything apart from technical analysis of the games. It was sad to see him blindly defending Ole, when everyone (including Souness) were making very valid claims about Ole. I would rather have a boring pundit like Scholes, who calls spade a spade, rather than Neville who will blindly stick to his narrative and Ole.
Ole is a beaten docket
I’m sorry to have to say it about a nice guy, but the notion that Ole can recover from the 5-0 defeat is fanciful.
The dressing room is lost. That doesn’t have to mean that players are coming out and being critical (although they are), it means that no matter what the manager says, after three years it will no longer have any effect. The performance a week after the defeat by Leicester and the escape against Atalanta demonstrated that it is over. The players could not motivate themselves. I am sure they all went out thinking they were going to give it their all consciously, but we don’t work like that. Our psychology impedes our physical performance. Golf is a great example thinking “don’t chip it into the bunker” results in, chipping it into the bunker.
Alex Ferguson changed the team every three or so years because he knew that certain players were not listening any more, they had heard it all, and even a few would ruin the rest of the team. Ole has players on the pitch who stopped listening months ago, and they may not ever realise it.
Sorry, but it is time to move on and for United to bring in Erik ten Hag. He is the perfect choice.
Losing to any team hurts, but losing to Liverpool is the worst, and there’s no real hiding place for that. Liverpool were by far the better team, crisp passing and movement, aggressive and effective pressing, organised defending and clinical attacking. Man Utd were abject. Obviously I’m still OleOut and the only positive I can take from the game is that I imagine that a few more OleIn people can now see that the emperor is naked.
But the absolute worst thing about the result is not the humiliation of having our pants pulled down at home in front of an international audience and everyone seeing how little we’ve got, but it’s knowing that Ole won’t be sacked, that he’ll choose almost exactly the same side against Spurs and probably City, with McFred at the double pivot and the entire team doing exactly the same shit they did yesterday. We’ll get to 3rd December having been embarrassed by City and Chelsea, probably losing to Villareal and Atalanta (both good teams but both on tiny budgets compared to Man Utd), and I think if we don’t lose against either Arsenal and Spurs, we’ll have fluked the game like we did against West Ham or Atalanta. And still Ole won’t get the sack.
Thank you and goodbye
I am an eternal optimist, I always try to see the best in any situation. Sometimes you have to see the cold hard truth though.
I have praised Ole, he’s done some great things with man United. I’ll always give him credit for making me want to actually watch them again, as opposed to feeling obliged to when they were under Mourinho. He brought team spirit, he cleared deadwood efficiently, he oversaw the management at a time where we recruited well and invested in the team. some players have shone under his reign. I will forever be grateful for all of this.
But his time has come, he reached the peak of his abilities last season. I was happy to have him here at the start of the season, but I caveated that POV with the belief that he could only stay if we made progress. Progress from last season to this, is actually winning something. I no longer feel like we can win anything this season therefore in my mind it’s thank you and goodbye.
I suppose I also have to say well done to the other team – ”Well done”, where’s the mouthwash?
Simon Manchester (This is the closest I will come to an apology for everyone who wanted one from an Ole supporter)
Well, that was so depressing yesterday that I got the laptop out to get a bit of work done in the second half, so at least the time wouldn’t be completely wasted…
I wrote in a few weeks ago saying there was no point replacing Solsjaer just yet. Not because I thought he’d pull a Klopp given time, but because I didn’t (and still don’t) know who is the ideal candidate to make that Guardiola/klopp step up.
My logic was solely that he was ticking along at a level that would do in the circumstances, probably qualify for the Champion’s League and leave the club in a decent position for the next guy to build on…
I loved Solsjaer the player and wanted it to work, but only ever considered “working” for him to be ticking over respectably until the end of a season when he could be shuffled out for a top tier manager.
Sad to say, the wheels have rather come off the wagon – there are plenty of available managers who could do the caretaker job until the end of the season and bail United out – maybe by coaching them how to defend…
Also, apparently Raiola has decided not to engage any further on Pogba’s contract until April. I can see why, after a personal performance like yesterday’s… skyrocketing value. United just need to give up on Pogba and let him go on a free – whatever the reason (and in my opinion it’s more the club’s fault than Pogba’s or his haircuts) it just hadn’t worked out – to give him a massive new deal now is just throwing good money after bad. The massive salary, plus signing-on bonus, plus the Raiola premium… they could probably afford a Tielemans, a Bissouma and a new roof for Old Trafford with money to spare…
Man Utd 0-5 Liverpool
It’s easy to overreact especially .
Even the best teams do collectively have an off day. As Klopp quickly and rightfully mentioned right after, Aston Villa 7-2 LFC.
That aside, i felt that as good as LFC were, Man U made it easy for them (obvious statement of the year). 0-5 was contributed by 1/4 LFC and 3/4 Man U.
No amount of coaching can prevent the Man U defense from laying a collective egg. On a different day the score would have been 2-0 or 3-1. Even when Lfc battered United’s goal in Jose’s last game, the game was tied 1-1 until sub Shaq popped up 3/4 into the match to decisively turn the match lfc’s way.
That aside, what’s damning is the lack of clear identity of the Man U team. From the outset, Man U lacked any identity on the field. They collect more and more tools and talents and spend more money, but no one has any idea what the end goal is supposed to be. It’s akin to getting the best paints and oils and paintbrushes but not have the slightest idea what the picture is supposed to look like.
Till that happens , Man Utd will continue to drift in Sissyphean futility, doomed to mediocrity. (I’m an lfc fan, so i have 29 years of experience lol. Takes one to know one, eh?). As an LFC fan, i’d love that.
But if i were a Man U fan, i’d change Ole for someone with more experience and demonstrated capability to manage on this level.
Otherwise, i’ll just keep watching out for Man U to meet and exceed our long phase (29 years!) of mediocrity. As my fellow fan said in an earlier mailbox, 29 years rolls by quickly
As LFC fans and ex-players have reiterated, Fergie didnt knock us off our perch – we got drunk and fell off ourselves.
Likewise, LFC isnt knocking Man U off its perch. Man U’s falling off on its own accord. For Souness, Evans, Houllier, Rafa, Roy, Kenny Dalglish, Brendan, read David Moyes, LvG, Jose Moany, Ole Ole! Good luck on finding your next mediocre manager!
Waves of pleasure are passing through my mind and body today after yesterday’s massacre.
Amongst the many wonderful impressions I have been having on the match is this one.
Manu were destroyed yesterday because the had the temerity to try and close down Liverpool on their home ground, the hallowed turf, the theatre of dreams, the site of so much bravery, last minute winners, Fergie time, the site of glory glory Man United.
But now United’s only move against the top teams is to sit deep, soak up pressure and try to hit them with a counter punch.
Only they have gone out and bought a golden boxing glove in the shape of CR7, he who must be played, which means there counter punch moves at a snails pace.
Ole knows this and tried something different and was roundly spanked for his efforts.
Its almost too delicious.
Don’t think I’ll ever stop smiling.
Dave (Oles at the wheel)
I’ll be delighted to proven wrong but Nuno is awful. Sometimes it’s prudent to get shot.
Tottenham chairman Levy has “thanked supporters for all their patience” throughout the search for a new head coach and says Nuno is the man to “revert back to our core DNA of playing attacking, entertaining football”.
Levy: “First of all, I’d like to welcome Nuno to the club. We should like to thank our supporters for all their patience throughout this process.
The “core DNA of playing attacking entertaining football”…anyone know when that’ll happen? Wins based not on tactics but brief moments of the other side being not that good. Losses so demoralising that we’re left assuming most teams will beat us if they’re not shit.
Beating City, or rather playing them first, doesn’t say how good we are, it’s an anomaly.
Hopefully I’m wrong, but I really hoped early performances, results aside, were nothing but getting ducks in a row. It doesn’t look that way.
and deserved nothing from the game. Now that that’s out of the way, how can we change that for next time?
It’s pretty clear that Nuno is not a great attacking coach, but Spurs have some great attackers. Nuno has previously shown himself to be an excellent defensive coach, but our defenders are largely, er… questionable. In 4 seasons at Wolves, Nuno played 3 of them very successfully with a back 3/5 and a deep midfield playing to direct, pacy attackers and a strong target man. Then he had one season with a back four and fluid forwards that was mediocre at best. So why is that the way he wants to do things after lucking into a promotion?
Nuno needs to stop worrying about ‘Spurs DNA’, and just put together the team the way he knows how to. It’s not like this squad is ill-suited to playing that way anyway. A back 3 of Romero, Tanganga and I guess Dier at the moment, with wing backs and then Hojbjerg and Skipp holding the midfield, with a front 3 of Son, Kane and Lucas sitting in behind. That’s a setup that would cover for Spurs’ shortcomings while allowing the front line to attack properly, and it’s a setup and style that Nuno is really good at deploying effectively. So why are we not doing any of that?
I feel like this would also allow Doherty to succeed again, as the only player who you would expect to fully back Nuno. Sessegnon has always struck me as potentially an excellent wing back while being fairly ineffective both as a winger and a traditional full back. Most of the established Spurs players have significant experience of playing with a back 3 under Pochettino, so it’s not like this should be a great leap tactically. Dele Alli had his best season playing as one of that flexible front 3 with Kane and Eriksen back in 2016/17 (ye gods, was it really so long ago now), maybe he can finally discover some worthwhile form again. And if Skipp and Hojbjerg proves too defensive, swap one of them for Ndombele to knit things together a bit better.
But right now, this Spurs team looks weak, confused and unmotivated, and the manager looks out of his depth. A sharp tactical change should at least give Nuno a lifejacket before he drowns completely, and a formation that he can properly coach should help the players with at least one out of those three.
One way or another, if Nuno doesn’t make some big changes sooner rather than later, this season will be another write off and he’ll be out the door before next summer.
Harry (at least he’s doing better than Solskjaer right now), THFC
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