Reality Check - How close are we to major success?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Raees, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Feb 1, 2018
    #1

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    For me any side worth its salt tends to have the following ingredients (not-exhaustive but just off top of my head) in place to be a successful side and sustain it for a few years:

    • Cohesive tactical Philosophy/Approach to the game both in an attacking an defensive sense, which is effective in the modern game and the players know it inside out
    • A handful of world class stars operating at a world class level at the bare minimum (lets say 3/4 for arguments sake) and the rest of the XI should still be of a Champions League class at the very minimum
    • A motivated and engaged manager who gets on well with the squad, makes wise selection and tactical decisions, knows how to get the best out of his stars, picks on merit, good transfer decisions (rarely buys big money flops or sells/loans out wrong players, holds on to crap)
    • Learn from their mistakes/react well to losing.. lack of stubborness
    • Dominate big games (rarely lose them)
    • 9 times out of 10, always at the races and competitive - rarely get battered if ever regardless of level of opponent - strong work ethic and determination/courage throughout the squad
    • Sense of brotherhood within squad - willing to go to war for each other
    • Reliable squad players/not carrying any passengers
    • Good with injury management/players are generally in great condition
    • Club generally able to attract high calibre of player but don't just buy big names for the sake of it - transfers generally are wise and make sense
    • Board willing to put the money in to sign quality
    • Ability to hold on to star names from rival big teams or from the continent
    If you look at most successful teams, they tend to pretty much tick all the boxes rather than have just a few things ticked off. To be successful, you need a variety of factors to be satisfied in order for the trophies to follow.

    Now if we were to look at United, Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.. how far ahead are we of our rivals or are we behind them in some respects despite the fact we are 2nd in the table.

    I'd say looking at the list, we definitely have progressed from where we were with Moyes/Van Gaal.. but compared to say teams which are looking to win titles and CL, for all the money spent.. are we still a long way off?

    How close are we to reproducing a 2008 United side, or Bayern of 2012-14 or the Barca/Real Madrid sides of recent vintage. I think its important to really look at where we are with regards to these factors and question whether we really need to make certain decisions in order to ensure we get to where we want to and not stagate. I'm seeing progress, but is it progress that will definitely lead to title success or are we crawling too slow whilst other sides will eventually leave us behind once they get their acts together and hitting more of those factors than we are.

    For example a team like Real is in disarray this year, but you just know they'll eventually get it right - we've taken half a decade and still don't really look a top side, which is fine but unless we see certain things changing, this can stretch to a decade and then before you know it.. you're the next Liverpool - which I'm sure won't happen and we don't want it to happen, but it is important to keep perspective and keep our eyes on the main prizes and not get complacent with accepting mediocrity.
  2. Feb 1, 2018
    #2

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    We have almost everything except perhaps the most important part - a fecking clue. Our squad is as talented as any in England in my opinion. There is absolutely no way they perform to the maximum capacity of their parts though.

    Mourinho is a brilliant coach, but something is missing. If not careful, he will be caught up and surpassed by the newer generation. We call Pep a chequebook manager, but for me, it seems more Jose who cannot win unless he simply has much better players than his opponent. The extent of our plan seems to be to hope our superior players win the game. If we had to pick a percentage, City are performing to a much higher percentage of their player’s capabilities than ours.

    Last night we were played off the park by a collection of inferior footballers. The only issue for Jose, is that the quality gap wasn’t big enough for him to still win. It was a gap that could be closed with organisation and strategy. Except Chelsea at home last season, I struggle to think of a game we have won due to being better organised than our opponent. It is always down to our players, and if the gap is negligible, we will not win, as us evidenced by generally failing to beat any good team other than Arsenal, who are useless, and even then, it was clearly down to their poorer individuals inability to finish, and the individual ability of our goalkeeper, than us having any control over the football match.
  3. Feb 1, 2018
    #3

    Zlatattack Full Member

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    Give it time. I think we're nearly there with the squad. The next thing to look at will be the manager. I don't think we look cohesive, there isn't a fluidity to us, that even mid-table teams have.
  4. Feb 1, 2018
    #4

    Coxy Full Member

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    Fully agree with this. The formation isn't right at all. We need 433
  5. Feb 1, 2018
    #5

    acnumber9 Full Member

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    He hasn’t even been here two years yet. Spurs sit below us despite a lot of stability and growth through the last few years. The only team above us have better players and spent more money. All in we aren’t doing too badly despite having a terrible performance last night.
  6. Feb 1, 2018
    #6

    Borden Full Member

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    Are you watching closely?
    Mourinho may have done a lot of good things in the transfer market, but in terms of actually coaching the team he's left a lot to be desired. We do not look like a properly coached team, in fact it's quite shocking to see how disorganized and completely out of sync we look at times. The players look like they don't have a clue what to do.
  7. Feb 1, 2018
    #7

    settembrini Full Member

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    Not that close tbh.

    1. We don't have a good default tactical system. 4-2-3-1 is perfectly fine against the weaker teams whom we can generally dominate by having better players. Against strong teams with players as good as ours it's been horrendous, laughably bad results.
    2. We have a glaring weakness at right wing (count how many goals/assists have been recorded there by the player there vs the player at left wing) plus a right back who is offering less and less in attack as he ages. That's a bad combination.

    Solves these issues, don't create anymore problems like selling De Gea etc and we'll be in the mix.
  8. Feb 1, 2018
    #8

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Valencia is producing his best goals return in years (only 3 but even when as a winger failed to get into double figures), pisses on your he's offering less and less as he ages remark
  9. Feb 1, 2018
    #9

    Bastian Full Member

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    Apart from selecting tactical formations that suit the majority of our players, I'd say we are a top class midfielder and a consistent back four away from being competitive for major titles. That probably includes an elite centre back and addressing the full back positions one way or another. With the players we've got I'd even prefer a 442 diamond formation to the 4231. We haven't got wingers and we don't have 2 midfielders capable of dominating midfield against stronger sides.

    We're definitely heading in the right direction but I do worry about the rigidity of a player like Lukaku. The team needs to adjust too much to one player who isn't world class. That 442 diamond might suit him better than most of our hypothetical favourite, 433.
  10. Feb 1, 2018
    #10

    Zlatattack Full Member

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    Yeah. I'm a big fan of giving people enough rope, those that aren't good enough will hang themselves.
  11. Feb 1, 2018
    #11

    settembrini Full Member

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    I don't see his role in the team as a goal scorer. We need him taking players and getting crosses in. His successful takes on have declined and his chance creation is less than half of what it was last season. That's too big a drop off to be ignored.
  12. Feb 1, 2018
    #12

    Oyibo New Member

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    we are no further away than we were before last night's game.

    Lets go for 2nd and be happy with progress. At least we still got Dippers, Chelsea and Arsenal at home rather than away..
  13. Feb 1, 2018
    #13

    2cents Full Member

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    Feels like we're ages away but these things can sometimes turn around in a surprisingly short space of time. I remember there being times during 05/06 when it felt like our days of challenging were over, then Chelsea went and signed Shevchenko and Ballack that summer. But things just clicked. With the squad we have there's a chance that could happen, although there are still many doubts surrounding our manager and the general competition is a lot stronger right now.
  14. Feb 1, 2018
    #14

    Trizy Full Member

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    It's possible to win the league by losing all top 6 (5) games. Once we improve in big away games, we'll be there or there abouts.

    It's such a pity that big away games and City's once-off form are against us this season. The former of the two has to be fixed internally.
  15. Feb 1, 2018
    #15

    Zakkah3 New Member

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    What's happens to Jose?
    He's meant to be a Tactical Genius, but the second I saw the Line up last night I thought "2 In Midfield against Spurs who like to Press, we are done"

    If we can see it why can't Jose?
    As others have said, we need to play 4-3-3, remember when Jose first came to Chelsea, He tore the League apart playing a 4-3-3 Counter Attack system.
  16. Feb 1, 2018
    #16

    Ecstatic Full Member

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    15 points

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  17. Feb 1, 2018
    #17

    J_Red 11 Banned

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    At the moment we are still far away. We can make the gaps very very closed but depends on the manager's tactic & whether the "talented" players can step up their level and be more mature and consistent. I don't think we need to spend as much as previous ones this summer, our current players should never being outplayed by Spurs yesterday. It was down to the team's preparation & mentality and also tactic.

    The manager need to decide his most regular formation and reevaluate his original plan or the blueprint of his team. He also needs to know how to put his players into XI together and he needs to know more about his players for example Martial shouldn't play on the right, player like Sanchez can play left, right and middle. I was surprised when he started Martial on the right yesterday when everyone know that is his less effective position.

    I hope he improves the coaching and tactic especially in attack. We look very less organised especially when going forward. It's like we give them freedom to whatever they want like headless chicken during the final third.

    Let's not be too much about reproducing a 2008 United side, that team is capable to win treble (should have won the FA Cup). We are still behind to even win the league.
  18. Feb 1, 2018
    #18

    TheRedDevil'sAdvocate Full Member

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    Arsenal are a shambles at the moment and the longer they delay to cut the chord with Wenger the more they will continue to descend into this downward spiral they've entered. I'd say we're about on the same level with Chelsea, quality wise, but i feel that the Blues have the edge on us when it comes to mounting a serious title challenge because their defense is more stable and they have proven winners (the been there, done that kind) in Hazard and Fabregas who can get the job done and on whom any manager knows he can depend. That's the two clubs whose tactics are similar to ours in the sense that they can't be described as modern.

    Liverpool and Tottenham offer a different proposition. I've always felt that Klopp's tactics are a double-edged sword. The trick behind a successful gung-ho approach is the ability to control the tempo when that is necessary. You can't play 60 games from August to May with the foot constantly on the gas pedal. In my opinion, they too have systemic problems and it's not just a matter of getting better players (although this would help). I like what Pochettino has done with Spurs. I've mentioned elsewhere that his pressing tactics, the passing game he's implemented into his side and the "controlled" freedom his front four enjoy are remarkable. When they're good, like yesterday, they're so good that one usually fails to realize that Poch doesn't like to take many risks tactically. But will Spurs be able to hold on to Kane and Dele?

    It's not all doom and gloom but we have our issues too and they don't have to do with the starting formation. High pressing tactics are Mourinho's purgatory nowadays. His philosophy revolves around the principle that his side without the ball will better what the opposition has to offer on the ball. And that little square of space between the two centre-halves and the two midfielders is where he wants to establish control. Unfortunately for him, gone are the days of old when any opposition wouldn't use pressing and they would play with two defensive midfielders and a wide midfielder, leaving a #10, an inside forward and the striker to open up defences.

    Whether he will end up in heaven or in hell afterwards, it's still up to Mourinho. I believe he's a much more clever football person than any of us on here. In my opinion, there are a few things he could try. If he doesn't feel safe with applying pressing himself, he should look into the aggressive defending Simeone uses at Atletico. They defend in numbers and aim to flood the central channels but they're not trying to play the opposition offside and they don't think that they can clear anything that comes into their box. As soon as they drive the opponent in the wide areas, they use pressing traps in order to steal the ball quickly and hit on the counter.

    The other way he can choose is to try and create a side that will be more competent on the ball. His approach in games like yesterday indicates that he has not abandoned that idea entirely. Or that's just me who can't find any other description of his approach against Spurs than "suicide tactics". But in real football (not FM), you need experience, skills and players who know every aspect of their position like the back of their hand to do that. Pogba, for example, is a fine footballer but, as Scholes mentioned, you can't rely on him to dictate the tempo of your games yet. I'll add that his defensive positioning is woeful too.

    And that's a real concern of mine because while we're waiting for the likes of Pogba, Martial, Rashford, Lindelof, Lukaku, to become what we all think they will become, Real Madrid have some of the very best in important roles (like Ronnie and Modric) and they will be more than willing to replace them with ready-made solutions of the same quality in due time, while we will still be waiting for Pogba and Lukaku to deliver the goods.

    I don't see it happening any other way given the fact that the pools of domestic talent the three best clubs in the world right now can pick from are much better than one United have to work with. You need the cash and you need to spend it like there's no tomorrow like baldy does a few blocks away from OT. This notion that another manager, let's say, Zidane, will come next season to OT and suddenly we'll start playing like RM last season is as ridiculous as saying that Mourinho has got everything right at United.

    I'll just say that, in order to create the 2007-09 United side, Ferguson has stated that he made tactical alterations which he didn't particularly like very much but he was convinced that they had to be done. That's what i would advise Mourinho to do.
  19. Feb 1, 2018
    #19

    Mufchuck New Member

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    city will be 21 points or more clear at the end of the season weather united are still in second place I wait to see...may not even finish top 4
  20. Feb 1, 2018
    #20

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    Very rough highly subjective calculations and @2cents totally agree, that anything can change.. for example if Spurs lose Poch/Kane in one summer.. the picture totally changes for them.

    I'd say what the snapshot above tells us is that we and Spurs, are relatively well placed to take the next step but we have different areas of weakness. Their issue is lack of funds and ability to attract players to take them to the next level.. so they're restricted from growing bigger and the likelihood is that they're close to their peak and probably will decline unless they maintain what they have and add to it.

    We have issues on the pitch and it isn't necessarily the players, we have a good squad.. Bailly, De Gea, Pogba, Sanchez.. like that is dare I say it, 4 potentially world class performers there who could grace any top side and do well.. but tactically, this club is not at the races nor do we look a terribly fit side on the pitch. Something is amiss culture wise as well and we're hoarding on to crap.

    We're not too far away. Dare I say it but a risky managerial change, one or two more signings and with a better tactical approach and we could be title winners.. but it takes courage and conviction to pull that off. Either Jose changes and ups his game, or the time will come for the Board to part ways by which time we might lose the existing stars we have and go through another rebuild.

    Chelsea look in a crisis, but this is a snapshot in time and by the summer a new manager, new funds if Roman fancies it and they could be dangerous again.

    Arsenal look way off at the moment, but again things can change rapidly.

    Liverpool fans should be worried because for me, they look like they're going somewhere but the table suggests, they're still no closer to success than they have been for a long time and that should worry them. Pretty football but have they regressed from 2008 or the Rodgers years?
  21. Feb 1, 2018
    #21

    Sterling Archer Full Member

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    Nice post OP

    Gah I don't know how I feel about the criticism of the coaching. Take Real as an instance since they have come up a few times. The first couple years under Zidane were immense. Now things have slipped. The coaching is no different is it? There is an X factor, which I think is something related to motivation that's not easy to maintain in every match. And it's a group thing not just individual. Because every season there are a handful of trans across the league that could become world beaters if that x factor is in their favor.
  22. Feb 1, 2018
    #22

    Greck Full Member

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    In the big picture the biggest disappointment from yesterday was the continued theme of looking outclassed against decent opposition.

    Winning the CL/EPL will remain a dream till we get over this roadblock.
  23. Feb 1, 2018
    #23

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    No but there has been a decline in players like Ronaldo, Bale.. you have a growing lack of motivation from the indulgence of success. Thing is success is a fleeting concept, the only way to bottle it is to remember what made you successful in terms of the overarching principles but know that you are operating in an environment that is forever changing and that you need to constantly evolve in order to meet the factors of success in the here and now. Fergie was a master of sticking to some tried and tested ingredients but knowing what to change in order to stay ahead of the game. Most managers and leaders don't have that skillset and become relics of a bygone era.
  24. Feb 1, 2018
    #24

    Raees Boing Boing Baggies

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    Good post. Hard to disagree with any of that.
  25. Feb 1, 2018
    #25

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    Personnel wise, we are very good IMO. Needs reinforcements in midfield, a starter and a sub to replace fellaini, but mostly good. Even now Herrera can play well if used correctly to give more balance to the team. Problem is we aren't using them correctly and our system isn't balanced at all. Which is pro ably the biggest criticism you can have of Mourinho. After 1.5 seasons, he is still using his record signing incorrectly and that record signing is a liability the way he is used, unbalancing the entire team. It's just crazy to think but that's the reality of it. If Mourinho was so insistent on playing a 4231, I wish we never signed Pogba because he just can't handle that system at all.
  26. Feb 1, 2018
    #26

    MancunianAngels Full Member

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    I'd maintain that we are not that far off and at a similar stage to City last season

    Our priority for the summer has to be strengthening the defence. A natural right back and a centre back that isn't made of glass.

    Once that is sorted, some cover for midfield that allows Pogba/Matic to be rotated or perhaps competes with Herrera for a place should we decide to go 3 in midfield.
  27. Feb 1, 2018
    #27

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    Fully agree with this. Personnel wise, I think we've built up an excellent squad who could challenge for everything with the right manager in charge to give the right system. Maybe Mourinho is that man. But all he's showing so far is the ability to buy big players, and no ability in actually setting them up correctly. We're 2nd because we have much better players then most and have beaten teams we should beat. We've also been battered performance wise in every big game away from home, and haven't been great at home either in them.

    There's been very few games where we've genuinely just looked really solid throughout but still a threat going forward. Looked complete in other words. The few games (or halves) that has happened is usually when by chance Mourinho plays a balanced midfield 3 where pogba can have the creative and attacking role rather then thinking he can play so deep. Get the best out of him and we'll be a lot more solid defensively and look more cohesive going forward. I'm convinced it's that simple. Of course Mourinho has to get them playing a style that also suits them, but also needs to switch full time to a 433 so they get accustomed to it. Us playing a 4231 on occasion helps nobody.
  28. Feb 1, 2018
    #28

    Zlatattack Full Member

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    It's a shame this forum doesn't have a like button. This post deserves a lot of recognition.
  29. Feb 1, 2018
    #29

    Ace of Spades Full Member

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    This, agree completely. We just don't look like a well coached team, neither in attack, nor defense.
  30. Feb 1, 2018
    #30

    bosnian_red Worst scout to ever exist

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    Thing is though it doesn't matter if we have the best back 4 in the world. If we keep insisting on using the same tactics and keep thinking pogba can play in a midfield 2, the same shit will happen. No defence can handle when the opposition has that much space to attack them at pace. They get dragged all over the place covering for gaps in midfield. The absolute main priority has to be sorting out the midfield and using a 433. I don't care if it's using a mediocre player there, that will still offer an improvement.

    It's like Zidane being the only manager to realize that Kroos and Modric needed a holding mid behind them, and they didn't actually look complete as a team until he just put Casemiro there fill time, who was nothing special. Suddenly everything clicked. Same thing has to happen with us. Pogba can't play as a 2, and as a 3, needs to be the most attacking player. All there is to it. We'll continue to look disjointed and unbalanced until that is fixed.
  31. Feb 1, 2018
    #31

    AshRK Full Member

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    I feel the remaining part of the season is a good time for Jose to get things fixed and be fully ready for the next season. I feel he must fix the tactics. More than that time to show more trust to the likes of shaw. Enough of young and fellaini. Look forward and get the tactics perfect for the upcoming season.

    Credit must be given to Jose for addressing the core problem, like he has already put his focus on getting a midfielder for next season. Won't be surprised if he adds a quality rb and a cb. Let us be patient and back the team for this season. If again next season come Feb we are talking like this then Jose must be scrutinised even more.
  32. Feb 1, 2018
    #32

    sparta New Member

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    A group of individuals we have, not a TEAM on the same page at all, could have swore they all started playing for each other for the first time last night, and what was that trip to dubai for? Thought it was to work on tactics in better conditions, ha more like work on their tan!.

    We completely lost it mentally when spurs scored that early goal, really hit us for six and we just didn't have the leadership in our team to get the players heads up and kick on, my other concern is Sanchez, i didn't like his attitude at arsenal sometimes, really spoke volumes to me and i just hope it doesn't affect the dressing room in the long run.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2018
  33. Feb 1, 2018
    #33

    ghagua Full Member

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    Winning the league? a long way off, winning a cup (even champions league), well anything can happen. We can change all the players we want, but until this team is able to go toe to toe with the big guns and keep their composure, we are not going to be winning the league. This shite needs to be worked on in the training ground.
  34. Feb 1, 2018
    #34

    GlastonSpur Also disliked on an Aston Villa forum

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    That's your delusion IMO.

    How many United players would get into a combined Spurs-United XI? I'd say maybe 2 (de Gea and Sanchez) ... or 3 if you stretch a point.
  35. Feb 1, 2018
    #35

    Red Katie The least positive person in match threads ever

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    This might sound silly, but I'm honestly not sure if we are badly coached or if we still lack that little extra that will make us click. I feel we play some very good football in patches but fail to do it consistently.
  36. Feb 1, 2018
    #36

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    De Gea, Sanchez, Shaw (if we’re playing Ben Davies at LB), Valencia is better than Trippier, Pogba, Sanchez.

    There are more debatable ones after that like Martial vs Son or Matic vs Dier. Of course, if basing on yesterday alone, then nobody. Only Kane or your centre halves would walk into our team I’d say.
  37. Feb 1, 2018
    #37

    Rozay Not good at posting fixture lists

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    In comparison to the other top teams, not enough of what we do, even when we do it well, seems deliberate enough. We fail to do things consistently because I don’t think we’ve been instructed to do them consistently in my opinion. Conversely, we do good things in patches because we have very good players.
  38. Feb 1, 2018
    #38

    gerdm07 Full Member

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    I don't see us winning the League or Champions League for at least the next 1 1/2 years. Man City are just better than we and, unless we have about 3 perfect summer signings, that will not change. As regards the CL, I think most will agree we are behind at least 6 teams in terms of talent (Barca, PSG, Bayern, Man City, Juventes and Real Madrid). Yes, RM do not look good but remember how they easily dismantled us at the start of the season. I think few of us would think we would beat them over 2 legs.
  39. Feb 1, 2018
    #39

    Yagami Full Member

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    I think it'd be pretty even, and I wouldn't say Spurs are a "collection of inferior footballers". The difference, in my opinion, is the managers. In a combined team I'd have Pochettino as the coach.
    It all comes down to the coaching. We have so many good footballers but are so predictable with our attacks and movement. José has got every player bar one he's asked for so that shouldn't be an excuse. And, in the end, we got a better player than Perisic in Alexis anyway.
  40. Feb 1, 2018
    #40

    Ballache Full Member

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    We will compete next season. City won't be as good and we'll be better. I see us winning the league within two years.

    Edit: Also it depends on who's reality it is. We are where I expected us to be.