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Team balance is the problem

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Josep Dowling, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Feb 21, 2018
    #1

    Josep Dowling Full Member

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    When Jose arrived at the club the first thing he said about the squad was the complete lack of balance.

    I was confident he would fix this but 18 months on it still feels nothing has changed, especially in attack. Let’s look at the front 3 tonight.

    Sanchez - explosive player who likes to press the defence. No one helps him press so he ends up chasing lost causes. Likes the ball to feet with quick 1-2 football. Lukaku simply can’t play 1-2 football and there is no support from midfield to create triangles.

    Lukaku - big, strong forward who surprisingly can’t hold the ball up. Likes the ball played over the top where he can chase and bully defenders. A good aerial threat when crossed into the box but he can’t head down to another team mate. We don’t cross the ball into the box from wide areas enough to take advantage of his aerial threat in the box.

    Mata - good on ball and a quality touch. Is simply not a winger and lacks any real pace to ever threaten on the RW. Drifts centrally which leaves a whopping great space on RW which normally ends up with Lukaku drifting out wide. So now our centre forward is out wide trying to cross a ball into the box, where there isn’t a striker.

    This is the issue. There is no attacking balance. You can throw in Martial into the mix as well when he plays, if he will ever play LW with Sanchez around.

    They are all fantastic players individually but they all have such different styles of play it just isn’t going to work.

    It would never happen but I would like to see Sanchez-Lukaku-Valencia with Young playing RB. This would only be a short term solution until the end of the season when an actual RW can be purchaed. The reality is this keeps the width. If Shaw played LB you have two full backs who can provide overlapping runs. They can either cross the ball into Lukaku or offer space for Sanchez to become dangerous.

    We look so disjointed and so focused on fitting all the star names into the first 11 rather than finding a team that is balanced and works.
  2. Feb 21, 2018
    #2

    Walters_19_MuFc Full Member

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    It's a big problem, and it's up to the manager to sort this.

    As you said, he's had 18 months to do this, and we still look pretty disjointed going forward.
  3. Feb 21, 2018
    #3

    FootyGirl88 Full Member

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    It's very strange, I remember in LVG's first season he spoke of the team not being balance etc and to this day despite the amount of money that has been spent it's still not fixed. It's crazy.
  4. Feb 21, 2018
    #4

    SuperiorXI Full Member

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    Where is the width?
  5. Feb 22, 2018
    #5

    Walters_19_MuFc Full Member

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    Width? What's width?
  6. Feb 22, 2018
    #6

    peridigm Full Member

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    I think we still have the best available option for a manager at the moment but I no longer feel the majority of the blame is on the players. It's up to Jose to balance the squad. He's called out players for petty shit at the wrong times. If Pogba wasn't ill the last few days, he picked the wrong time to start a feud with one of our most important players. There is something fundamentally wrong with Manchester United. We're signing the wrong players to fit our needs. We've signed some world class talent since SAF retired but they've either been past their sell by date or end up being played in the wrong positions. Those that are young and world class are not or did not play up to their expectations.

    If you compare us now to what we looked like at the start of the season, I'd say we're back to square one. At the start of the season you could say we need to strengthen 3-4 positions to compete at the top both domestically and in Europe.
    We're realistically looking like we need to buy 8 players to compete domestically, let alone in Europe.

    Our worst enemy at this time is our attitude. Players, managers, and supporters. If we can change the attitude and get back to those 2,3, and 4-0 performances like we had at the beginning of the season, everything will fall into place.
  7. Feb 22, 2018
    #7

    stevoc Full Member

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    Welcome to United JoMo!
    Indeed it's one of the reasons i think we are so easy to defend against.

    Mata on the right wing needs to end.
  8. Feb 22, 2018
    #8

    stevoc Full Member

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    It would be very short term but we need to try something because it looks like the season is just going to run out of steam. I wouldn't mind seeing this at least once.

    Young-Bailly-Smalling-Shaw

    Valencia-----Matic-----Pogba

    Sanchez----Lukaku----Martial
  9. Feb 22, 2018
    #9

    Data Banned

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    What will change the attitude is a good footballing unit and for the manager to play the players to their strength and for once, just for once, work with what we have, for crying out loud, how many more signings does he need to start playing a cohesive football ? Almost 300 millions spent and still ppl are insinuating more signings. We lost and drew against teams with both financial and players abilities below utd, these loses are purely on Mou negative tactics and yet some ppl are still calling for more signings.

    We have Pogba, Sanchez, Lukaku, Martial and Rashford, and we can only have 4 shots on target against Sevilla ! Any attacking young players will opt for City, Liverpool and Tottenham before utd and i really wont blame them.
  10. Feb 22, 2018
    #10

    el3mel Full Member

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    We had been starting to perform some good link between Martial, Lingard, Pogba and Lukaku. Sanchez came, played on the left, Martial moved out and all the players are struggling to form new links again after a while work of half season. We had become disjointed after we did some good work for most of the most and I can't help but feel Mourinho's failure to integrate Sanchez in the team is the main cause of how crap we have become out of sudden.

    Time to move Sanchez to the right and let Pogba, Lingard and Martial restore the link they were forming earlier.
  11. Feb 22, 2018
    #11

    Amadaeus Ooh, rock me!

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    It seems our managers does not even know what team balance is. Our squad is no different from creating a team on ultimate team in fifa.
  12. Feb 22, 2018
    #12

    Organic Potatoes Full Member

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    As much as I often dislike Jose’s team selections, I must admit trying to fit Alexis, Martial, Rom, and Pogba (our most talented/important midfielder & forwards) together inherently presents difficult dilemmas. Especially without a stable and technically sound back four.
  13. Feb 22, 2018
    #13

    liamp Full Member

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    He bought 3 of those 4 players.

    Not trying to target you and your post specifically but some of this stuff does my head in. I'm sure it's difficult to fit those players in the same side and achieve "balance" the way Jose wants it, so why the feck did he buy players that would bring these "dilemmas."

    It's like the OP's post. If you're pointing to attacking imbalance among the front 3, he bought 2 of those players and just extended the contract of the 3rd. So, he's basically compounding the problem he identified through his squad-building decisions?
  14. Feb 22, 2018
    #14

    R'hllor Full Member

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    Talking about width, by looking position, our fullbacks position is way back in most cases.
  15. Feb 22, 2018
    #15

    Giggs86 Full Member

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    Lukaku, Pogba and Sanchez just don't click with each other.
  16. Feb 22, 2018
    #16

    stevoc Full Member

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    Thats seems to be the case but it really shouldn't be should it?

    Pogba left of a 3 man midfield with Martial left and Sanchez right either side of Lukaku is surely the obvious way to play them?

    We had been doing alright this season with Martial and Rashford rotating on the left, with the glaring weakness in the side being the right wing spot. We sign Sanchez and most myself included think great a top player who can play on the right and provide a bit of balance to the side.

    But instead we play him on the left, shunt Martial to the right and then to the bench and now the team looks as disjointed as ever. Now i'm thinking why did we even bother singing Sanchez instead of a right winger.
  17. Feb 22, 2018
    #17

    Footyislife Full Member

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    Balance is there in the squad it's up to the manager to decide to use it.

    For example, he wanted to play compact and on the counter today. Yet instead of surrounding Lukaku with players who can make runs, dribble, and play quick passing, he plays the likes of Mata and Scotty which is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot offensively. Mata can't move, and Scotty is just basic midfielder with no flair or vision to operate in that critical role facilitating the transitional play.

    I can understand the Scotty decision because of Pogba's defensive lapses & an "illness", but not sure why Mata was playing. He should be a sub brought on when we are the dominant side and need that extra creativity to unlock teams parking the bus. Not our starting winger in a CL away game. Martial should play on the left as he's currently our best LW (yes over Sanchez). By having two proper wingers we can really stretch the field instead of the BS he keeps doing with Lingard and Mata. It just condenses our shape creating an overload on once side, which we never even leverage properly. I think Valencia made like 1 cross that didn't get past the first defender.

    Martial on the left, Sanchez on the right will create so much space in the middle, and boom you give Pogba a free role to be the player he can be. Herrera/Scotty/TFM/Jones can all be that ball winning midfielder covering up space as our front 4 push forward, with Matic pulling the strings as the holding midfielder. Finally play Jones, Rojo, Bailly as they are our defenders with the most composure in passing and working in open spaces. This isn't rocket science. I wonder what goes through Mourinho head.
  18. Feb 22, 2018
    #18

    sglowrider Against Oral Equality

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    This. But to be fair to Jose, getting a Sanchez in January would be quite different to a Sanchez in August. He will need this summer to either add some tactical discipline to Alexis' game or figure a way for the team to work with Sanchez.
  19. Feb 22, 2018
    #19

    Seij Full Member

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    Sanchez is no doubt a world class player but his signing and Mourinho's stubbornness to keep playing him on the left has definitely disrupted the team's balance. Martial, who had been playing very well on the left side, has been demoted to the bench, while Sanchez took that left side and Mata has been the regular starter for the right side. Mata is a good player but he is a central attacking midfielder and and spends most of his game time in the middle, leaving the entire right side to Valencia. Meanwhile, Sanchez also likes to drift in from the left side and dictate play, which often overlaps with Pogba's position and and the role he likes to play. Pogba has had his ups and downs but he's been consistently mediocre by his standards since Sanchez joined the team, with rumors regarding how he is discontent with the way he is played coming up.

    Sanchez has definitely put in incredible performances from the right in the past and it'll likely balance the team much better to play him there to avoid overcrowding that left advanced midfield area. We'll also have more width that way compared to playing Mata who provides zero width. People have been crying out for a right sided attacker but we apparently went out to buy yet another player who plays on the left.
  20. Feb 22, 2018
    #20

    cyril C Full Member

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    Don't you know, this is the polite version of saying I need time and money to spend in the next transfer window. This is obviously better than saying our squad is very good except we need to add 3-4 world class players.
  21. Feb 22, 2018
    #21

    ti vu Full Member

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    The problem is while Mourinho has been addressing the issue, there is too much to address.New players take time to adapt. SAF pretty much said he is more soft on new players in their first year which is reasonable and I think others like Mourinho would think the same. He is more ruthless when the players don't deliver from second season onward:Mkhi.

    Back to the point, Mourinho try to build a new spine taking over from what LVG left. If not for bad luck, then we would have invested Lukaku money differently (Griezmann maybe)with Zlatan being fit. Mkhi playing in Zlatan shadow would not be as bad, with both of them would be more settled in second season. In reality we had to revise the plan since Lukaku is to replace Zlatan but play differently. We pretty start from scratch in this aspect. Mata, Lingard despite their best form overall should be just squad players, yet we end up now having them as our starters. We and other teams know their weaknesses. They can be an good options, but for starter, they unbalance the team which can be exploit.

    Similarly is our defense. Young should not be a starter yet he is now pretty much first choice until Shaw can completely take over the role. Valencia has problem with his end product for years now. Even he is starting to not start all the game and certainly look more shaky recently than a year ago.

    Our CBs selection is fun. I gave up hope on Jones to stay fit and fulfill his potential, and now the supposed world class potential in Bailly has been plagued with injuries. Lindelof slow start so we end up with Smallling who also has glaring weakness which teams exploit on us. Rojo hasn't recovered since the injury, so we end up with Smalling + another for quite a while now.

    We can't play from the back, yet for long ball our (new) attacking players ain't very suitable. A vicious cycle. We need time for new players to adapt and the other ones find form, get back to fitness.
  22. Feb 22, 2018
    #22

    Velvet Revolver Full Member

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    For a manager who likes to play specialists in each position, he is way off since he started managing us. Yes, sometimes the positional change works ( ala Inter 2010) but most of the cases it's the overused phrase 'square pegs round holes'. The frustrating thing is he expects it to change by repeatedly playing the same team and same tactics

    Its been 18 months and I still dont see any tactical nuance to our game (the only exception was the Chelsea game last season). Gameplay and strategy for every other team in the league can be seen. Heck, even Burnley have a game plan when they play. For a world class manager and a team like United, we have no style of play, unfortunately.

    I would like to see a front three of Sanchez -- Martial -- Rashford. You get pace, you have high pressing, defenders always will be on their toes. Mix it up, try something new if it doesn't work then go to plan B. Big Rom and crosses. But that's the other part, none of our players ( Sanchez the exception) can provide any good delivery.
  23. Feb 22, 2018
    #23

    Ashley R1+O New Member

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    It takes time to bring in and integrate new players.

    We spent on the CB's and defense. We spent big on midfield and we've spent large on the attack (inc. the machinations of Mkhi/Sanchez). Next will come another investment in the fullbacks and other areas then the integration of the attack. When Jose started he had almost a complete mess on his hands. Strikers playing wing, wide players playing AM/ten, sixes playing eights, eights playing ten and wingers playing fullback.

    He's washed and dried the sheets, now he needs to purchase some other accompaniments and make the bed and set up the decor. Takes time and patience.
  24. Feb 22, 2018
    #24

    kouroux 45k posts to finally achieve this tagline

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    Exactly. The squad wasn't perfect before his arrival but he hasn't helped his case at all
  25. Feb 22, 2018
    #25

    ti vu Full Member

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    When you look at those 3. Alexis and Pogba each combine well with Lukaku. Pogba has been bad in this period so we haven't seen them filling out more as a team, but just separate partnerships. 2 of them are new players in the first season (few months) with us so, it would take more time to click. Pogba went into his second season here in fine form and so called stats last season which was used to bash him, being silent, so clearly, it's not as bad as the media try to paint the picture.
  26. Feb 22, 2018
    #26

    Red Indian Chief Torn Rubber Thus says Kemo

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    Unless we invest in a right sided Marcelo
    We are literally doomed by our utter inability to attack anywhere other than down the left flank
  27. Feb 22, 2018
    #27

    Varun Moderator Staff

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    Let's not pretend we need someone that doesn't exist to solve the imbalance. There are many ways to skin the cat, one of them being an option open just this Jan when we could have snapped up Mahrez and gone with Martial/Rashford and Mahrez/Mata as our 2 flanks instead of Sanchez/Martial/Rashford and Mata. Don't see how the way we went is better if the plan all along was to upgrade the left flank instead of Mata as we all thought.
  28. Feb 22, 2018
    #28

    settembrini Full Member

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    It is.

    Solution #1: Play Sanchez on the right. That's our weakest attacking position. Sanchez is our best right winger. It allows Martial back in on the left where we need him.

    Solution #2. Go back to 3-4-1-2. This formation suits our squad and we got good results while using it. Sanchez as a #10 with Martial and Lukaku up front.

    Neither of these fixes all our problems (obviously) but both are preferable to starting Sanchez on the left every single game which has weakened our attack considerably.
  29. Feb 22, 2018
    #29

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Pogba; was bought clearly with the hope he'd turn into the complete midfielder, he has all the attributes to do so but 18 months on it seems he hasn't improved. It's up for debate whether this is Jose or Pogba's fault
    Lukaku; would he have been bought had Zlatan not been injured? Has he be bought had we signed Griezmann? That probably raises more questions than it answers, he's here though and some of his performances haven't been down to the manager they've been down to him, is he good enough? Again another question
    Sanchez; clearly upgrades our attack and was probably a case of a deal too good to turn down

    Come on whether you like Mourinho or not one thing is unquestionable he's improved the overall quality in the squad. We've gone from the likes of Schneiderlin & Memphis to Pogba and Sanchez. If Jose were to leave tomorrow he's left the squad in a much better position than it was 18 months ago
  30. Feb 22, 2018
    #30

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva

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    He can't complain about width then put a right footed winger at LB.
    Tottenham play without a genuine winger but with comes from their FBs. They don't have this problem.
  31. Feb 22, 2018
    #31

    Kostov Full Member

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    Sanchez on the right, Lukaku in the centre, Martial on the left. Is it so fecking hard Jose?
  32. Feb 22, 2018
    #32

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Is playing Sanchez in a position he hasn't played since his Barca days really the answer? Sanchez I'm sure has said left side/through the middle is his preferred position
  33. Feb 22, 2018
    #33

    stevoc Full Member

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    I think that experiment is dead in the water. Mourinho only used it against other teams who play 3 at the back. Less and less top sides are using the formation this season so it will become less important to have it as an option.

    We never looked great while using it anyway.
  34. Feb 22, 2018
    #34

    stevoc Full Member

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    If Sanchez only wants to play on the left then i honestly have no idea why we signed him when we desperately need a right sided player and we already have two good options on the left.

    Sanchez would be way better on the right than anyone else we have in the squad currently. It's a no brainer.
  35. Feb 22, 2018
    #35

    Kostov Full Member

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    Well he should play where is best for the team, not where he prefers. By the way if we go by the stats in his career he has played the most games on the right, Martial on the other hand hasn't played there at all.
  36. Feb 22, 2018
    #36

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    I'd certainly be interested in seeing those stats
  37. Feb 22, 2018
    #37

    Kostov Full Member

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  38. Feb 22, 2018
    #38

    charlenefan Far less insightful than the other Charley

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    Interesting stuff, I assume my argument that he hasn't played there since his Barca days would still be valid though. I can see why we're not playing him there, you dont buy a new player and straight away play him in a position he's not familiar (recently) with
  39. Feb 22, 2018
    #39

    kouroux 45k posts to finally achieve this tagline

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    I'm sorry but he gets no credit from me when it comes that. I'd praise Woodward who took care of those signings as it is fairly easy to identify quality players and ask the club to buy them but another to get the best out of them.
    If this is what you wanna praise him for then I cannot understand.
  40. Feb 22, 2018
    #40

    Kostov Full Member

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    Your argument that he hasn't played there since the Barca days I can't validate, since I really have no solid info, but I'm sure Wenger talked how he thinks Sanchez is even better (or might be better) on the right, which makes me think he might have played on the right at Arsenal in some matches. All with lots of ifs and maybes.

    I can't really see why we aren't seeing him played there. We go and buy players to improve the team, not for the sake of buying like it turns out so far. If we wanted to improve the team it should have been for him to play on the right, not to demote our best attacker on the bench.