Are we finally back to where Fergie left us?

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Dir Wangem, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Dec 14, 2017
    #1

    Dir Wangem New Member

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    Disclaimer: I'm not necessarily saying that our current team is as good as the team that won the league in 2013.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    After 17 games we're almost done with half the season. Things have clearly gotten better, but how does Mourinho's team actually compare to Fergie's teams post-Ronaldo(2009-2013)? This is the current situation:

    Points: 38
    Goal difference: +26

    And this is Fergie's average stats at the same stage(post-Ronaldo):

    Points: 39.5
    Goal difference: +23

    ____________________________________________________________________

    In terms of points and goal difference, we're just about were we could expect to be back in the Fergie days. Other similarities:

    - Defensively stable, while still occasionally conceding silly goals.
    - Generally full control over lower and mid-table teams. Each game is all about scoring that first goal, and then it's done.
    - City is both our achilles heel and main rival. Poor results.
    - Careful approach when playing against Pool on Anfield.
    - Stamford Bridge is still a head-scratcher for us.
    - Good results are semi-expected against Tottenham and Arsenal.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  2. Dec 14, 2017
    #2

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin) Staff

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    Wouldn't say so yet. Need to see how we do over the next couple of seasons but two trophies last season and our current position is pretty damn good. Would want us to do better against the top teams (in latter Fergie years and the two Van Gaal years we tended to get around 18 points from 30) but we're getting there (7 points in first half of season compared to 5 last season - will probably end on 12-14 compared to 10 last season) and remains to be seen how we do in the CL but our record in Fergie's last two seasons there was pretty poor (knocked out in group stages in 2011/12 and knocked out in last 16 in 2012/13 though we did face Cakir).
  3. Dec 14, 2017
    #3

    unitedforeveral New Member

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    Well put.
  4. Dec 14, 2017
    #4

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

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    Won a few trophies the previous seasons, solidly 2nd with enough points that would see us 1st in previous seasons. Progressed to champions league knockouts without really ever breaking a sweat despite a couple results.

    Id say we're there or thereabouts. Arguably even better in fact, as this united team i think would storm the league in later/post fergie years.
  5. Dec 14, 2017
    #5

    youngrell Full Member

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    Stats are looking good and the team is obviously in better shape than it has been in recent years, but I still don't go into every match with the unwavering confidence I did during SAF time.

    Even if I expect us to win a game, I'm never completely shocked when we don't.
  6. Dec 14, 2017
    #6

    haram Full Member

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    Would be even better if not for the Pogba injury. We are doing well, City are just doing better.
  7. Dec 14, 2017
    #7

    ti vu Full Member

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    No. We may have potential to surpass at the point where SAF left, but at the moment, experience, mentality, we've distance to cover. Style wise, we're very similar in that we're not the most pleasant to the eye while at the time still being exciting about pace & power.
  8. Dec 14, 2017
    #8

    Raoul Admin Staff

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    We're not nearly back to where Fergie left us because we don't play with the positive SAF ethos. We are still fairly negative and defensively oriented, which sort of suggests we may never return to the old ways but instead, if we do manage to win a league or CL, it will be in classic Mourinho style.
  9. Dec 14, 2017
    #9

    Womp idiot

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    Fergie's last team were pragmatic too. We'd rely heavily on RVP and would look to and counter in some of the big games (Madrid in the CL etc.) In terms of style I think we're pretty similar.
  10. Dec 14, 2017
    #10

    AkaAkuma Full Member

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    I think that's a pessimistic view, in a season and a half he's turned us around - the mentality is there, defensive strength, who's to say that he can't add more attacking threat with a few more players.
  11. Dec 14, 2017
    #11

    King Kendrick Full Member

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    I agree with your first point, and last point, but must argue about the better teams point. We have missed PP in literally every one of them, and his absence and subsequent return showed that he is our most important outfield player. I don't think we can judge Mo properly based off our performances so far in those fixtures. We will see how the second half the season shapes that narrative.
  12. Dec 14, 2017
    #12

    Blue always red Full Member

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    I'd agree with others in the sense that I don't feel we're unbeatable anymore, whereas under SAF I'd expect us to win everytime. However, the points comparison is interesting, as the league has definitely improved now. Be interesting to see how the 11/12 team would do against this lot.
  13. Dec 14, 2017
    #13

    Bojan11 Full Member

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    In fairness like I said previously Fergie didn’t come up against the calibre of coaches Mourinho has.

    You have Conte who was the best manager in Italy. Guardiola who is one of the best in the world. Klopp who was one of the best in Germany. Potch ain’t half bad too. Then you have Wenger...

    When Wenger came he caused Fergie problems the first few years and so did Mourinho.

    I’m not saying Fergie had it easy. But he certainly didn’t have to contend with the amount of great coaches that Mourinho has had to.

    The same can be said for Van Gaal. Mourinho was the only world class coach in the league. Pellegrinni and Rodgers were not as good as Pep or Klopp. Then you have Potch improving Spurs.
  14. Dec 15, 2017
    #14

    MyOnlySolskjaer Creator of Player Performance threads

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    Yeah, the improvement from last season has been taken for granted a bit. We're definitely on the right track thus far, what's really been encouraging is the individual improvements from players such as; Martial, Rashford and Pogba compared to how they were last season. They've clearly bought into Mourinho and have shown great desire to improve. It's hard to appreciate these types of things right now but it's clear to see.

    The style is different but it genuinely feels like we have a sense of direction that could actually win big things, I didn't feel that with Van Gaal or Moyes. Room for improvement of course but all in all, I'm happy.
  15. Dec 15, 2017
    #15

    Bastian Full Member

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    Didn't we improve in the 2nd half of seasons normally, under Fergie?
  16. Dec 15, 2017
    #16

    Yakuza_devils Full Member

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    In any normal season, we will be challenging for the league. Unfortunately, this season City is having the best run in history.

    I fear that it will be even harder to compete against them in future. They are sponsored by a country and looking to add Sanchez and a defender in January and unlimited funds in the summer. They also have one of the best coach in the world.
  17. Dec 15, 2017
    #17

    golden_blunder Site admin. Manchester United fan Staff

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    Well the question was about now, not when we add more new players
  18. Dec 15, 2017
    #18

    matherto ask me about our 50% off sale!

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    I think this is wrong.

    We're much more like the Bournemouth game with very little control in a game over the majority of teams. De Gea usually has to pull out a decent save at least once against 95% of the teams we face.

    We actually rarely controlled games in the latter few years under SAF either mind. We'd get an earlyish goal and then step off the gas and allow them back into it forcing a rush at the end of the game to win more comfortably. It only highlighted how effective at doing 'enough' we were when SAF retired and we couldn't do that anymore.

    But in that sense we're still doing it with annoying regularity so maybe we're more like we were then than I realised.
  19. Dec 15, 2017
    #19

    Camilo Full Member

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    Pretty much how I feel - we don't have any real ability to break teams down, so unless they make the mistake and give us an opportunity (which of course will happen a few times in most matches) we don't really create anything...

    Contrast that to Fergies time I always felt we were more fragile as a defensive unit, but mentally far more resilient, and more gung-ho in possession - we were going to score, regardess of opposition.

    I think if we begin to assert ourselves more we'll be back at a later-Fergie-years level. There's a lot of good going on, just not enough belief.
  20. Dec 15, 2017
    #20

    AkaAkuma Full Member

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    My answer was in response to this:
    To answer the question, I'd say yes - we are in a position to have strong expectations to challenge for the league (next season and onwards), but know we might fall short. We are also capable of reaching the last 8 of the CL league, with last 4 also a possibility, even winning it if lucky.

    I don't think we were the dominant force in the league (save for winning it) when Fergie retired, we had similar expectations to the above. The leagues changed a lot since we last won 3 consecutive titles, the title passes between City, Chelsea and United.
  21. Dec 15, 2017
    #21

    ghagua Full Member

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    Absolutely. Other than against Barcelona, don't recall ever playing defensive against any English team. Yea we lost a few against the top teams, but we mostly went toe to toe with them
  22. Dec 15, 2017
    #22

    LeftyBlaster Full Member

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    Stats do not cover the qualify of football. We are way off Fergie.
  23. Dec 15, 2017
    #23

    AltiUn likes playing with swords after fantasies

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    In terms of pure quality I think the squad is in a much healthier state, our best players still have their prime years ahead of them and are relatively young. We have a very strong core of players.

    A few things I think that separates us from SAF's team is strong leadership from the experienced players we had in the team, who'd spent their careers winning title after title with us and a strong winning mentality. The will to win we had under SAF is far better than what we have now, under SAF we came from behind a tremendous amount of times to win games in that final season, if Mourinho can instil that mentality into the team I think we'll be as close to our title winning team as we can be.
  24. Dec 15, 2017
    #24

    SalfordRed18 Full Member

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    This expecting to win every game thing is a bit of bollocks tbh. Fergies penultimate season we went out the champions league in the group stage and was abundantly average in europa league. We'd never "expect" to beat chelsea or even City at that stage, and we'd always have the odd lost to a random team. Not to mention bogey teams like blackburn and middlesborough etc.

    Might look back and feel like that, but at the time dont think many united fans "expected" to win every game. I certainly have a similar amount of confidence in this team that i had in fergies post-ronaldo teams. Think Paul Pogba and Matic actually make this team better.

    Difference is there was only really ever 2, sometimes 3 teams who could compete for the league, who you'd say is a class apart. Now, next season you wouldnt be surprised at any of United, City, Chelsea, Spurs and to a lesser extent liverpool, and an even lesser extent, arsenal putting in a genuine title bid. The league and teams have gotten better, which makes it harder. This united team would have won the league in previous seasons IMO.
  25. Dec 15, 2017
    #25

    Organic Potatoes Full Member

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    For all the whinging about Jose, the approach we took towards the end of the Sir Alex era could be described as equally pragmatic and boring.
  26. Dec 15, 2017
    #26

    MacabbiUnited Full Member

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    Even if were not there yet, we are as close as we can be. In any normal season we would have been 1st or close 2nd.
    We have a strong mentality even when we dont play good(apart the City game). Our players are fighting for the club and to win.

    Fergie's last year wasnt a brillaint footballing season. It was fine, but more close to where we are today than to the great Fergie teams of the past. Today we have more talent, unfortunetly the league has gotten a lot more competitive. It's not a 2-3 horse race anymore(well this year it a 1 horse race), but whenever a season starts you can never guess who will be champions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017
  27. Dec 15, 2017
    #27

    Marcky411 Full Member

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    Fully agree, in Fergie's day you knew exactly what to expect. Now before the game you never know what Utd team is going to show up (performance wise), we have had some good games but a lot of bad performances as well.
  28. Dec 15, 2017
    #28

    youngrell Full Member

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    I disagree. The expectation was always to win the match regardless of how tough the competition was, mainly due to Fergie giving us that belief over two decades.

    Granted, some games looked a lot tougher than others, but there was always a strong belief we could win even if it wasn't quite should win.
  29. Dec 15, 2017
    #29

    Subho611 Full Member

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    Probably yes. The others are far ahead though.
  30. Dec 15, 2017
    #30

    RobinHood New Member

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    This pretty much.

    To add to that TV deals have skyrocketed, resulting in more aggressive buying of players by the top clubs since most now have money to burn.

    The one thing I do wonder about though is future-planning. When Fergie left, the team was a team of old hardened warriors. Most had a shelf life of one or two more years and the rest were average players. I’m not quite sure what our average age is as a team but I’m guessing it’s lower than that of our last title-winning squad. I’m looking at the likes of Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Lukaku, maybe Lingard and Shaw as well. Some of these may not be at the required level yet and some may even eventually just turn out to be squad players, but there seems to be some effort (I dunno if it’s intended) to groom a younger generation.
  31. Dec 15, 2017
    #31

    NFM New Member

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    The sub-text of this post says it all, 'post-Ronaldo'. Add a Ronaldo-type player into this team and you have a very good proposition. OK its not easy or cheap to find and buy one, and he will not be as good as Ronnie, but there are 'game-changing' players out there. For instance L'Pool have bought Suarez and Salah over recent years for not that much relatively. Salah is not at Ronnies level, but he is exactly the sort of player who regularly does the unexpected that would improve United's attack immensely, and he happens to play from the RW a 'vacancy' in the team.
    United can tinker, improving this position or that one, but what will make the difference is the injection of a 'genius'.
    And then United would be better than the post-Ronaldo team.
  32. Dec 15, 2017
    #32

    sunama Baghdad Bob

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    That's how I see it.
    And it makes it even more of a travesty that we wasted 3 years (with Moyes and LVG), when Jose could've been brought in immediately after SAF left.
    Had Jose come in immediately, I am sure we'd have won at least 1 league title if not 2, during the last 4 seasons.
  33. Dec 15, 2017
    #33

    KirkDuyt Full Member

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    No.

    The difference is, when Fergie left United had the swagger of being the big dog in the league. All others strove to surpass United. United were the team to beat by default. This season (if you take out City's ridiculous run) is excellent results wise. But to get back to the mentality there was in the SAF era, United need to win the league at least once or twice.

    Though you could argue that getting back to that perch isn't possible anymore because of all the new money. The new players are here to stay and the top will be more crowded than it was before.
  34. Dec 15, 2017
    #34

    careca07 New Member

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    So a feature of Sir Alex's football for me was always our blistering starts at home - maybe a sign that we did actually expect to win every game, to steamroller most teams. I realised that these days I usually don't expect us to score at Old Trafford in the first half hour of a game, in fact it's a slight surprise when we do. I did a bit of research to see how often we score at home in the first 30 mins of Premier League games, and whether it has fluctuated much in the past ten years under four different managers.

    Interestingly it seems that the more goals we score early on at home in a season, the better we do at the end of it. This is mirrored under Mourinho so far. Less attacking intent the reason perhaps? Even in SAF's seasons, when we scored less goals in the first 30 mins of games, those were the two seasons we finished second rather than first. Could be this is just a reflection of how many goals we score in a season overall, or just form in general, but might be worth a look.


    Goals scored before 30 mins, at home (league only) and final position.


    07/08 (SAF) Goals: 12 Finished: 1st

    8/09 (SAF) Goals: 14 Finished: 1st

    09/10 (SAF) Goals: 6 Finished: 2nd

    10/11 (SAF) Goals: 12 Finished: 1st

    11/12 (SAF) Goals: 9 Finished: 2nd

    12/13 (SAF) Goals: 14 Finished: 1st

    13/14 (Moyes) Goals: 6 Finished: 7th

    14/15 (LVG) Goals: 14 Finished: 4th

    15/16 (LVG) Goals: 5 Finished: 5th

    16/17 (Mourinho) Goals: 6 Finished: 6th

    17/18 (So far, Mourinho) Goals: 3 Finished: ?
  35. Dec 15, 2017
    #35

    red4ever 79 Full Member

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    Fergie left us as champions. If he had stayed another season we would have been a lot closer than 7th I can tell you that. Two terrible appointments have set us back. Mourinho knows how to win things, but his style of play and behaviour leaves a sour taste
  36. Dec 15, 2017
    #36

    Robbie Boy Full Member

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    Nope.
  37. Dec 15, 2017
    #37

    jackofalltrades Full Member

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    No, at least not in the league because we were undisputed number 1. At the moment we're hoping City collapse spectacularly while we maintain even better form merely to catch them up. Also, we hoping they don't maintain this kind of form in the coming seasons. If I remember correctly, RM got around 90 points under Pellegrini - and still came second.

    Also in the CL it's difficult to imagine us as capable of beating Barcelona, BM, PSG, RM or City. It's a knockout competition so anything is possible but against any of those would we go in as favourites at the moment ? Not for me.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  38. Dec 15, 2017
    #38

    Jacko21 Full Member

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    Well SAF left us with a league title, so I'd say no.

    The squad is healthier today and we still appear to be on an upward trajectory, so we're much closer.

    Little point comparing the style of football, given that the final couple of seasons under SAF we're bang average - that's when the sideways football started.
  39. Dec 15, 2017
    #39

    NFM New Member

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    Don't believe this idea that the league has more competition at the top than before. Only 3 teams can win the title before the season started and they are occupying the top 3 spots. Burnley are doing as well as the rest. City have had an abnormal first half, but Peps teams always do, lets see what happens over a full season as the physical toll of playing the high press starts to be felt in Feb/March. Points-wise United are doing as you would expect of a serious challenger.
  40. Dec 15, 2017
    #40

    2plus2is4 New Member

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    I think we have the potential to be better than the 2013 Team. But I also think the opposition also improved a lot since then.