Comparing old United teams to the current one

Red in STL

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Do you attribute that to injuries suffered on the pitch or is it more related to recovery, rehabilitation and fitness and strength coaches being less common and not as educated?

Edit: I'm 35 and am like this and I quit football at 18. Misdiagnosed by a doctor, not properly treated (same knee problem as Scholes) and got not strength training and trained excessively so muscle injuries were common.
IMO it's a combination, players get all sorts of injections to allow them to play when they really shouldn't be playing, sometimes players need protecting from themselves

Look at the longevity players have today, without the 'protection' the likes of Messi & Ronaldo would have been long finished, some of the tackling rules have gone too though far I agree

I played cricket, it caused me ankle problems and I had to stop playing in my early 20's, it took 10-15 years to get over the ankle issues and even now, 40 years later they're still a tad iffy at times!
 

adexkola

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A few months ago I happened to stumble upon a replay of a match between Newcastle and Manchester United at St. James Park in the 06-07 season. In the moment I almost made a thread to report on my observations, which I can confirm were of the "old man yells at cloud" tradition

Seriously though, night and day between that kind of game and the games we have today.

1. The pace of the game was insane. Like others have said, no recycling of possession at the back. Forward pass and go, on both sides. Either through an incisive ground ball or a long hoof and second ball claim in midfield.

2. Our work rate was matched by our technical level. No player in that team stood out as a sore thumb. Park was playing, he'd walk into our team today. First touch on the run or turn was drilled into every player we had.

3. Duels were more emphasized on both ends. Ronaldo was tasked with either beating his man or floating between the lines with Rooney slightly withdrawn and popping up everywhere.

4. The direct nature of the game allowed Newcastle to match us. They had more chances as a result of the back and forth. Milner (wtf???) scores a scorcher from outside the box after being backed off of. Scholes scores a long range goal (ends up with a brace). I think all goals were from outside the box

5. The atmosphere at St James Park looked like it was rocking. feck Mike Ashley

6. The lack of VAR was barely noticed watching this game. Doesn't mean I don't like VAR, but something about the nonstop action for 45 minutes that has me reconsidering

Standards have definitely dropped at United. There was a minimum level of proficiency and effort that is simply lacking today.

Also, I usually laugh at suggestions that Pep is to blame for football transitioning to this, however, I think he's realized throughout the years that as a top side you increase your chances of winning the game when you reduce the chaos. Example: Real Madrid coming back against City vs City comprehensively dunking Real the season after

The chaos is what a lot of fans like, but it simply lets the other team in. There's no putting that genie back in the bottle unless you have IFAB/FIFA put in rules to limit slow and safe passing some kind of wah
 
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Snow

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IMO it's a combination, players get all sorts of injections to allow them to play when they really shouldn't be playing, sometimes players need protecting from themselves

Look at the longevity players have today, without the 'protection' the likes of Messi & Ronaldo would have been long finished, some of the tackling rules have gone too though far I agree

I played cricket, it caused me ankle problems and I had to stop playing in my early 20's, it took 10-15 years to get over the ankle issues and even now, 40 years later they're still a tad iffy at times!
I think Messi and Ronaldo can play this long because the other players around them run 20-35% more every match. Messi is also notoriously tame in training. Basically he's in rest mode if he's not in possession.

Ronaldo changed his game and stopped dribbling all together. There aren't many opportunies to even foul him besides using your hands because he doesn't touch the ball too much and hasn't for close to 10 years.

The longevity is also explained by having better food, nutrionists, they don't drink or smoke, they sleep well, they are well taken care off if they have problems.

I think those factors weigh a lot more. If you look at all the injuries in football the amount of them caused by an opposition player is very low in my opinion. That depends on what you consider low though.
 

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The big thing about all the teams I can remember outside of them simply having better players is the average players who made up the squad were all absolute grafters, you'd get maximum effort from them. Players like Fletcher, Park, O'Shea, even someone as peripheral as Greening worked their socks off. It really all comes down to culture which is why I do find it tragic how much criticism ETH gets as it appears he's the first since LVG who is really pushing them on discipline and they seem on the cusp of rebelling again. You have to find a coach, even if he's not the one who is going to win the big trophies, back him and force out these lazy or fickle players (of which sadly I think we still have a number) in order to build a different mindset at the club.

United is probably the hardest place to do that, we have players on fat contracts and have had 5+ years of mollycoddling to tease out of the club now but you have to start somewhere and stick to the plan.
 

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It's like comparing a Michelin star beef Wellington to a bag of turds
Fergie was the main difference. He won the league with Tom Cleverley in midfield, one of the biggest flexes ever.
We had standards back then

Players like Bruno / Rashford would get a nice hairdryer back in those days and would probably dropped like a sack of potato by Fergie
Going back even further. Watch old videos of Charlton, Law, Kidd, and Aston. They were always looking for space, always dragging opposition players around. Look at the amount of times opposition attacks were thwarted in their own half of the pitch because of the high defensive work of our forwards.
Should be pinned/stapled/tattooed to the inside of the current first-team squad's eyelids and not removed until we get our trophy back...
 

Pogue Mahone

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I've probably started a similar version of this thread before at some point, but, I was watching our 2009/2010 League cup second leg vs City on MUTV earlier, and it was just interesting to watch that United team (which I remember being underwhelming compared to the previous seasons) compared to the current one.

A few (mainly obvious) things that it was pretty difficult not to note due to how stark the contract was:

1) We used to have MUCH better footballers. Near enough every pass was precise, every player could bring the ball under control and keep possession even under tight pressure from multiple opponents. Most of the decision making was very good. Every player seemed both composed but would also move the ball immediately rather than need 2-3 seconds to think about where to play it. Every single pass seemed to have a forward thinking purpose to it. No one was falling to the floor the second they were challenged because they were all strong enough to hold the opponent off unless there was an opportunistic reason to win a foul. Then obviously there's Scholes who would just make the whole game look easy. I don't think its an exaggeration to say any player in that team would be our best player now. Apart from probably Fletcher, but then even with him I'm not sure if he was just quiet because Carrick and Scholes were next to him.

2) We used to have players who worked MUCH harder and were far more pro-active. A little bit damning on the current team, but watching this game back really brought it into contrast. Every player is constantly on the move. Defensively as soon as the ball is loose there is ALWAYS a United player either first to pick it up or immediately challenging for it. The reaction is instant. As soon as one player engages defensively, the forward or midfielder on that side is reacting to act as cover. The team looked like a well drilled hard working unit and you could see how much more difficult it was making it for an actually pretty decent City side to even string a spell of possession together. Compare that to now where I wouldn't say we are lazy, but most of our players don't even seem to react until an opponent has already picked up the ball. Even Nani who I remember being quite infuriating, would stick out like a sore thumb now due to being so much more disciplined and hard working/aggressive than all of our other forwards. This probably contributes somewhat to point 1 above

3) Walking while in possession of the ball. Not a single United player did this, at a single point, in the entire 90 minutes. They were either running with it or passing it. I remember it infuriated me when this walking about in possession started to creep into our game, and now it seems to be standard, particularly for our defenders. Rio/Vidic (or Evans in this case) are giving the ball straight to the midfield or moving purposely into space. There isn't time for the opposition to set and face them and it visibly makes a difference because it means as soon as we're in possession we are on the attack. None of the 3 minutes of dithering about between the back four before the ball even attempts to go anywhere. Maybe this was a bit different if we played teams who sat back, but I don't remember it being.

4) The idea SAF was tactically naive or had started to be left behind by the modern game, I think is somewhat of a myth. The way were set up and playing was very similar to how a lot of the better sides play now. Aggressive and organised out of possession and then direct in possession, but with little to no percentage balls. VDS sweeping around is area and rarely if ever punting it aimlessly up the pitch apart from in the 90th minute. Boxing opponents in, passing patterns, deliberate exploiting of space. The team pressing and dropping off as a unit with noticeable difference between pressing and defensive shape. It was blatant there was a lot of tactical organisation drilled into the team and I think that's something it was harder to notice at the time because we'd just take it for granted as a basic base level of every performance, for years. I would say the pace and athleticism of the game in the modern day has definitely increased, but even so I don't think many current teams could live with that United side as it was then, because there was just no real let up in the physicality and its not like any of them were slow.

5) Howard Webb was a genuinely terrible referee, even by today's standards. I mean Jesus fecking christ. No wonder things are getting worse under him.

6) Craig Bellamy. Not a point to note other than that I forgot how irrationally angry he always was. What a weirdo.
Don’t take this the wrong way but I guarantee that if we were to dig out your thoughts on those performances/that team from watching them at the time the summary would be a hell of a lot less positive than what you just wrote there!
 

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I think Messi and Ronaldo can play this long because the other players around them run 20-35% more every match. Messi is also notoriously tame in training. Basically he's in rest mode if he's not in possession.

Ronaldo changed his game and stopped dribbling all together. There aren't many opportunies to even foul him besides using your hands because he doesn't touch the ball too much and hasn't for close to 10 years.

The longevity is also explained by having better food, nutrionists, they don't drink or smoke, they sleep well, they are well taken care off if they have problems.

I think those factors weigh a lot more. If you look at all the injuries in football the amount of them caused by an opposition player is very low in my opinion. That depends on what you consider low though.
Possibly but unlikely, no matter what you do to keep fit, do all the right things and so on, you can't do anything about the injuries that would have happened 30 odd years ago with the type of tackles that were allowed, look at United's players from the 90's, most of them were done at the top level at 32 or 33
 

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Don’t take this the wrong way but I guarantee that if we were to dig out your thoughts on those performances/that team from watching them at the time the summary would be a hell of a lot less positive than what you just wrote there!
Yeah I pretty much know for a fact that would be the case. If anything I was much more critical back then, but it's because you adjust your expectations for the standards the team sets, and that team was coming off the back of 3pl wins and 2cl final appearances in a row, and it was a genuine disappointment/concern if we only won a home game 2-0. I also think as I touched on we just took a lot of things SAF instilled into every performance for granted.

That team finished 2nd by 1 point, lost the league to the most offside goal in history, reached the cl quarter final and were unluvky against Bayern, and won the league cup, which was seen as a massive failure at the time. That would be our best season by a country mile post SAF.
 

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Yeah I pretty much know for a fact that would be the case. If anything I was much more critical back then, but it's because you adjust your expectations for the standards the team sets, and that team was coming off the back of 3pl wins and 2cl final appearances in a row, and it was a genuine disappointment/concern if we only won a home game 2-0. I also think as I touched on we just took a lot of things SAF instilled into every performance for granted.

That team finished 2nd by 1 point, lost the league to the most offside goal in history, reached the cl quarter final and were unluvky against Bayern, and won the league cup, which was seen as a massive failure at the time. That would be our best season by a country mile post SAF.
Fair play for admitting that. I think I was pretty much always looking on the bright side back then. So I do feel as though I was able to properly appreciate us being good, while we were actually good. Which is comforting. That's long beaten out of me now though. So much so that I reckon I'll be extremely negative about the team long past the point we actually become good again (assuming that ever happens)
 

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Fair play for admitting that. I think I was pretty much always looking on the bright side back then. So I do feel as though I was able to properly appreciate us being good, while we were actually good. Which is comforting. That's long beaten out of me now though. So much so that I reckon I'll be extremely negative about the team long past the point we actually become good again (assuming that ever happens)
Were you singing it as well?
 

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Fair play for admitting that. I think I was pretty much always looking on the bright side back then. So I do feel as though I was able to properly appreciate us being good, while we were actually good. Which is comforting. That's long beaten out of me now though. So much so that I reckon I'll be extremely negative about the team long past the point we actually become good again (assuming that ever happens)
I think I'm probably as negative, just more accepting since now its actually justified rather than nitpicky. I still appreciated when we were good...I took losing worse because it was a genuine shock if it was to anyone other than prime Barcelona. Now anything above West Ham and I'm already pre-prepared for the possibility of a convincing defeat.

Also nowadays I'm just as likely to get irked by over the top or completely made up criticism of individual players, as I am to be joining in with criticism. I feel as a fan base we're still applying 2008 standards to a team that's a mish mash of teenagers, players who CAN be that good when they're at 9/10 or higher, and players other teams have decided they no longer want. The equivalent of when we would just let someone like Arsenal have Silvestre because we knew it meant our players were still better.
 

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I think I'm probably as negative, just more accepting since now its actually justified rather than nitpicky. I still appreciated when we were good...I took losing worse because it was a genuine shock if it was to anyone other than prime Barcelona. Now anything above West Ham and I'm already pre-prepared for the possibility of a convincing defeat.

Also nowadays I'm just as likely to get irked by over the top or completely made up criticism of individual players, as I am to be joining in with criticism. I feel as a fan base we're still applying 2008 standards to a team that's a mish mash of teenagers, players who CAN be that good when they're at 9/10 or higher, and players other teams have decided they no longer want. The equivalent of when we would just let someone like Arsenal have Silvestre because we knew it meant our players were still better.
That really pisses me off as well
 

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Our old teams compared to the one now shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same conversation…
 

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2000s united were structured without the ball, tracking back and covering pitch miles after miles. But the moment we had the ball we were artistic, moving forward with clear singular purpose. Not the current crap of sideways and passive passings. Fearless. No team plays like that anymore.
 

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Well you have to go back to 1975 or so before relagation to compare.. this current side has no characters no leaders no finishers and no passion .. weak keeper and it runs through the whole team.. bad transfer window.. realy bad .. players not needed brought in..
 

ElDiabloRojo

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The 85 squad would bring this current shower of shit drinking, and be amazed at them falling asleep after their half a Pina whatever cocktail or Pink Gin, they would then try and beat some sort of fight out of them but would give up and get super pissed instead as it would be impossible, they have no fight, desire or b0ll0cks.

Rant over ;-) ....for now.
 

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One of Fergie’s best traits was that he never allowed complacency to creep in. We still out worked, out fought and wanted it more than the rest even with the most talented players. He put that into them, and he always said “if you can out work the opposition, your talent will do the rest”.

Hardly a revolutionary thing to say, but getting every player to understand and carry that out for over 20 years is a different thing altogether.
 

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One of Fergie’s best traits was that he never allowed complacency to creep in. We still out worked, out fought and wanted it more than the rest even with the most talented players. He put that into them, and he always said “if you can out work the opposition, your talent will do the rest”.

Hardly a revolutionary thing to say, but getting every player to understand and carry that out for over 20 years is a different thing altogether.
I think thats what being a good manager cones down to in a nutshell. There's different ways to set up and play, and even if you're not a tactical expert you can hire someone who is, but the hard part is getting a bunch of millionaires with massive egos to actually believe in what you're asking them to do and run themselves into the ground every single week doing it.
 

ErikElevenHag

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This squad is laughably bad compared to what we used to have. Not a single player would start in our pre 2013 PL sides. Any season.
Stuff like this is really funny. Yes we're shit, but this definitely isn't true. we've had some shit regulars in our regular line-ups even in the glory years, they were just carried by a core of very special players with elite mentality.

Before Evra came we had Heinze, Sylvestre and O'shea playing LB, Luke Shaw is a far better left back than all 3 of them. that's just one example, we've had seasons where Phil Jones has played 30 games predominantly in midfield, you're telling me Casemiro wouldn't start ahead of him?
 

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Chalk and poo

not a single current player would get in the 92, 99, 08 teams

and thats where we aspire to be.

the comparisons in all positions across all previous successful teams are laughable

Stam, Rio, Vida…maguire

ince, Keane, Carrick, Scholes…McTominay

Cantona, Hughes, Cole, yorke, Rooney…Hojlund

Sharpe, Giggs, kanchelskis, beckham, ronaldo…Anthony

Irwin, Neville, Evra, brown…Dalot

honestly it’s no wonder we’re miles off the top. The ability of the current squad is a long way short.
 

Leftback99

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Stuff like this is really funny. Yes we're shit, but this definitely isn't true. we've had some shit regulars in our regular line-ups even in the glory years, they were just carried by a core of very special players with elite mentality.

Before Evra came we had Heinze, Sylvestre and O'shea playing LB, Luke Shaw is a far better left back than all 3 of them. that's just one example, we've had seasons where Phil Jones has played 30 games predominantly in midfield, you're telling me Casemiro wouldn't start ahead of him?
Shaw for a couple of season between Irwin and Evra i'll give you.

Jones never had a season where he was 'predominantly' in midfield, he filled in for a few games when others were missing. Current level Casemiro gets nowhere near Carrick and Scholes.

You might find the odd gap where we were at our worst but pick the best starting line up from each season and you'll struggle to get more than Shaw in.
 

Murder on Zidane's Floor

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Christ, I'm watching Neville's soccer box and he's with Pires.

Starts with a game at Highbury on 01, gold kit.

How the feck we didn't walk every game, the squad is insane. Keane, Scholes, Neville, Nistelrooy, Beckham, Veron, Wes Brown.

Just top quality.

Edit, except Barthez who to this day, I believe gave goals deliberately to his French team mates, always passed to them!
 
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Irwin99

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Christ, I'm watching Neville's soccer box and he's with Pires.

Starts with a game at Highbury on 01, gold kit.

How the feck we didn't walk every game, the squad is insane. Keane, Scholes, Neville, Nistelrooy, Beckham, Veron, Wes Brown.

Just top quality.

Edit, except Barthez who to this day, I believe gave goals deliberately to his French team mates, always passed to them!
That was a bad bad game, i rewatched it in lockdown. Everyone except Keane and Scholes were shite and even they struggled to get anything going and Barthez was awful. I've seen people give him credit for his performance before the errors but a lot of the shots were fairly easy ones to save. And then came his mistakes that cost us the game. Silvestre too, my god! he had some great qualities as a player and I think he got an assist for our goal but he was really error prone.

We definitely had bad performances with those old teams but they bounced back and what was a bad period of form for a player would last a month or two at most but not entire seasons. I think that's what frustrates me most about some of our current squad. Talented players but they can go months and months and even seasons on wretched form all the while being some of the highest paid players in the squad.
 

Murder on Zidane's Floor

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That was a bad bad game, i rewatched it in lockdown. Everyone except Keane and Scholes were shite and even they struggled to get anything going and Barthez was awful. I've seen people give him credit for his performance before the errors but a lot of the shots were fairly easy ones to save. And then came his mistakes that cost us the game. Silvestre too, my god! he had some great qualities as a player and I think he got an assist for our goal but he was really error prone.

We definitely had bad performances with those old teams but they bounced back and what was a bad period of form for a player would last a month or two at most but not entire seasons. I think that's what frustrates me most about some of our current squad. Talented players but they can go months and months and even seasons on wretched form all the while being some of the highest paid players in the squad.
Fortune looked disabled, honestly so poor and off the pace. He had good games but that was atrocious.