Did we focus on the wrong area of the pitch in the summer?

Untd55

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I know people will say that we needed defenders in the summer due to the 50 goals we conceded last season but was it the right call to recruit in that position over midfield and attack this summer?

I would say that that was a poor decision to make, particularly when you are trying to keep hold of your job. The fact of the matter is we needed to at least be somewhat entertaining this season, but we decided to spend most of the money on defenders.

Let us be honest, the vast majority of entertainment comes from the midfield and attack. The defence is just another part of the game, but nobody would solely go to watch a team of defenders play against each other. The attack and midfield are where goals are scored and created, and fluid play is generated.

The other issue of focusing on defence is the maximum you can get out of that is a draw. They are not going to win you games but just stop you from losing. The attack and midfield, on the other hand, can score goals, which is the actual aim of the game.

The 50 goals conceded were not solely down to the defence, but also our inept midfield, which is even worse now that we have to start the likes of McTominay. Improving the midfield would likely have lessened the goals we conceded due to the team's ability to assert itself on games more.

Teams should be built on a solid attack and midfield. With only a solid defence, the team is going to struggle to assert itself on games, fail to create chances and goals.

Yes, we need defenders eventually, but it was just another bad idea to prioritise it over attack and midfield. I think if we had chosen to sign players for midfield and attack first, we would be seeing more entertaining play and better results (although, obviously not perfect). This would have seemed far more promising.
 

bosnian_red

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Yes it absolutely was our dire position of need. The logic in the attack was to give Martial and Rashford bigger roles and with their potential, hope they step up. Unfortunately Martial got injured 2 games in and has missed over 2 months. It's still light, but there was the potential for it to work out ok. Midfield we needed, but we didnt strengthen presumably because they wanted to give McTominay the holding midfield role (questionable, and we'll surely need one next summer but hes done alright tbf).

Centerback was shite for ages, and we made the signing we should have made a year ago. Absolutely in no way was it the wrong decision, Wan Bissaka and Maguire were expensive but both were exactly what we needed. The only problem was that we needed more signings.
 

stepic

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we needed to upgrade defence.

given the losses of Lukaku, Sanchez, Herrera, even Fellaini though, we also needed to upgrade midfield and attack, too.

the team is woefully short on quality and even at the start of the season looking at the squad, it isn't actually a top 4 squad. the board gambled way too much on the kids if they seriously thought this squad would be enough.
 

Coxy

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Yes our defence desperately needed upgrading. The problem is so did the other areas.
 

Greck

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Remember how all of last season we kept hearing a Ball playing CB would unlock the attack. If we didn't buy one people would have been fuming
 

RedSky

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Centerback was shite for ages, and we made the signing we should have made a year ago. Absolutely in no way was it the wrong decision, Wan Bissaka and Maguire were expensive but both were exactly what we needed. The only problem was that we needed more signings.
Agreed. I mean how can anyone even attempt to argue this? We had no genuine RB for years and were making do with Ashley Young who everyone knows is diabolical at RB. Then we had everyone on the forum complaining about Jones and Smalling for months if not years. First choice CB and RB were 100% required in the Summer.

The error was simply not backing the Manager enough when it was clear we were going to struggle in midfield with the sale of Fellaini and Herrera leaving. Given that Matic looked poor at the end of the last season too it was pretty obvious we were going to be left with no options. We're basically limping our way to the Winter window where no doubt we'll correct the Summer window and bring in at least a CM and probably a CF.
 

markhughes

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We are trying to build something and any half decent team needs a solid base. We had all been crying out for a new CB, RB and a winger for quite some time.

As bad as things are right now I'd say that the new signings give me at least a glimmer of hope for Ole, just about.
 

Ziggy Starduster

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No. We could argue that we desperately needed a decent LB too, but I was more than happy with who came in. My issues, as with many others, was the lack of more quality in CM and attacking areas.
If Woodward said there was only so much money available, then perhaps we over spent on 2 defenders. Maybe have bought AWB and a decent CM to protect the back 4 better.
Not buying replacements for the outgoing players was/is criminal at this level. It's bad management from Ole thought to the CEO.
 

roonster09

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Yes it absolutely was our dire position of need. The logic in the attack was to give Martial and Rashford bigger roles and with their potential, hope they step up. Unfortunately Martial got injured 2 games in and has missed over 2 months. It's still light, but there was the potential for it to work out ok. Midfield we needed, but we didnt strengthen presumably because they wanted to give McTominay the holding midfield role (questionable, and we'll surely need one next summer but hes done alright tbf).

Centerback was shite for ages, and we made the signing we should have made a year ago. Absolutely in no way was it the wrong decision, Wan Bissaka and Maguire were expensive but both were exactly what we needed. The only problem was that we needed more signings.
Signing CB and RB was priority and we didn't spend much in the summer, should have signed CM, RW and ST too. We had net spend of 65-70 million which isn't enough for a team that needed so many players.
 

charlenefan

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Easy saying it was wrong now with the gift of hindsight

That being said though maybe we should have seen it coming, we sacked the last manager because he was defensive minded in an attacking age, maybe now it is all about trying to outscore the opposition rather than worrying about keeping clean sheets. The best sides obviously get it right at both ends of the pitch but when starting out now maybe you do need to fix your attack first (that's how Klopp did it at Liverpool after all)
 

HowYouDoin

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If you sell Lukaku and loan Sanchez and don't bring any attackers...
and if you sell Hererra and Fellaini and don't bring any midfielders...

It's not too complicated..
 

Andi Latte

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No.
Defense was the worst part of our team before the summer. Young, Smalling, Jones et al featured heavily while conceding lots of goals, even during Ole's winning run. The ineptude of our defense also highlighted De Gea's bad form during the run in, a better back four would have mitigated his errors somewhat and maybe we would have made top 4.

Also, football managers first and foremost don't care about entertainment, that's a fan/spectator thing, they care about winning. Everyone, including Ole (and Jose before him), was under the assumption that if we get a better defense, midfield and attack could act more freely and therefore produce more, resulting in winning. Entertainment is something that comes afterwards, after the foundations were laid.

So focusing on defense was a good first step in improving the team. The major downfall was at the same time allowing to lose 2 midfielders and 2 attackers and replacing none of them, which is why we now have a better defense but all other areas were weakened significantly.
 
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Zlatattack

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I know people will say that we needed defenders in the summer due to the 50 goals we conceded last season but was it the right call to recruit in that position over midfield and attack this summer?

I would say that that was a poor decision to make, particularly when you are trying to keep hold of your job. The fact of the matter is we needed to at least be somewhat entertaining this season, but we decided to spend most of the money on defenders.

Let us be honest, the vast majority of entertainment comes from the midfield and attack. The defence is just another part of the game, but nobody would solely go to watch a team of defenders play against each other. The attack and midfield are where goals are scored and created, and fluid play is generated.

The other issue of focusing on defence is the maximum you can get out of that is a draw. They are not going to win you games but just stop you from losing. The attack and midfield, on the other hand, can score goals, which is the actual aim of the game.

The 50 goals conceded were not solely down to the defence, but also our inept midfield, which is even worse now that we have to start the likes of McTominay. Improving the midfield would likely have lessened the goals we conceded due to the team's ability to assert itself on games more.

Teams should be built on a solid attack and midfield. With only a solid defence, the team is going to struggle to assert itself on games, fail to create chances and goals.

Yes, we need defenders eventually, but it was just another bad idea to prioritise it over attack and midfield. I think if we had chosen to sign players for midfield and attack first, we would be seeing more entertaining play and better results (although, obviously not perfect). This would have seemed far more promising.
No, we just didn't focus on enough areas of the pitch.

Look back at the start of the summer, nearly everyone said we needed a RB, CB, CM, RW ST.

We got a RB, CB and a LW, but not a CM, RW or a ST.
 

zenith

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Our major mistakes in the transfer markets have to be letting Herrera leave and selling lukaku without a credible replacement. Though brushing up the defence was the absolute right thing to do and I'm so glad we did it.
 

OverratedOpinion

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We needed and still need improvements in all areas.

Selling our best striker (justified) and most experienced attacker without signing a replacement was an absolute disgrace. Not to mention our second best midfielder.

The fact that Tielemans and Ben Yedder were both attainable for roughly as much as we sold Lukaku for only compounds that feeling.
 

ifightdragons

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Yes it absolutely was our dire position of need. The logic in the attack was to give Martial and Rashford bigger roles and with their potential, hope they step up. Unfortunately Martial got injured 2 games in and has missed over 2 months. It's still light, but there was the potential for it to work out ok.

Centerback was shite for ages, and we made the signing we should have made a year ago.
You've missed something crucial; Rashford has been just as shite most of his United career. He is sadly one of the most overrated young players in the PL.
To say there was potential for Martial and Rashford to work out, is ludicrous. When have they ever provided 40+ goals between them during a season?
They've never even been somewhat close to providing a worthy goal ratio, and neither have they shown anything to suggest otherwise. Especially not Rashford.

So it's more than fair to say that we royally screwed the pooch by not getting a striker with a goal guarantee of 20+ per season.
And it's just as fair to say that there was almost no potential for Rashford and Martial to actually provide this. No evidence supports it.
 
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Skills

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Good teams build on the idea they will have the initiative to score. So it's stupid to "build from the back"
 

Jezpeza

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I know people will say that we needed defenders in the summer due to the 50 goals we conceded last season but was it the right call to recruit in that position over midfield and attack this summer?

I would say that that was a poor decision to make, particularly when you are trying to keep hold of your job. The fact of the matter is we needed to at least be somewhat entertaining this season, but we decided to spend most of the money on defenders.

Let us be honest, the vast majority of entertainment comes from the midfield and attack. The defence is just another part of the game, but nobody would solely go to watch a team of defenders play against each other. The attack and midfield are where goals are scored and created, and fluid play is generated.

The other issue of focusing on defence is the maximum you can get out of that is a draw. They are not going to win you games but just stop you from losing. The attack and midfield, on the other hand, can score goals, which is the actual aim of the game.

The 50 goals conceded were not solely down to the defence, but also our inept midfield, which is even worse now that we have to start the likes of McTominay. Improving the midfield would likely have lessened the goals we conceded due to the team's ability to assert itself on games more.

Teams should be built on a solid attack and midfield. With only a solid defence, the team is going to struggle to assert itself on games, fail to create chances and goals.

Yes, we need defenders eventually, but it was just another bad idea to prioritise it over attack and midfield. I think if we had chosen to sign players for midfield and attack first, we would be seeing more entertaining play and better results (although, obviously not perfect). This would have seemed far more promising.
to put it honestly, we’ve got a good back 6 now. We need to build a new midfield and new attack. If Mctominay hadnt emerged this year we’d need 3 class midfielders (i just dont see Pogba being longterm) and probably 3 new forwards as what we have isnt what we need. Wouldn't be surprised if the plan is to sort it department by department, thats how bad things have got
 

Neil_Buchanan

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It was wrong to focus on one area when we are lacking throughout the squad. You obviously cannot buy a full team in one window but we should have done much more.
 

Roboc7

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We needed a RW and CM every bit as much as a CB, if not more.

I don’t think it was necessarily right or wrong to start on defence it was just wrong not to get more players. It was so obvious when the window shut that we were in trouble.
 

davidmichael

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Didn’t Sir Alex go out and sign Steve Bruce and then a year later break the British transfer record for Gary Pallister ? Also I’m sure his first signing was Viv Anderson too and Jim Leighton was one of his first signings as was Mal Donaghy.

I’ve heard or read on numerous occasions that Sir Alex built his teams from the back and he broke the transfer record for a defender not only with Pallister but also Stam and Rio, Ole isn’t the man to take us forward but I think even Stevie Wonder could see what a shambles we were at the back which is why our top four ambitions died last season after that great run.
 

MisterLupus

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No we desperately needed defenders that was a really sound investment I almost pissed my pants every time one of them touched the ball last season and even more so whenever the opposition got hold of the ball. Every match was a waiting game of "who'll feck it up next I wonder?" and nerve-wrecking to behold. Problem wasn't that we reinforced our defense - problem was we didn't do the same to our midfield and offensive setup. And it's a huge mistake - unforgivable so even - as that's pretty much the one weak spot we're suffering from these days.
 

romufc

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Not surprised with this thread.

If we didn't sign a RB and/or CB and we were playing crap and conceding 2 goals a game and scoring 1/2 we would have the opposite thread.

I think we targeted the defence which was important but we also neglected RW/CAM position especially if Ole knew he wants to play 4-2-3-1.

Clearly he made that decision a long time ago so why go into a season with that formation with Mata, Lingard and Andreas the options. Pretty poor in my opinion.
 

Sir Scott McToMinay

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We simply had to buy more players, a lot more, it isn’t about a specific area, although now we have got ourselves a top 4 material defense, our attack is relegation fodder and the midfield is simply crap, we have 2 usable midfielders, one of these is a crock who doesn’t want to be here the other 2 are championship level at best.
 
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settembrini

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The signings we made were good.

We also tried for a #10 (Dybala, maybe Eriksen) but couldn't get one. Given the awful performances of Lingard and Mata then not signing one is looking like a mistake but it's impossible to know who is to blame and to what extent.

The most clear and obvious blunder was not signing a right winger. We don't have one in our entire squad. That is absolutely insane given we are using 4-2-3-1 exclusively and so need at least two for cover and competition. I remember people got upset at Ferguson because he once went a few years without signing a centre midfielder. Currently we haven't signed a right winger in over a decade.
 

Nickelodeon

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We had to upgrade on our defence. Ashley Young was a designated as a first team player (not that it has made a difference).

We had to upgrade on our attack but the reason we're in such dire straits is because we inexplicably downgraded. With Lukaku and Sanchez in the squad, at least it would look good on paper. A front three of Lukaku, Sanchez and Rashford looks much more menacing than Rashford, James and Pereira.
 

Massive Spanner

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We definitely needed a right-back, no question.

We also needed a center back, but we were well stocked in that area, we have plenty of players who can play there, the problem is they weren't good enough for a top team, so you could say Maguire was a good purchase, the problem is that we bought him at the expense of areas where we literally have no backup whatsoever.

£80m would've been better spent on a top striker, midfielder, or right winger, than on a center back who is a marginal upgrade on Chris Smalling.
 

UpWithRivers

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We would be better off buying no one and keeping the players we had - Herrera, Smalling, Lukaku - maybe even Sanchez and even Fellaini. Heck bring Blind back and play him DM.
 

Ekeke

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We definitely didn't address the most important areas in the way they should have been.

RW, AM, DM are all positions up for grabs.

Smalling and Lindelof would have been fine at CB for another season as our goals conceded came from Mourinho destabilizing the defense with his comments in the summer and lumping Ander, McTominay and Fellaini in as extra CBs instead of letting the CBs sink or swim. He created a problem that wasnt there before he acted. When Ole came in we had none of that nonsense, just played 2 CBs and our defensive record improved. Dalot would hopefully have improved this season for RB as well
 

Enigma_87

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We definitely did.

Most important thing for a top team is a CF. You can't go into a long season without a proven goalscorer.

Defence even could've been put on hold - midfield and attack was more urgent business, especially considering we lost a lot of senior players in those lines.
 

bosnian_red

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Signing CB and RB was priority and we didn't spend much in the summer, should have signed CM, RW and ST too. We had net spend of 65-70 million which isn't enough for a team that needed so many players.
Yep exactly. There was never going to be a 1 or 2 signing answer where if we only make 1 or 2 signings, what is the best option. We had basically 5/6 starting positions that absolutely needed replacing - RB, CB, CDM, CAM, RW and then striker if they don't believe Martial or Rashford can be that guy (personally believe Martial can, but we still need striker depth anyway). We made 2 excellent signings for RB and CB, but we still lack a proper holding midfielder, have average players at CAM, don't have anyone who is natural on the right wing, and our main striker has been injured all year while we have basically no depth. Last summer (2018) we needed a midfielder, a right winger, a right back and a center back. Our right back was a youngster who isn't ready and probably not good enough anyway. Our midfielder is looking a massive flop and barely plays. Which meant this summer we again needed all 4 of those, along with a holding midfielder as Matic is definitely not capable anymore, and a squad attacking player as all hopes for Sanchez were gone. So because we fecked up 2018, we needed 6 players last summer. We signed 3, basically playing catch up from the previous summer.

Next summer, we'll need a holding mid (again), a creative mid, a right winger (again), and a starting or squad striker (depending on Martial) and that's if we sell nobody of use. We can't ever sort our side out and get ahead of things because we're playing catch up and doing things we shouldve done 1 or 2 years ago every summer, and then addressing the new issues a year later (by which time a new issue pops up). We need a big summer sorting it all out for once.
 

Sandikan

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Only United could spend 150m in the summer and still only have a Goalie and Right Back as positions that 100% do not need an upgrade.

You could strongly argue left mid as well, between Rashy, Martial and James, but they still all have the jury out on them really.
 

AneRu

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I think we sold ourselves short and the decision to not spend whether it was deliberate or through a failure to bring in the right players and it will cost us more. From a budgetary point of view to spend just 70m net it was scandalous but if the money was there and decisions were made to wait for the right player/s then Ole has short himself in the foot. We needed at least a midfielder and a top right winger to have some semblance of balance and a chance to fight for top 4. The decision to sell Lukaku and not replace him was insane.

If Ole knew that he would have only 70m net to spend then the decision to go after 130m odd on Maguire and Wan Bissaka was just bad because going for cheaper alternatives and squeeze in a midfielder or a RW. There are lots of center halves and right backs priced in the 30m - 40m range that we could have brought in and spent another 50m on a midfielder.
 

Irwin99

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They could have focused on both defence AND midfield/attack. People are letting the board off way too lightly saying 'well we sorted out the defence so it was a positive window'. Reality is we made three signings and lost more players than we brought in. It's not mutually exclusive, a club with the stature and financial power of United should have been planning at the end of last season which looked to be heading for a big collapse a month or so after the PSG game. Obviously, negotiating between clubs is not easy but I can't believe that getting a cheap stop gap signing like Mandzukic would have been such a big effort to get.
 
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The signings we made were fine, we should have retained Herrera and Lukaku, and signed a right winger.

de Gea
Wan Bissaka Lindelof Maguire Shaw
McTominay
Herrera Pogba
New RW Lukaku Martial
That's a oretty good team.

 

ash_86

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We had a very crappy defense and few potential attackers in first team and academy. I think the idea was to upgrade the defense which gives us a solid foundation and then see which attacker in the first team and the academy can grab the spot. But unfortunately injuries to Martial happened too quickly and the young players had to be thrown right into the mix rather than easing them in which has not helped.