Our tough start to the season and how it hides our good progress

Siorac

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The problem we have is, whilst this can all be seen as very valid points. It is sort of negated by the fact we as a fanbase seem to spin this rest/lack of fitness/pre season theory whenever we’re doing badly to whatever fits. (Not accusing you directly of doing this)

We started the 2019/2020 season atrociously with plenty of rest. Back then it was excused as being early in the season and that we needed time to settle.

This is where my issue always lies with this stuff. The goal posts move too much. We’re a team constantly excused for performing badly when either playing too much or not playing enough. Getting too much rest, not being rested enough.
It’s probably a reflection of our divided fanbase, which has differing opinions on everything.

But for those of us who just think this team in general are up and down with performances and occasionally have a bad run of results. These threads just look like excuses. To me our start looked like us being us. We’ve been starting games badly all season. We started badly last season. Just seems like a pattern.
Yeah, this is kind of where I'm at. We always seem to have a couple of truly atrocious runs every season, no matter what. We had one of those after beating Burnley in January, winning only three out of the next ten.

Admittedly, it does seem like every team who had progressed far in Europe last season started poorly this season, even Bayern.
 

OleBoiii

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We started the 2019/2020 season atrociously with plenty of rest. Back then it was excused as being early in the season and that we needed time to settle.

This is where my issue always lies with this stuff. The goal posts move too much. We’re a team constantly excused for performing badly when either playing too much or not playing enough. Getting too much rest, not being rested enough.
You can't really compare the start of last season to this one. There are too many differences. Half the defensive line changed, James jumping straight into the starting XI and Pogba getting an injury after the 4th(?) game. Also: no Bruno!

This season you could clearly tell that we were fatigued in the beginning. And the same was true for the other teams that had a short pre-season. It's not a case moving the goalposts. It's clear as day that it was a disadvantage. The fact that we've had 2.25 PPG since then is not a coincidence. And the fact that we had roughly the same PPG before those 6 games(post Bruno obviously) strengthens this point further.

But for those of us who just think this team in general are up and down with performances and occasionally have a bad run of results.
These inconsistency arguments need to stop. Like the poster above said: we've lost 4 out of the last 42 league games now. And 3 of these losses came in the first 6 games this season! Besides that period, we've been very consistent. Like, Fergie levels consistent(in terms of PPG).

42 league games is more than a season's worth of football. When will people stop talking about the pre Bruno era? It's long gone, and several other players have stepped up/improved since then, so it's not like he's our only good player. And if our club isn't beyond incompetent, our starting XI will be further strengthened this summer.
 

snk123

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You are comparing a 24 games points average with average from just 6 games. The difference can be because of our form as well which has kept fluctuating throughout the season. e.g. Leading up to the City game, our last 5 games, we averaged 1.4 PPG.

So looks more like an excuse if I am honest. We have been inconsistent and poor when we needed to win points to remain close to City.
 
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Wumminator

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One thing I would say is that we’re having a remarkably similar season to when we finished second under Mourinho. Performances largely poor, knocked out of the Champions League early and nowhere near the champions. And this is with Bruno. We need to not repeat the same mistake of not strengthening our first eleven. What are the odds we won’t?
Our performances aren't largely poor now.
 

Wumminator

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You are comparing a 24 games points average with average from just 6 games. The difference can be because of our form as well which has kept fluctuating throughout the season. e.g. Leading up to the City game, our last 5 games, we averaged 1.4 PPG.

So looks more like an excuse if I am honest. We have been inconsistent and poor throughout the season .
If we have been poor and inconsistent throughout the season.. who has had a good season?
 

ManchesterYoda

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We have scored 58 goals in the league this season despite both Martial and Greenwood not scoring as many as last season. They are both capable of scoring 20 goals next season as are Rashford and Bruno. That's 80 goal potential from 4 players alone, not even including others such as Pogba and McTominay etc
20 goals in all competitions is not unrealistic. Also, Cavani is another player more than capable of 20 goals in a season, if he stays.
 

rotherham_red

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One thing I would say is that we’re having a remarkably similar season to when we finished second under Mourinho. Performances largely poor, knocked out of the Champions League early and nowhere near the champions. And this is with Bruno. We need to not repeat the same mistake of not strengthening our first eleven. What are the odds we won’t?
I think you have to put it in to perspective.

We've been predominantly playing with the same XI and squad for the last 2 years, and we've played a game every 3 days since June 2020 with barely a month off in all that time to recharge. What you're seeing is the effects of this gruelling schedule, and it was practically impossible that we wouldn't eventually see a downturn. I wouldn't compare it to the Jose season at all IMO. That season was hollow as feck by the end and there genuinely seemed to be little in the way of real progression. Jose had a full, normal season where it was one game per week until September, CL and EL games were scheduled at their usual intervals, etc.

Ole on the other hand, had to deal with playing close to 15 games in the space of 8 or so weeks, took a week or two off and then went straight back in to the EL, got to the semis and then had 3 weeks off and then straight in to following season where the game every 3 three days schedule was set in stone from day one. As I said, this downturn was coming, and I'm just grateful that we're still getting the results for now (knock on wood) and that we should be fine for CL qualification next year. Hopefully in the coming weeks, a few more results might go our way and we can assure ourselves of 2nd ahead of the season's end and can rest players around the EL games to win that bloody trophy.
 

lysglimt

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Maybe not poor but our form has been very inconsistent for a top team.
I am sorry but that is absolutely not true - since we lost to Arsenal we have had these results: 15 wins, 8 draws and 1 defeat.

w, w, w, d, d, w, d, d, w, d, l, w, d, w, w, w, d, w, w, d, w, w, w, w

That is not inconsistent for a top team - it's just not brilliant like City have been.
 

meamth

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....Funny how last season's Martial will make us in title winning form.

What ever happened to his confidence, hope he sorts it out. The only problem this season is the frontline, at least for me. I'm a simple guy.
 

cyberman

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I am sorry but that is absolutely not true - since we lost to Arsenal we have had these results: 15 wins, 8 draws and 1 defeat.

w, w, w, d, d, w, d, d, w, d, l, w, d, w, w, w, d, w, w, d, w, w, w, w

That is not inconsistent for a top team - it's just not brilliant like City have been.
We are only 3 points behind City on the away table. We have basically matched them
 

arnie_ni

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We are getting results without setting the world on fire.

Theres maybe 5 or 6 games that jump out at me when I think back.

Rbl
Psg
Leeds
Southampton
Everton draw
City

It's Both a good and bad thing. We can grind out results without playing exceptional, but we could easily good the other way


Edit, forgot 2 games
 
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OleBoiii

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We can grind out results without playing exceptional, but we could easily go the other way.
... and Terry could not have slipped and Solskjær may not "have won it".

Results tend to come to those who deserve it. Marginal or not. If you don't believe that, then there's hardly any point in watching football. At least not if you value results in any form.
 

cyberman

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We are getting results without setting the world on fire.

Theres maybe 4 games that jump out at me when I think back.

Rbl
Psg
Leeds
Southampton

It's Both a good and bad thing. We can grind out results without playing exceptional, but we could easily good the other way.
We destroyed City not 3 weeks ago. Everton away was the best performance of the season imo
 

Eurotrash

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We are clearly better than a year ago, which is why I am still "Ole-in". However, Ole deserves some criticism for not getting Pogba, Martial and DDG to perfom at their potential.
 

arnie_ni

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... and Terry could not have slipped and Solskjær may not "have won it".

Results tend to come to those who deserve it. Marginal or not. If you don't believe that, then there's hardly any point in watching football. At least not if you value results in any form.
I think you've completely missed my point.

If we add a player or two and pick up performances up, we can win a title, if we stagnate and lose some of those games we go behind in, we could be on a fight for top 4 next season.

It can go either way.

I'm partly agreeing with you, but partly saying of we don't step up, we'll fall back because we've dragged ourselves to wins in games we didnt deserve to win. Again, a good trait to have but it can mask poorer performances.
 

cyril C

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I disagree. We DID reach top of the League mid-season, did we? So what happened thereafter?

We started off in 1st gear, moved into 4th, then dropped back to 2nd, bound back again, then dropped, then bound back. City on the other hand, started off in 1st gear like us, gradually moved into 4th gear, and STAY.

If you say being able to move into 4th gear, even for a short period of time, doing a yo-yo performance, is progress, then so be it.

As far as I can see, the ON-OFF-ON-OFF performance, has been a consistent feature. Every game is like a box of chocolate, just don't know what it will taste...
 

RUCK4444

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....Funny how last season's Martial will make us in title winning form.

What ever happened to his confidence, hope he sorts it out. The only problem this season is the frontline, at least for me. I'm a simple guy.
This is another thing we need to factor in. Compare Martial for last season (and Greenwood for that matter but he’s a teenager so it’s to be expected) and the dip in form is huge.

If those two were having similar numbers to what they had last season I honestly believe we would be right up there with City on points.

Martial has been a passenger at best, at times it’s been like playing with 10 men, that bad.

Now imagine Haaland in this team this season.
 

MadDogg

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The problem we have is, whilst this can all be seen as very valid points. It is sort of negated by the fact we as a fanbase seem to spin this rest/lack of fitness/pre season theory whenever we’re doing badly to whatever fits. (Not accusing you directly of doing this)

We started the 2019/2020 season atrociously with plenty of rest. Back then it was excused as being early in the season and that we needed time to settle.

This is where my issue always lies with this stuff. The goal posts move too much. We’re a team constantly excused for performing badly when either playing too much or not playing enough. Getting too much rest, not being rested enough.
It’s probably a reflection of our divided fanbase, which has differing opinions on everything.

But for those of us who just think this team in general are up and down with performances and occasionally have a bad run of results. These threads just look like excuses. To me our start looked like us being us. We’ve been starting games badly all season. We started badly last season. Just seems like a pattern.
Making excuses for any of the other poor periods of form isn't really the same. Those other times we've been in a similar position as other teams (at least the ones in Europe anyway) so we 'should' be treated the same as them. People might have hoped that a poor start to 19/20 was just because of being early in the season, but it can't really be looked at as an excuse since other teams were in the same boat.

This particular time at the start of this season we had a huge and significant disadvantage, and every team throughout all the leagues in Europe who were in a similar situation started pretty much the exact same way as us. Even teams that went on to completely dominate their leagues weren't able to start any better than we did. It was a unique situation that is one of the few times where you can put an asterisk next to.
 

OmarUnited4ever

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I agree with the OP, the fact the team has virtually no pre-season or break to speak of did contribute to our terrible start.

Although I'm pleased that we have made strides and progressed nicely throughout the season, we should have still kept going for wins and not drop easy points such as the loss to Sheffield United and the draws and against WBA, CP and Everton, we should have kept pressure on City, who now can go into their games relaxed and with almost no pressure and win with the quality they have and run away with the league.

What I want to see next season is not only improvement in performances but consistency, to chase a team like City (or Liverpool 2018/2019) who can go on long winning streaks we need to be far far far more consistent.
 

RUCK4444

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I disagree. We DID reach top of the League mid-season, did we? So what happened thereafter?

We started off in 1st gear, moved into 4th, then dropped back to 2nd, bound back again, then dropped, then bound back. City on the other hand, started off in 1st gear like us, gradually moved into 4th gear, and STAY.

If you say being able to move into 4th gear, even for a short period of time, doing a yo-yo performance, is progress, then so be it.

As far as I can see, the ON-OFF-ON-OFF performance, has been a consistent feature. Every game is like a box of chocolate, just don't know what it will taste...
Well it’s simple, our yo-yo performances, as you put it, are better than every team apart from the one that’s above us.

The team above us has the strongest squad in the league, two or three top players for every position and also have a manager who is arguably the best in the world when he’s given such riches to work with.

Compare that to last season where we had it all to do just to get into the top four, there is undeniable improvement. That much is pretty black and white really.

Once you factor in an horrific start to the season largely due to the lack of a proper pre-season, our forwards scoring far less than last season and the fact we never addressed any of the weaknesses in our starting 11 last summer... those are all things we can also improve on before next season.
 

Norman Brownbutter

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I am sorry but that is absolutely not true - since we lost to Arsenal we have had these results: 15 wins, 8 draws and 1 defeat.

w, w, w, d, d, w, d, d, w, d, l, w, d, w, w, w, d, w, w, d, w, w, w, w

That is not inconsistent for a top team - it's just not brilliant like City have been.
But did you watch the games? Results are great, but performances have been dog shit for the most part. I havent been this bored watching united since the LVG days. Watching us try to play out from the back when getting pressed hard is painful. As is watching us trying to break down a low block. Most of the time its just garbage football that requires moments of individuals doing something special.
 

bosnian_red

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And to add on to the pre season being non existent for us, we've also played more games than any other club in Europe, and have been the only club who hasn't had a single mid week or weekend off for the entire season. City had the 1 break over New Years so have played 1 game fewer. The rest have all played 5 or more games fewer than us, and have had multiple mid week breaks between fixtures. So for us to be 2nd, and favourites to win the Europa League despite having the worst possible pre season/least amount of rest to start the season and the most amount of games this season with never having a full week to prep for a game, it puts our improvement into context. We've played an insane amount of games since the football restart last June.

In the 291 days since June 19th 2020 (our restart game):
  • We've played 62 games in all comps (37 wins, 14 draws, 11 losses - 60% win rate)
  • 4.69 days of rest between fixtures (counting 2.5 weeks between the league/europa league last summer and the month between the europa league and the start of the season)
  • 4.15 days of rest between fixtures this season since the start of the season
It's probably something that is only bettered by City, who have been pretty ridiculous since the restart. No escaping that we fecked up in Europe, that Istan ul game was unforgivable, but IMO we're up there with the top 5-6 teams in the world and we'll show that next season. We need to cap this season off with a trophy though.
 

rotherham_red

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I disagree. We DID reach top of the League mid-season, did we? So what happened thereafter?

We started off in 1st gear, moved into 4th, then dropped back to 2nd, bound back again, then dropped, then bound back. City on the other hand, started off in 1st gear like us, gradually moved into 4th gear, and STAY.

If you say being able to move into 4th gear, even for a short period of time, doing a yo-yo performance, is progress, then so be it.

As far as I can see, the ON-OFF-ON-OFF performance, has been a consistent feature. Every game is like a box of chocolate, just don't know what it will taste...
City have the resources to handle pandemic football. We on the other hand, with our shocking transfer window, do not. We've also played more games than anyone else in the league since the first lockdown and have had to maintain that pace all the way through. The downturn in performances was bound to happen.

What we need now is a proper transfer window and evaluate if Ole is the man to take us forward once and for all. Give him the players and financial backing that Jose and LvG got and see where it leads. It's maddening that Ole will have been here longer than both, but both outspent him in their comparatively shorter reigns, despite him actually outperforming them in the same period.
 

Leroy The Red

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You can't really compare the start of last season to this one. There are too many differences. Half the defensive line changed, James jumping straight into the starting XI and Pogba getting an injury after the 4th(?) game. Also: no Bruno!

This season you could clearly tell that we were fatigued in the beginning. And the same was true for the other teams that had a short pre-season. It's not a case moving the goalposts. It's clear as day that it was a disadvantage. The fact that we've had 2.25 PPG since then is not a coincidence. And the fact that we had roughly the same PPG before those 6 games(post Bruno obviously) strengthens this point further.



These inconsistency arguments need to stop. Like the poster above said: we've lost 4 out of the last 42 league games now. And 3 of these losses came in the first 6 games this season! Besides that period, we've been very consistent. Like, Fergie levels consistent(in terms of PPG).

42 league games is more than a season's worth of football. When will people stop talking about the pre Bruno era? It's long gone, and several other players have stepped up/improved since then, so it's not like he's our only good player. And if our club isn't beyond incompetent, our starting XI will be further strengthened this summer.
That first bit you posted is exactly my point. There is always something to explain off bad form. I can guarantee you next season if we start badly it will be because we’ve “bedded in new signings” or had “played the most games in 20/21”.

In my original post I stated your post was valid in the sense that it’s a good explanation. It does make sense, I wasn’t disputing it. But what also makes sense is that this is just how we are as a team and that spell at the start of the season was par for the course.

In terms of “consistency” I chose my words carefully, I have no massive issue with our results. That’s why I separated performances and results. My issue with this team is performance levels. These I believe are massively inconsistent. We do occasionally go on a bad run results wise (1 win in 6 etc) but yeah generally our results are consistent although I think we draw way too many games which sometimes can be as bad as defeats when lumped together.


Yeah, this is kind of where I'm at. We always seem to have a couple of truly atrocious runs every season, no matter what. We had one of those after beating Burnley in January, winning only three out of the next ten.

Admittedly, it does seem like every team who had progressed far in Europe last season started poorly this season, even Bayern.
I think both can be right in this case. The lack of pre season had an effect. But if we did have a long pre season I don’t think we’d be 12-15 points better off.

And yeah that run in after Burnley was another bad run. Which I believe was put down to tiredness and Pogbas injury. Which resulted in the usual shouting matches on here.
 

rotherham_red

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And to add on to the pre season being non existent for us, we've also played more games than any other club in Europe, and have been the only club who hasn't had a single mid week or weekend off for the entire season. City had the 1 break over New Years so have played 1 game fewer. The rest have all played 5 or more games fewer than us, and have had multiple mid week breaks between fixtures. So for us to be 2nd, and favourites to win the Europa League despite having the worst possible pre season/least amount of rest to start the season and the most amount of games this season with never having a full week to prep for a game, it puts our improvement into context. We've played an insane amount of games since the football restart last June.

In the 291 days since June 19th 2020 (our restart game):
  • We've played 62 games in all comps (37 wins, 14 draws, 11 losses - 60% win rate)
  • 4.69 days of rest between fixtures (counting 2.5 weeks between the league/europa league last summer and the month between the europa league and the start of the season)
  • 4.15 days of rest between fixtures this season since the start of the season
It's probably something that is only bettered by City, who have been pretty ridiculous since the restart. No escaping that we fecked up in Europe, that Istan ul game was unforgivable, but IMO we're up there with the top 5-6 teams in the world and we'll show that next season. We need to cap this season off with a trophy though.
And City had their own impromptu break in Christmas, after which they really transformed themselves. Up until then, their performances weren't particularly outstanding either.
 

UnitedSofa

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I love the pre-season logic as if its different for other teams. Bottom line is, City are performing their normal level with a coach who knows exactly what he wants, we are somehow performing well (without playing like it). And the rest have dropped levels (Liverpool for sure but maybe it was due, who can keep up those levels?).

City have a good squad but I disagree with those that say they have any special talent. Our squad is also very good but most of the time its like watching casual footballers play football, without any pattern, system or organization. Either that or hit on the break strategy (not sure you can even call that a strategy).

There is nothing that I've seen this season I would classify "good progress". Still getting bounced from QF/SF like clockwork in cup tournaments. Sorry, 2nd spot doesn't hide the fact we play clueless football a large majority of the time. There have been games we've clicked, but those were few and far between.
Ahh the ol' teams around us dropped off argument, knew that would be brought up, that argument would be thrown around if we were top still.

Isn't a league determined on how well YOU perform over a season and not how OTHERS perform throughout a season? If that was the case we may as well all stop supporting Man Utd and start supporting the rest of the league and hope, just hope that they all lose every single game because it benefits our team. Ridiculous argument "oh other teams dropped off" is absolute b*ll*cks. Should be focusing on the team you support and not worry what others are doing around you. The only way you win the league is if YOU perform the best over the course of a season and not how well or how badly others perform.
 

rotherham_red

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That first bit you posted is exactly my point. There is always something to explain off bad form. I can guarantee you next season if we start badly it will be because we’ve “bedded in new signings” or had “played the most games in 20/21”.

In my original post I stated your post was valid in the sense that it’s a good explanation. It does make sense, I wasn’t disputing it. But what also makes sense is that this is just how we are as a team and that spell at the start of the season was par for the course.

In terms of “consistency” I chose my words carefully, I have no massive issue with our results. That’s why I separated performances and results. My issue with this team is performance levels. These I believe are massively inconsistent. We do occasionally go on a bad run results wise (1 win in 6 etc) but yeah generally our results are consistent although I think we draw way too many games which sometimes can be as bad as defeats when lumped together.



I think both can be right in this case. The lack of pre season had an effect. But if we did have a long pre season I don’t think we’d be 12-15 points better off.

And yeah that run in after Burnley was another bad run. Which I believe was put down to tiredness and Pogbas injury. Which resulted in the usual shouting matches on here.
I don't think he's saying that though. He said we'd have likely not tanked as badly as we did v Palace and Spurs in particular if we were 100% fit as opposed to 50%, and considering past results in those games, I'd say he has a point. Of course, we might have still lost - we lost to Palace at home the season before, and I remember pre-Madrid Bale bitch slapping us at OT in 2012, but in the main we tended to get the right results in those fixtures when everything is set.

A better pre-season might have meant an extra 6-9 points rather than 12-15, which would have likely guaranteed us CL qualification and possibly 2nd place already, but IMO the only way we are really going to improve and improve markedly, is if we buy the proper first team quality to add to the squad and who would demote good squad players like McFred, Lindelof, etc to the roles that they are best suited to.
 

rotherham_red

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Ahh the ol' teams around us dropped off argument, knew that would be brought up, that argument would be thrown around if we were top still.

Isn't a league determined on how well YOU perform over a season and not how OTHERS perform throughout a season? If that was the case we may as well all stop supporting Man Utd and start supporting the rest of the league and hope, just hope that they all lose every single game because it benefits our team. Ridiculous argument "oh other teams dropped off" is absolute b*ll*cks. Should be focusing on the team you support and not worry what others are doing around you. The only way you win the league is if YOU perform the best over the course of a season and not how well or how badly others perform.
Also, the number of points we currently have at this stage would have us in the top 4 of every PL season bar 2013/14, so he's absolutely chatting shit.
 

OleTheGreat

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I have been hugely critical of Ole since the beginning of his rein at OT but the man who was dubbed to be a P.E teacher has done better than many coaches who far more experienced and undoubtedly have a better team compared to his. In fact he has taken out Pep on many occasions as well and according he's the best coach in the world right now.

City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern, BVB, Madrid, Barcelona, Juve, PSG are the top teams in their respective leagues and of course Man United is also one of the top team in the PL but in the past 7 odd seasons, we haven't had the best of squads and it has been a pain in the bottom to watch our underwhelming players perform on the pitch but since the P.E teacher has arrived, he's changed a lot of things and we are finally a team that can win something if one 2-3 high quality players were added to this squad. Ole has done a great job and he deserves to win a title or 2 in the coming seasons. Regardless of all the poor performances and the tactics going wrong a few times, I feel the man has learnt a lot on the job and we are a more formidable team now than we have ever been in the past 7-8 seasons since SAF retired.

Haven't lost an away game in more than a year. Forget OT becoming a fortress, we're a threat on the road to begin with and now we will go on and improve our home form. Water the OT pitch heavily and we'll move faster and faster with the ball. :devil:
I really really hope we get some good players in the summer because I don't for one second think that we are second best team in the league. I think we are getting results that are beyond us and that the Glazers along with Ed Woodward must trust in Ole and give him the players he wants to improve this team. Ole will do everything in his power to bring more youth players in the first team squad and players like Amad, Greenwood have great future at the club. We need to get rid of Bailly, Matic, even Fred if need be to bring in high quality players.
 

wolvored

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If we finish 2nd its an improvement on 3rd obviously. As Ive said on other threads, next season is where its make or break for Ole. The only improvement then is to win the title. Will this happen next season?
 

lysglimt

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But did you watch the games? Results are great, but performances have been dog shit for the most part. I havent been this bored watching united since the LVG days. Watching us try to play out from the back when getting pressed hard is painful. As is watching us trying to break down a low block. Most of the time its just garbage football that requires moments of individuals doing something special.
There have been some really poor performances yes - but to say they have been dog shit for most part is just stupid.
 

wolvored

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We have scored 58 goals in the league this season despite both Martial and Greenwood not scoring as many as last season. They are both capable of scoring 20 goals next season as are Rashford and Bruno. That's 80 goal potential from 4 players alone, not even including others such as Pogba and McTominay etc
20 goals in all competitions is not unrealistic. Also, Cavani is another player more than capable of 20 goals in a season, if he stays.
Its all conjecture though. They could score less than this season. You might as well say Henderson could keep 30 clean sheets or Jones wont be injured.
 

Harry190

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Some of the losses were a true disgrace. They were non-performances where the players cannot be excused. The first game against Crystal Palace and Sheffield at home.

It would have made it a 5 point deficit and not 11.
 

Zen86

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If we finish 2nd its an improvement on 3rd obviously. As Ive said on other threads, next season is where its make or break for Ole. The only improvement then is to win the title. Will this happen next season?
That very much depends on what happens in the summer. There's no way this squad can be expected to surpass City to the title in it's current state (and that's ignoring them spending another £150m between now and then)
 

acnumber9

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I think you have to put it in to perspective.

We've been predominantly playing with the same XI and squad for the last 2 years, and we've played a game every 3 days since June 2020 with barely a month off in all that time to recharge. What you're seeing is the effects of this gruelling schedule, and it was practically impossible that we wouldn't eventually see a downturn. I wouldn't compare it to the Jose season at all IMO. That season was hollow as feck by the end and there genuinely seemed to be little in the way of real progression. Jose had a full, normal season where it was one game per week until September, CL and EL games were scheduled at their usual intervals, etc.

Ole on the other hand, had to deal with playing close to 15 games in the space of 8 or so weeks, took a week or two off and then went straight back in to the EL, got to the semis and then had 3 weeks off and then straight in to following season where the game every 3 three days schedule was set in stone from day one. As I said, this downturn was coming, and I'm just grateful that we're still getting the results for now (knock on wood) and that we should be fine for CL qualification next year. Hopefully in the coming weeks, a few more results might go our way and we can assure ourselves of 2nd ahead of the season's end and can rest players around the EL games to win that bloody trophy.
Yeah, but other teams had normal seasons then too so you can only compare against the circumstances both face. We’ll see next season if we can continue progressing. At the moment, it’s minimal for me.