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

acnumber9

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Who is playing well at the moment?
I don’t really care about other teams. I watch Man United every week and performances are largely poor. You have your head in the sand if you believe otherwise.
 

Wumminator

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I don’t really care about other teams. I watch Man United every week and performances are largely poor. You have your head in the sand if you believe otherwise.
But if every team in the prem is struggling with performances then you have to change your aspirations.
 

rotherham_red

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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.
The other teams had normal seasons in 2018/19 yes, but it should be widely accepted that Utd have felt this pandemic period more than most. We had the joint least rest in between the seasons ending and starting, and we also had the joint least rest in between games during Xmas. We've played a game every three days and unlike Liverpool and a few other teams around us we've gone further in the domestic cups so while those teams around us were able to have the odd midweek off, we haven't. We then dropped in to the EL which wasn't something we planned for and potentially gives us two extra games this season.

The likes of Palace, Brighton, Southampton etc have largely been playing one game per week as normal, so they have had a distinct advantage compared to us (e.g. Palace had 5 pre-season fixtures before they played us - we had 1, and when we played them at Selhurst Park recently, it was their 28th game of the season, and it was our 48th or something daft like that), with sources at the club as well as Maguire himself (and Ole) saying that with the condensed nature of the season, there hasn't been any chance at all to actually implement any coaching at all beyond game preparation, with the vast majority of time being given to recuperation after the previous game.

With all that in mind, I think it's been a pretty good showing - have the last few weeks been great? Absolutely not, but we're doing just about enough to win the games we've won and that's all I can really ask for considering everything that has gone on since we came back from the first lockdown.
 

acnumber9

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But if every team in the prem is struggling with performances then you have to change your aspirations.
I would, were it not a continuous trend stretching back longer than just this season. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact performances have been largely poor.
 

acnumber9

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With all that in mind, I think it's been a pretty good showing - have the last few weeks been great? Absolutely not, but we're doing just about enough to win the games we've won and that's all I can really ask for considering everything that has gone on since we came back from the first lockdown.
How many great performances have we put in this season? Or the season before? Not very many. That’s not to say we haven’t improved. We have, because we at least have spells in games where we do look a good team. And we’ve been consistently getting results which is never a bad thing. But we have a lot of work to do in the market to take the next step. Finishing second this season is a decent achievement, but that’s all it is.
 
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Because of the short pre-season, both City and us are probably the teams that had the physically toughest start compared to the other teams in the league. This had a pretty obvious effect on both teams:

PPG = points per game

The first 6 games:
United: 1.16 PPG
City: 1.83 PPG

The following 24/25 games:
United: 2.25 PGG
City: 2.52 PPG

_______________________________________________________

City went from 'barely top 4' form to 'potential record breakers'. We went from 'lower table irrelevance' to 'title winning form'. Yes, that's how good we've been since the we became match fit and slowly started to gel. 2.25 PPG is almost 86 points if the form is spread over 38 games. This is not gonna happen now even if we win all of our remaining games, but it shows us just how good we've actually been.

The final score may be in the mid 70's, but our form after the first tough weeks tells a very different story. Is it unfair to "exclude" the first 6 games? Maybe, but this season has been pretty unique so I don't think it's outrageous to bring it up.

The real headline is unfortunately how disgustingly good City have been and how the bar for winning the PL has been raised in terms of points per game. 2.25 PPG would usually have been enough to win it in the Fergie era, but Pep(and partly Klopp) has made breaking 90 points by a comfortable margin the new norm. That is why we can't be complacent in the transfer market, even though things are looking much better now.
Spot on post
 

Bilbo

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There have been some really poor performances yes - but to say they have been dog shit for most part is just stupid.
People tend to hugely undervalue the work that has been done in making this team a solid unit. Its ignored because we aren't yet at the stage where we consistently 'sparkle', but actually I have always viewed that as the final piece of the puzzle in the rebuilding of any football team. For us to be looking at a side that have now only been defeated 4 times in 43 - and as per this thread 2 or 3 of those have a lot to do with our fractured pre-season - is a testament to the vast improvement that has been made in the mentality and structure of the team.

Not to mention the (also undervalued) impact that our schedule would have not only our level of sharpness and movement, but also the tactics that our management are using to allow us to cope with the constant football and lack of rest and preparation time in between. Can we look stodgy at times? Of course. Its not really that unexpected. I think we will see the true potential of this team, similar to post restart when we were dominating opponents, next season after a longer rest, a proper pre-season, and with luck an addition or two at first team level to re-energise the team.

Too many fans have had unrealistic expectations this season, and it pains me to see so many of them write the sort of comment that you responded to.
 

tomaldinho1

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People tend to hugely undervalue the work that has been done in making this team a solid unit. Its ignored because we aren't yet at the stage where we consistently 'sparkle', but actually I have always viewed that as the final piece of the puzzle in the rebuilding of any football team. For us to be looking at a side that have now only been defeated 4 times in 43 - and as per this thread 2 or 3 of those have a lot to do with our fractured pre-season - is a testament to the vast improvement that has been made in the mentality and structure of the team.

Not to mention the (also undervalued) impact that our schedule would have not only our level of sharpness and movement, but also the tactics that our management are using to allow us to cope with the constant football and lack of rest and preparation time in between. Can we look stodgy at times? Of course. Its not really that unexpected. I think we will see the true potential of this team, similar to post restart when we were dominating opponents, next season after a longer rest, a proper pre-season, and with luck an addition or two at first team level to re-energise the team.

Too many fans have had unrealistic expectations this season, and it pains me to see so many of them write the sort of comment that you responded to.
As a poster who actually responds thoughtfully, I'd be interested to know what you'd like to see change next season from a setup perspective? I think it's fair to say we're a very difficult team to beat but we obviously draw far too many games (12 games last season and 9 so far this season) whilst not creating a huge amount of chances as a team, as evidenced by us having consistently outperformed our xG this season.

For me, we have to have the confidence to stop with the deep double pivot - that's the main thing I want to see change - and that will also have a huge knock on effect to how enjoyable we are to watch. My big fear with the current mentality is we sacrifice too much for defensive stability and I'm a big believer that teams who try to win every game will end up picking up more points over a full season (i.e it's better to play 10, win 7 and then get hammered in the other 3 games than go 'unbeaten' with 5 wins and 5 draws).
 

wolvored

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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)
Thats what I was getting at. 2nd is as good as it gets im afraid to say.
 

justsomebloke

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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.
You should at least do your most rudimentary homework if you're going to be that brash. It is different for other teams. United's 19-20 season lasted a week longer than anyone else's, and several weeks longer than the great majority of other PL teams. With the pre-season correspondingly delayed and curtailed.

Not touching the rest of the nonsense in that post.
 

Walters_19_MuFc

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Positive post. Love it, and you're right, we have made good progress.

I think for Ole and the staff to progress further, he'll be wanting us to break teams down better and play on the front foot against the more challenging teams.

All in all, I'm happy with our season to date, though.
 

justsomebloke

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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.
I think your problem there is that you're making yourself a bogeyman from things that have nothing to do with each other, as if there was some fatal disposition that leads people to always find excuses, all of them equally unwarranted.

Different people have different explanations for different things. Some explanations are good, some are arguable, some are fanciful. That's all.

This particular one has some pretty self-evident merit in my opinion. If 2 weeks of pre-season (or less, for quite a few players) and a single friendly made no particular difference to performance, then why are teams bothering bothering with the normal schedule? Of course it matters. How could it not? Whatever explanations some people had for the slow start in 2019-20 has absolutely nothing to do with that.
 

rotherham_red

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How many great performances have we put in this season? Or the season before? Not very many. That’s not to say we haven’t improved. We have, because we at least have spells in games where we do look a good team. And we’ve been consistently getting results which is never a bad thing. But we have a lot of work to do in the market to take the next step. Finishing second this season is a decent achievement, but that’s all it is.
I'd argue the following were good to great:

PSG away
Leipzig home
Everton away
Southampton away (the two goals they scored were against the run of play and outside of the 20 mins after their goals, we were much the better side)
Newcastle away
PSG at home (poor result, but we were very much their equals for most of that match)
Leeds home
Everton away in the League Cup
Liverpool in the Cup
Southampton home
Everton in the home draw (sullied by the cock ups at the back)
Sociedad away
City away

That's 13 games where I'd say we've had strong to very strong performances this season. It's not amazing and can improve further but considering this is still a side that is one made up of a bunch of compromises and is still very imbalanced, it's pretty decent. And when you look at City's performances, I'd argue that our highs are not a million miles away from theirs this season.

Let's not forget, the bulk of this side is still predominantly comprised of players Jose either wanted sold expeditiously, didn't rate particularly highly, or were seen as borderline joke figures in the fanbase at large. I agree that we still have a lot of work to do, and my hope (and it is very much a hope rather than expectation) is that we give Ole the chance to bring in the players he wants and to then see what he can achieve.
 

gerdm07

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It’s all ifs, buts and maybes in this Covid affected season. Pool and Leicester won’t have a persistent injury crisis next season, Chelsea no longer have an incompetent manager and have a winner now and City had as affected a pre season as us. Without that, they might have broken 100 points.

At the same time, our record since November has been excellent. It’s impossible to argue against 1 PL defeat. Simply impossible. It’s not just the results, but we have generally played entertaining football too. Watching Pogba, Rashford, Bruno and Greenwood in full flow is better than anything we’ve seen since RvP’s explosive season under Fergie in 2012-13. I suppose that’s down to Ole knowing the ethos of the club and adapting to United’s style of football like Busby and Fergie did, and LvG, Moyes and Mourinho didn’t.

All I know is that two summer additions, Sancho and a real top defensive player (CB or DM), preferably one of Ndidi or Kounde, and I’ll be hyping myself up for a title charge next season :drool:
That's exactly how I feel. I'm excited about next year more so than anytime in the last 8 years. Ole deserves credit and support for that.
 

Bilbo

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As a poster who actually responds thoughtfully, I'd be interested to know what you'd like to see change next season from a setup perspective? I think it's fair to say we're a very difficult team to beat but we obviously draw far too many games (12 games last season and 9 so far this season) whilst not creating a huge amount of chances as a team, as evidenced by us having consistently outperformed our xG this season.

For me, we have to have the confidence to stop with the deep double pivot - that's the main thing I want to see change - and that will also have a huge knock on effect to how enjoyable we are to watch. My big fear with the current mentality is we sacrifice too much for defensive stability and I'm a big believer that teams who try to win every game will end up picking up more points over a full season (i.e it's better to play 10, win 7 and then get hammered in the other 3 games than go 'unbeaten' with 5 wins and 5 draws).
A lot of it depends on who we can bring in this summer. I'm on record on here as saying that I would prefer that we use all of our budget on attacking reinforcements and I still believe that, but I also think that we are going to be offered certain players at a price that might be too good to walk away from so this next window is hard to predict. Obviously if Cavani stays or goes that changes things, as it also where Pogba or Bailly or any other potential departures are concerned, but all things being equal for me our attacking options have been threadbare for far too long and we need to solve that as a priority.

Set up wise I don't have nearly as much of an issue as many do with our play in the first two thirds of the pitch, just an I'm not too concerned with the lack of wins against the top 6 teams. I've seen enough in those matches to suggest development, and I think we've been the better and more proactive side in most of those games. I'd like to see more of Donny as a number 8. If he can't be useful for us there then we might as well move him on and get someone who can be, because I don't see where else he is going to establish himself.

Regarding the point in bold, I'm in two minds over this. I think there's a very good chance that our chronic lack of attacking movement is just as big a hindrance to us as any lack of midfield creativity is, and that's why I want us to reinforce our options there. When Cavani plays well we immediately look a much more threatening team but we cannot rely on him, and for me its the right time to truly assess Ole and what kind of team he wants us to be (and whether that will be effective for us as a medium term solution) when we solve our attack.
 

acnumber9

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I'd argue the following were good to great:

PSG away
Leipzig home
Everton away
Southampton away (the two goals they scored were against the run of play and outside of the 20 mins after their goals, we were much the better side)
Newcastle away
PSG at home (poor result, but we were very much their equals for most of that match)
Leeds home
Everton away in the League Cup
Liverpool in the Cup
Southampton home
Everton in the home draw (sullied by the cock ups at the back)
Sociedad away
City away

That's 13 games where I'd say we've had strong to very strong performances this season. It's not amazing and can improve further but considering this is still a side that is one made up of a bunch of compromises and is still very imbalanced, it's pretty decent. And when you look at City's performances, I'd argue that our highs are not a million miles away from theirs this season.

Let's not forget, the bulk of this side is still predominantly comprised of players Jose either wanted sold expeditiously, didn't rate particularly highly, or were seen as borderline joke figures in the fanbase at large. I agree that we still have a lot of work to do, and my hope (and it is very much a hope rather than expectation) is that we give Ole the chance to bring in the players he wants and to then see what he can achieve.
I think you’re being overly generous.

Leipzig - We were played off the park until they tired around the hour mark.

Newcastle - We were garbage for about 80 minutes and then ran riot.

Southampton away - I would say this was a game where we were good in patches.

I’m not sure I would call many of them great performances, but mostly good with possibly the 3-3 draw with Everton the best football we’ve played all season.
 

gerdm07

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I'd argue the following were good to great:

PSG away
Leipzig home
Everton away
Southampton away (the two goals they scored were against the run of play and outside of the 20 mins after their goals, we were much the better side)
Newcastle away
PSG at home (poor result, but we were very much their equals for most of that match)
Leeds home
Everton away in the League Cup
Liverpool in the Cup
Southampton home
Everton in the home draw (sullied by the cock ups at the back)
Sociedad away
City away

That's 13 games where I'd say we've had strong to very strong performances this season. It's not amazing and can improve further but considering this is still a side that is one made up of a bunch of compromises and is still very imbalanced, it's pretty decent. And when you look at City's performances, I'd argue that our highs are not a million miles away from theirs this season.

Let's not forget, the bulk of this side is still predominantly comprised of players Jose either wanted sold expeditiously, didn't rate particularly highly, or were seen as borderline joke figures in the fanbase at large. I agree that we still have a lot of work to do, and my hope (and it is very much a hope rather than expectation) is that we give Ole the chance to bring in the players he wants and to then see what he can achieve.
I would add the recent match vs West Ham. We played very well in an important match and deserved victory. We just didn't put away our many chances to win easily.
 

Lentwood

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Because of the short pre-season, both City and us are probably the teams that had the physically toughest start compared to the other teams in the league. This had a pretty obvious effect on both teams:

PPG = points per game

The first 6 games:
United: 1.16 PPG
City: 1.83 PPG

The following 24/25 games:
United: 2.25 PGG
City: 2.52 PPG

_______________________________________________________

City went from 'barely top 4' form to 'potential record breakers'. We went from 'lower table irrelevance' to 'title winning form'. Yes, that's how good we've been since the we became match fit and slowly started to gel. 2.25 PPG is almost 86 points if the form is spread over 38 games. This is not gonna happen now even if we win all of our remaining games, but it shows us just how good we've actually been.

The final score may be in the mid 70's, but our form after the first tough weeks tells a very different story. Is it unfair to "exclude" the first 6 games? Maybe, but this season has been pretty unique so I don't think it's outrageous to bring it up.

The real headline is unfortunately how disgustingly good City have been and how the bar for winning the PL has been raised in terms of points per game. 2.25 PPG would usually have been enough to win it in the Fergie era, but Pep(and partly Klopp) has made breaking 90 points by a comfortable margin the new norm. That is why we can't be complacent in the transfer market, even though things are looking much better now.
Good post - this was also evident across the whole of Europe. Teams who played in the European competitions after the COVID shutdown struggled in the first 4/5 games of the season.

It also massively distorts our defensive record. We conceded 11 goals in our first three PL fixtures which is crazy considering we have only conceded 33 in total!

Basically 1/3rd of our Goals Against were conceded the first 3 of our 30 PL fixtures!
 

UNITED ACADEMY

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Yes I agree we have progressed this season but unfortunately we are absolutely not in "title winning form".
In order to achieve that we have to finish above 85-90 points just to hope we stand a chance, depending on the other teams.
Like you said nowadays the bar is so high that you can finish second with 97 points which a decade ago would have been pure madness.
It was never going to be expected to challenge the title if the board decided not to improve the starting XI by signing players to improve the XI especially areas/positions that we don't have the right players to use. Meaning, we are having almost the same squad as last season. If the manager can do what he has done this season with last season squad, imagine what he can do if the board allows him to improve some of the hole in the starting XI.
 

tomaldinho1

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A lot of it depends on who we can bring in this summer. I'm on record on here as saying that I would prefer that we use all of our budget on attacking reinforcements and I still believe that, but I also think that we are going to be offered certain players at a price that might be too good to walk away from so this next window is hard to predict. Obviously if Cavani stays or goes that changes things, as it also where Pogba or Bailly or any other potential departures are concerned, but all things being equal for me our attacking options have been threadbare for far too long and we need to solve that as a priority.

Set up wise I don't have nearly as much of an issue as many do with our play in the first two thirds of the pitch, just an I'm not too concerned with the lack of wins against the top 6 teams. I've seen enough in those matches to suggest development, and I think we've been the better and more proactive side in most of those games. I'd like to see more of Donny as a number 8. If he can't be useful for us there then we might as well move him on and get someone who can be, because I don't see where else he is going to establish himself.

Regarding the point in bold, I'm in two minds over this. I think there's a very good chance that our chronic lack of attacking movement is just as big a hindrance to us as any lack of midfield creativity is, and that's why I want us to reinforce our options there. When Cavani plays well we immediately look a much more threatening team but we cannot rely on him, and for me its the right time to truly assess Ole and what kind of team he wants us to be (and whether that will be effective for us as a medium term solution) when we solve our attack.
I'd agree re attacking options & Donny at 8 - which kind of ties in with my issues with our midfield setup because I feel Donny at 8 would naturally be positioned further forwards, encourage a more possession based offensive game and be less cautious than McFred (who for the record are a good pairing for games in the CL or Pool, City, Chelsea away etc but overkill for 80% of games). I actually think Sancho (or similar) is a more important signing than Haaland, even though Haaland is a 'better' individual player because we're so unbalanced & I also am a believer in Greenwood's longer term potential at 9. It'd be nice to see AWB with a wide forward who knows the role positionally as well before we judge him from an offensive standpoint as well.

As a side note, I'm less convinced by Cavani - he's an obvious upgrade on Ighalo but I think the movement praise (or rather it's importance on us winning games) gets overblown, much in the same way as that narrative about Lingard being the king of off-the-ball movement when he was here. He's a good striker but our system really demands dynamism and pace in the 9. He's only scored versus Everton (2), Fulham and Soton (3) and has had many anonymous games, whilst his finishing has been as inconsistent as a lot of the PSG regulars warned us it would be. Martial has been slated (rightly so in many cases) but they've scored a similarly small amount of goals, neither has been properly fit this season - hence this thread - with the caveat that Martial has won loads of penalties (Spurs, PSG, City, Leeds, Soton off the top of my head) which boost Bruno's stats but does nothing for his own and he's also assisted more than Cavani.

I think it's all about a RW plus a Josh King, Callum Wilson, Ings, Watkins type striker (not them necessarily but someone who is in their twenties, has pace and has played as a 9 their whole career). In an ideal world you get Haaland & Sancho but I'm trying to be realistic here with who we sign at 9!
 

Bilbo

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I'd agree re attacking options & Donny at 8 - which kind of ties in with my issues with our midfield setup because I feel Donny at 8 would naturally be positioned further forwards, encourage a more possession based offensive game and be less cautious than McFred (who for the record are a good pairing for games in the CL or Pool, City, Chelsea away etc but overkill for 80% of games). I actually think Sancho (or similar) is a more important signing than Haaland, even though Haaland is a 'better' individual player because we're so unbalanced & I also am a believer in Greenwood's longer term potential at 9. It'd be nice to see AWB with a wide forward who knows the role positionally as well before we judge him from an offensive standpoint as well.

As a side note, I'm less convinced by Cavani - he's an obvious upgrade on Ighalo but I think the movement praise (or rather it's importance on us winning games) gets overblown, much in the same way as that narrative about Lingard being the king of off-the-ball movement when he was here. He's a good striker but our system really demands dynamism and pace in the 9. He's only scored versus Everton (2), Fulham and Soton (3) and has had many anonymous games, whilst his finishing has been as inconsistent as a lot of the PSG regulars warned us it would be. Martial has been slated (rightly so in many cases) but they've scored a similarly small amount of goals, neither has been properly fit this season - hence this thread - with the caveat that Martial has won loads of penalties (Spurs, PSG, City, Leeds, Soton off the top of my head) which boost Bruno's stats but does nothing for his own and he's also assisted more than Cavani.

I think it's all about a RW plus a Josh King, Callum Wilson, Ings, Watkins type striker (not them necessarily but someone who is in their twenties, has pace and has played as a 9 their whole career). In an ideal world you get Haaland & Sancho but I'm trying to be realistic here with who we sign at 9!
I cant challenge anything you've said here. I think you and I are of the same mind for the most part.

I'd honestly be satisfied with Sancho/Rafinha type right winger and someone like Ings as our summer business, as long as we also replace anybody else that leaves. This is not the summer for a squad overhaul. I do think the club will surprise us with a signing completely unexpected though simply because the price was too good to pass up
 

McTerminator

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:rolleyes: endless negativity in every post.
Is there something I'm missing?
I just can't get my head around it.
spot on mate, it’s negative posters like that who ruin the forum for the moderates.

World has been miserable enough for everybody for two years without having to provide free counselling to some people in the guise of footballing debate.
 

Ali Dia

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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.
Why? They aren’t his signings. Pogba and DDG wanted to leave before Ole even got here and our owners wouldn’t sell Martial when Jose wanted to. I don’t see why Ole is supposed to magic wand improve everything that Jose couldn’t handle. Maybe not everything is on the manager. The players finally need to take some responsibility too
 

bsCallout

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We've done great this year overall. Really hoping we get a good preseason to work on some things to take us to the next level.
 

Norman Brownbutter

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There have been some really poor performances yes - but to say they have been dog shit for most part is just stupid.
no, to say “some” is stupid. Most games are awful. Just because we sneak a win doesn’t make them fun to watch. I’ll take and entertaining loss over a dull win any day of the week.
 

lysglimt

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no, to say “some” is stupid. Most games are awful. Just because we sneak a win doesn’t make them fun to watch. I’ll take and entertaining loss over a dull win any day of the week.
I am sorry - I have a hard time understanding what you are talking about. First you claim performances are dogshit - and then you change your narrative to say that the games are awful and dull. In my opinion there is a often a big difference between dull and a dogshit performance.

You usually dont win footballgames (and at least not end second in the table) if your perormances are poor - but granted you can do it while playing dull football, something Mourinho has done most of his career. So if you claim our performances are poor - I dont agree with you - they generally are very good. In some games however they have been really poor (Sheffield U, Palace away, Spurs at home, Brighton away and a few others).

But if you are talking about dull - there have been a few more - but regardless if you are talking about poor or dull - I can't take you seriously if you say most of our games belong in either cathegory.
 

BaillyBaillyBailly

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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.
Agree generally with your points.
I think the board acknowledge that Ole has done a fantastic job of restructuring the squad and creating a platform from which we can progress, whilst also removing players that don't fit this (Rojo, Sanchez, Darmian etc). This is something the board woefully mismanaged through Moyes, LvG & Mourinho with whom they tried to just sign "world class" player with no real plan. Ole's standing as a manager has allowed the board to dictate what he can and can't do, although what Ole wants is generally probably aligned now with the board (sign young, hungry players with high potential and hardworking "superstars" to compliment them).

I personally don't think we will ever be a dominant presence in Europe with Ole in charge, however, I think the board acknowledges that and are content with Ole moulding a squad to their specifications. I also think there have been a few mistakes along the way (not major ones) but these are part of the learning process. For example I think Herrera should have been kept, I also feel Lukaku hadn't been given enough time (personally I don't think he and Haaland are hugely different players).

I imagine Ole will be given 1/2 more seasons after this, in the meantime I presume the board will scout out potential managerial options who play a similar brand of football to Ole but have more tactical acumen. Overall, I am happy with the way the club is going at the moment.
 

Hammondo

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We have been ok in a very poor PL season. We are in the Europa League for a good reason.
 

Dominos

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The first 3 games were tough, but I don't think we can make excuses for anything after that. We were match fit enough to beat PSG and Leipzig when we returned from international break, I don't think you can excuse the performance against Arsenal for lack of pre season for example.
 

MikeeMike

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Because of the short pre-season, both City and us are probably the teams that had the physically toughest start compared to the other teams in the league. This had a pretty obvious effect on both teams:

PPG = points per game

The first 6 games:
United: 1.16 PPG
City: 1.83 PPG

The following 24/25 games:
United: 2.25 PGG
City: 2.52 PPG
k
_______________________________________________________

City went from 'barely top 4' form to 'potential record breakers'. We went from 'lower table irrelevance' to 'title winning form'. Yes, that's how good we've been since the we became match fit and slowly started to gel. 2.25 PPG is almost 86 points if the form is spread over 38 games. This is not gonna happen now even if we win all of our remaining games, but it shows us just how good we've actually been.

The final score may be in the mid 70's, but our form after the first tough weeks tells a very different story. Is it unfair to "exclude" the first 6 games? Maybe, but this season has been pretty unique so I don't think it's outrageous to bring it up.

The real headline is unfortunately how disgustingly good City have been and how the bar for winning the PL has been raised in terms of points per game. 2.25 PPG would usually have been enough to win it in the Fergie era, but Pep(and partly Klopp) has made breaking 90 points by a comfortable margin the new norm. That is why we can't be complacent in the transfer market, even though things are looking much better now.
Interesting statistics but have to disagree /challenge them. We have not been in title winning form at any point this season
Toughest start ? included Palace , Brighton , Newcastle. How is this hindering our progress?

Is it unfair to exclude first 6 games ? Unfair for what? To massage the table so we are slightly closer to City.

City are runaway winners due to machine-like wins. No fuss. Fluid tactics. Depth of squad.

Big gap between us and City and sadly, will be for some seasons to come.
 

pocco

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Keep a clean shit tomorrow, United is my final bus
When you hear some of the excuses given for us and our performances, you start to realise that most people probably didn't actually appreciate just how damn good we were under Fergie. If they think this is good, or 2.5 years to potentially come 2nd is good, or our football now is good... they must have been absolutely creaming themselves when Fergie was doing this without spending a fraction of the money and actually winning major honours. Fergie left us as champions, the most successful team in England, with the biggest turnover, the largest profits, a global following etc.

The fact that so many are this vocal about poor performances whilst we're managed by an absolute legend of a player, speaks volumes. Yet many on here think United fans would just have it out for Ole for some reason.

I think for any United supporter, playing great football and challenging under a club legend >>>> playing great football and challenging under any other manager. So the fact that there are so many arguments about where we are as a team and a club, probably tells you that things aren't all that great.
 

Wewinsoon

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When you hear some of the excuses given for us and our performances, you start to realise that most people probably didn't actually appreciate just how damn good we were under Fergie. If they think this is good, or 2.5 years to potentially come 2nd is good, or our football now is good... they must have been absolutely creaming themselves when Fergie was doing this without spending a fraction of the money and actually winning major honours. Fergie left us as champions, the most successful team in England, with the biggest turnover, the largest profits, a global following etc.

The fact that so many are this vocal about poor performances whilst we're managed by an absolute legend of a player, speaks volumes. Yet many on here think United fans would just have it out for Ole for some reason.

I think for any United supporter, playing great football and challenging under a club legend >>>> playing great football and challenging under any other manager. So the fact that there are so many arguments about where we are as a team and a club, probably tells you that things aren't all that great.
This is good, this is the Best we have been after 30 years with "god" in the hot seat
 

lysglimt

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Results and performances are not the same thing.
In my opinion the only game where we played really poorly this season and won - was Brighton away. Then we had many where I would say we had an average performance, like the matches against Southampton away, Brighton last week etc - where we were poor for parts of the game and really improved in the second half. But if you have a lot of bad performances - you don't lose once in 24 games.
 

fatboy

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In my opinion the only game where we played really poorly this season and won - was Brighton away. Then we had many where I would say we had an average performance, like the matches against Southampton away, Brighton last week etc - where we were poor for parts of the game and really improved in the second half. But if you have a lot of bad performances - you don't lose once in 24 games.
Totally agree with this.

At the same time, City and Liverpool have set new standards in the past 3 seasons in terms of what it takes to win the title. We're not there yet, but we've gotten closer to them thanks to Ole, despite an uninspiring transfer summer. Whether he's the guy to take us beyond those teams is another thing, but the progress is undeniable. And whether this progress is good enough for you as a fan is subjective. I feel we're doing ok, all things considered.

With regard to OP, it's not even debatable whether the non existent preseason caused ours and City's slow start. Of course it did. Almost all teams in the final rounds of European competition last season suffered shock results in the first 2 to 3 weeks before things levelled out.
 

Gordon S

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Maybe it´s already been mentioned, but half our squad were playing with their national teams in that short break in aug-sep as well iirc.
And we have now played like 47-48 competitive games already this season thats been shorter than usual. I am impressed by our players and staff that are able to squeeze out results almost every 3-4 days for such a long time!
 

Bobcat

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How many great performances have we put in this season? Or the season before? Not very many. That’s not to say we haven’t improved. We have, because we at least have spells in games where we do look a good team. And we’ve been consistently getting results which is never a bad thing. But we have a lot of work to do in the market to take the next step. Finishing second this season is a decent achievement, but that’s all it is.
But even putting aside fatigue for a second, we very much still are a work in progress and many of our player capable of producing great offensive performances have struggled this season

Bruno is running on fumes, he still manages to put up the numbers, but hes much more sloppy now than he was a year ago which is perfectly understandable
Pogba had Covid, was in shite form and then has been on/off injured for large parts of the season. Lately hes put out some really good performances, but by large hes contributed little
Rashford is also knackered and struggles with niggles/knocks
Greenwood has a bad case of second season syndrome. His performances have been good though, but he lacks the final product he had last season
Martial have been imo, the worst CF in the league this season. Lacks final product, but worse still his overall contribution is just not there. Needs to move on
Cavani, despite a good start where everyone (me included) thought he was Zlatan 2.0, has reverted back to being the injury prone 34 year old he is.
VdB is an enigma and for some reason, Ole does not trust him at all. Has not looked great either when hes gotten the chance

I agree that we have scraped by in a lot of games, but our two most creative players and pretty much all of our forwards are struggling with form right now.