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

NZT-One

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
70
Location
Berlin
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.
I don't know about the bolded part. One player doesn't encourage a team to be possession-based. Especially seeing how we play today where it feels like Bruno has all freedom and is encouraged to release the ball as soon as possible to unleash a striker. Against Brighton, it felt like Pogba has been on the same mission so this is certainly no coincidence. We want to take risks by skipping most of the opposition midfield. It ties with Ole talking about quick vertical passes and fast attacks. It somewhat fits our players as well having Bruno play his natural game, having Strikers/Wingers who are best operating in space and having a double pivot that works best when just asked to shield the back4.

Just adding VDB into the mix alone won't change that. On the contrary, without interplay DVB wouldn't have anything that plays for him in midfield. Plus, I always feel him in an 8 role, would take him further away from the final third where I feel, his strengths lie. I mean, I get it, he is a quick thinker, good at finding space and a good short passer so he "has the attributes" to play in midfield. But wouldn't that be more or less the same like asking Kagawa to play in CM or Mata or maybe even Martial?
I feel VDB would be utilized the best as some sort of shadow-striker, false-nine playing close with team mates, where his (last years) fine finishing and his ability to play off other players using small spaces could be utilized. At the end of the day, he often was compared to T. Mueller, a "Raumdeuter", a player who roams and pops up somewhere unexpected to score or assist. Having him further away from goal with a bigger responsibility in defense would somewhat prevent him from doing that. He is neither particularly good in dribbling, nor has the passing range and certainly isn't known for his defensive contribution.
Shoving him into the midfield would require more things to work, Bruno would have to play a bit further back (something I'd like to see anyway but his numbers rectify the current state of affairs), we would have to buy a dominant DM or Fred or McTominay step up big time. I don't think, that is feasible.

I hope, that DVB gets the chance in Martial absence to show what he can do in a sort-of-striker role. Makes it easier to evaluate and decide, which route to go with him.

Currently, there is no way to really create a balanced midfield out of DVB, Bruno, Pogba, Fred and McTominay in my eyes, which certainly is a problem resulting from suboptimal squad composition. We have four players there that don't really fit a traditional role description...
Pogba isn't an AM but his workrate lets him appear as only a make-shift CM without the ball.
DVB isn't a traditional AM due to missing dribbling and passing, has some workrate but lacks physical and defensive contribution to be an allround CM.
Fred and McTominay have workrate in abundance but neither is particularly strong in defense to be considered DM while their technical abilities let them appear as only medium CMs.
I am over-critical here to prove a point: while you can benefit from having a (one) player not fitting a traditional role, it becomes a bigger an bigger challenge to create a midfield, when most of your players play a somewhat special way. Of course you could get around that by having a very special-tailored system around, to limit the effects of individual weaknesses but that's something I feel we lack.

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 think, currently we are in a relatively comfortable situation. I agree, that striker doesn't need to be Tier 1 to fill in but I think, this could also be applied to RW, where I agree with the other poster, Raphinha or Neto look like valid options. I guess, we will be able to make just one bigger signing so observing the market and act accordingly would be my way to proceed.
 

Kag

Full Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
16,581
Location
United Kingdom
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.
Good post. I agree that it is often overlooked just how difficult we are to beat. That we conceded a third of our league goals in the space of the first three games (something I hadn’t realised) also puts the quality of our defence into perspective.

There’s still some way to go, and I’m convinced that we need at least three first team players at striker, right wing and centre half to really kick on, but we are a difficult team to beat. Much moreso than many of our rivals at the moment.
 

Wewinsoon

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Mar 8, 2021
Messages
30
I don't know about the bolded part. One player doesn't encourage a team to be possession-based. Especially seeing how we play today where it feels like Bruno has all freedom and is encouraged to release the ball as soon as possible to unleash a striker. Against Brighton, it felt like Pogba has been on the same mission so this is certainly no coincidence. We want to take risks by skipping most of the opposition midfield. It ties with Ole talking about quick vertical passes and fast attacks. It somewhat fits our players as well having Bruno play his natural game, having Strikers/Wingers who are best operating in space and having a double pivot that works best when just asked to shield the back4.

Just adding VDB into the mix alone won't change that. On the contrary, without interplay DVB wouldn't have anything that plays for him in midfield. Plus, I always feel him in an 8 role, would take him further away from the final third where I feel, his strengths lie. I mean, I get it, he is a quick thinker, good at finding space and a good short passer so he "has the attributes" to play in midfield. But wouldn't that be more or less the same like asking Kagawa to play in CM or Mata or maybe even Martial?
I feel VDB would be utilized the best as some sort of shadow-striker, false-nine playing close with team mates, where his (last years) fine finishing and his ability to play off other players using small spaces could be utilized. At the end of the day, he often was compared to T. Mueller, a "Raumdeuter", a player who roams and pops up somewhere unexpected to score or assist. Having him further away from goal with a bigger responsibility in defense would somewhat prevent him from doing that. He is neither particularly good in dribbling, nor has the passing range and certainly isn't known for his defensive contribution.
Shoving him into the midfield would require more things to work, Bruno would have to play a bit further back (something I'd like to see anyway but his numbers rectify the current state of affairs), we would have to buy a dominant DM or Fred or McTominay step up big time. I don't think, that is feasible.

I hope, that DVB gets the chance in Martial absence to show what he can do in a sort-of-striker role. Makes it easier to evaluate and decide, which route to go with him.

Currently, there is no way to really create a balanced midfield out of DVB, Bruno, Pogba, Fred and McTominay in my eyes, which certainly is a problem resulting from suboptimal squad composition. We have four players there that don't really fit a traditional role description...
Pogba isn't an AM but his workrate lets him appear as only a make-shift CM without the ball.
DVB isn't a traditional AM due to missing dribbling and passing, has some workrate but lacks physical and defensive contribution to be an allround CM.
Fred and McTominay have workrate in abundance but neither is particularly strong in defense to be considered DM while their technical abilities let them appear as only medium CMs.
I am over-critical here to prove a point: while you can benefit from having a (one) player not fitting a traditional role, it becomes a bigger an bigger challenge to create a midfield, when most of your players play a somewhat special way. Of course you could get around that by having a very special-tailored system around, to limit the effects of individual weaknesses but that's something I feel we lack.


I think, currently we are in a relatively comfortable situation. I agree, that striker doesn't need to be Tier 1 to fill in but I think, this could also be applied to RW, where I agree with the other poster, Raphinha or Neto look like valid options. I guess, we will be able to make just one bigger signing so observing the market and act accordingly would be my way to proceed.
Tier 1 ST we could build on for 8+ years total would be the play. Why always aim Low, we have seen often for important position, it's good to go big
 

tomaldinho1

Full Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2015
Messages
6,740
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
Yh I hadn't thought of Rafinha but could be an option. Agreed re surprise signing, I feel like there's maybe something in the rumours we keep looking at Saul.
 

MinGin

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
48
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.
The reasons of us are the excuses and the reason of other team flopped are the reason. Some people always maximize the opponent's reason and minimize ours.
Yes, SAF is so good and i do not think anyone could copy his road again in terms of man management.

But Man United was not a modernization club when SAF retired (Even top level managers, such as Pep, Klopp etc. also refused to takeover the club when SAF retired if rumors were real) and messed up around 5.5 years after SAF era. You should consider the status of the club when Ole took over. It was not a champions, the most successful team in England, with the biggest turnover, the largest profits, a global following etc. again. It was a club who fluctuate in 4th - 6th position, a club who high paid of some average players, a club who was in bad atmosphere.
Rome wasn't built in a day. You cannot request the manager to transform everything in just 2.5 years. especially a pandemic period which cost us heavily in economic compare with Moneybags' toy clubs. It is only ONE team who is upper and more stable than us in the table currently and that club has a team who managed 5 years in ONE manager, all the players are bought and wanted by ONE manager and a billion dollar spent by ONE manager. And look at our team, we have some deadwood not clear yet.

Also, it is hard to request our performance look shape in EVERY matches with a unbalance team when we have a one of toughest fixture and the opponent have more days rest and preparation against us. The different of our work rate and opponent's work rate would be a inverse proportion when the players haven't enough fitness and stamina. One or two more steps from each players would be huge different in the pitch.
 
Last edited:

justsomebloke

Full Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
729
I don't know about the bolded part. One player doesn't encourage a team to be possession-based. Especially seeing how we play today where it feels like Bruno has all freedom and is encouraged to release the ball as soon as possible to unleash a striker. Against Brighton, it felt like Pogba has been on the same mission so this is certainly no coincidence. We want to take risks by skipping most of the opposition midfield. It ties with Ole talking about quick vertical passes and fast attacks. It somewhat fits our players as well having Bruno play his natural game, having Strikers/Wingers who are best operating in space and having a double pivot that works best when just asked to shield the back4.

Just adding VDB into the mix alone won't change that. On the contrary, without interplay DVB wouldn't have anything that plays for him in midfield. Plus, I always feel him in an 8 role, would take him further away from the final third where I feel, his strengths lie. I mean, I get it, he is a quick thinker, good at finding space and a good short passer so he "has the attributes" to play in midfield. But wouldn't that be more or less the same like asking Kagawa to play in CM or Mata or maybe even Martial?
I feel VDB would be utilized the best as some sort of shadow-striker, false-nine playing close with team mates, where his (last years) fine finishing and his ability to play off other players using small spaces could be utilized. At the end of the day, he often was compared to T. Mueller, a "Raumdeuter", a player who roams and pops up somewhere unexpected to score or assist. Having him further away from goal with a bigger responsibility in defense would somewhat prevent him from doing that. He is neither particularly good in dribbling, nor has the passing range and certainly isn't known for his defensive contribution.
Shoving him into the midfield would require more things to work, Bruno would have to play a bit further back (something I'd like to see anyway but his numbers rectify the current state of affairs), we would have to buy a dominant DM or Fred or McTominay step up big time. I don't think, that is feasible.

I hope, that DVB gets the chance in Martial absence to show what he can do in a sort-of-striker role. Makes it easier to evaluate and decide, which route to go with him.

Currently, there is no way to really create a balanced midfield out of DVB, Bruno, Pogba, Fred and McTominay in my eyes, which certainly is a problem resulting from suboptimal squad composition. We have four players there that don't really fit a traditional role description...
Pogba isn't an AM but his workrate lets him appear as only a make-shift CM without the ball.
DVB isn't a traditional AM due to missing dribbling and passing, has some workrate but lacks physical and defensive contribution to be an allround CM.
Fred and McTominay have workrate in abundance but neither is particularly strong in defense to be considered DM while their technical abilities let them appear as only medium CMs.
I am over-critical here to prove a point: while you can benefit from having a (one) player not fitting a traditional role, it becomes a bigger an bigger challenge to create a midfield, when most of your players play a somewhat special way. Of course you could get around that by having a very special-tailored system around, to limit the effects of individual weaknesses but that's something I feel we lack.


I think, currently we are in a relatively comfortable situation. I agree, that striker doesn't need to be Tier 1 to fill in but I think, this could also be applied to RW, where I agree with the other poster, Raphinha or Neto look like valid options. I guess, we will be able to make just one bigger signing so observing the market and act accordingly would be my way to proceed.
That's a very thoughtful post, with some excellent points made. I think you're right about sub-optimal squad composition in that position. Also that DvdB is unlikely to be at his best as a no 8. And that the trouble is how to fit him in elsewhere.
 

elmo

Can never have too many Eevees
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
9,178
Location
AKA: Slapanut Goat Smuggla
The actual football being played hasn't progressed as far as the grinding out of results.

Weeks after weeks of watching us come out flat and concede early in the game only for the players to actually start playing properly with 15 mins left in the game.

Watching our games is honestly a chore, especially when it's taking place between 1-4am in the morning.
 

MinGin

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Nov 26, 2020
Messages
48
I don't know about the bolded part. One player doesn't encourage a team to be possession-based. Especially seeing how we play today where it feels like Bruno has all freedom and is encouraged to release the ball as soon as possible to unleash a striker. Against Brighton, it felt like Pogba has been on the same mission so this is certainly no coincidence. We want to take risks by skipping most of the opposition midfield. It ties with Ole talking about quick vertical passes and fast attacks. It somewhat fits our players as well having Bruno play his natural game, having Strikers/Wingers who are best operating in space and having a double pivot that works best when just asked to shield the back4.

Just adding VDB into the mix alone won't change that. On the contrary, without interplay DVB wouldn't have anything that plays for him in midfield. Plus, I always feel him in an 8 role, would take him further away from the final third where I feel, his strengths lie. I mean, I get it, he is a quick thinker, good at finding space and a good short passer so he "has the attributes" to play in midfield. But wouldn't that be more or less the same like asking Kagawa to play in CM or Mata or maybe even Martial?
I feel VDB would be utilized the best as some sort of shadow-striker, false-nine playing close with team mates, where his (last years) fine finishing and his ability to play off other players using small spaces could be utilized. At the end of the day, he often was compared to T. Mueller, a "Raumdeuter", a player who roams and pops up somewhere unexpected to score or assist. Having him further away from goal with a bigger responsibility in defense would somewhat prevent him from doing that. He is neither particularly good in dribbling, nor has the passing range and certainly isn't known for his defensive contribution.
Shoving him into the midfield would require more things to work, Bruno would have to play a bit further back (something I'd like to see anyway but his numbers rectify the current state of affairs), we would have to buy a dominant DM or Fred or McTominay step up big time. I don't think, that is feasible.

I hope, that DVB gets the chance in Martial absence to show what he can do in a sort-of-striker role. Makes it easier to evaluate and decide, which route to go with him.

Currently, there is no way to really create a balanced midfield out of DVB, Bruno, Pogba, Fred and McTominay in my eyes, which certainly is a problem resulting from suboptimal squad composition. We have four players there that don't really fit a traditional role description...
Pogba isn't an AM but his workrate lets him appear as only a make-shift CM without the ball.
DVB isn't a traditional AM due to missing dribbling and passing, has some workrate but lacks physical and defensive contribution to be an allround CM.
Fred and McTominay have workrate in abundance but neither is particularly strong in defense to be considered DM while their technical abilities let them appear as only medium CMs.
I am over-critical here to prove a point: while you can benefit from having a (one) player not fitting a traditional role, it becomes a bigger an bigger challenge to create a midfield, when most of your players play a somewhat special way. Of course you could get around that by having a very special-tailored system around, to limit the effects of individual weaknesses but that's something I feel we lack.


I think, currently we are in a relatively comfortable situation. I agree, that striker doesn't need to be Tier 1 to fill in but I think, this could also be applied to RW, where I agree with the other poster, Raphinha or Neto look like valid options. I guess, we will be able to make just one bigger signing so observing the market and act accordingly would be my way to proceed.
Would it be a new trial for DVB as AM and Bruno as LFW with role switching in the last match? I think most of our players especially our young front three cannot synchronize the timing and the picture of pass and run with DVB.
 

Knux

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Feb 25, 2014
Messages
1,119
Supports
AIK Stockholm
The progress is clear for everyone to see. Ole’s done a great job with this squad. Only 4 losses in 43 games is impressive and the away record is excellent.

However, there are some big question marks if this team wants to win the league. We’re literally one or two injuries away from a mid table starting XI and bench. The depth is nowhere near good enough.

We are on the right track and can hopefully compete next season with some summer signings.
 

rotherham_red

Full Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2005
Messages
6,397
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.
Disagree. Leipzig had no penetration at all and outside of that chance off a set-piece we were more than comfortable. The fact we had an early goal meant that we wanted them to come on to us so that we could hit them on the counter. The only thing missing was the cutting edge and as soon as Bruno and Rashford came on, we had it and subsequently ran riot.

Newcastle was a good performance. Outside of their freak OG opener in the first 30 or so seconds they had what, one, maybe two chances for the rest of the match? We absolutely dominated them but for large parts of it we couldn't find the finish. 28 shots (14 on target) to 7 suggests that this was the case too. We also had a 2.32 xG, which is definitely suggestive of a strong performance (especially when you consider that half of the goals we scored were from low probability positions).

It's up to you re Southampton, but honestly outside of that period where they scored twice, we were the better side. We could and should have put the tie to bed before they even scored their first. Greenwood and Bruno essentially missing two sitters and Rashford being denied a blatant penalty too. Their goals meant we lost our composure for around 20 or so mins, but the game turned on the Cavani sub and we subsequently steamrollered them and they were lucky it wasn't a bigger margin of victory.
 

acnumber9

Full Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2006
Messages
17,569
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.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This was yours when we were second under Mourinho.
City play like a team - we rely on great individual performance to win games.
Seems quite familiar.
 

OleTheGreat

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
564
Location
Bangalore, India
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.
No No I completely disagree. Lukaku and Haaland are world's apart. Just yesterday Haaland produced a fantastic pass to find Marco Reus for the goal against City in the CL which for Lukaku would've been a lose touch and losing possession. I think selling Lukaku was the best thing that happened to us because he definitely isn't a United #9. He was not great on the ball and his first are awful. I'm not saying Martial is great on the ball either but he was pretty decent last season. We definitely need a striker who is good with his back to the goal, who can hold up play and bring the other forwards into play.

Herrera of course was a huge loss and whole club knows that. He was a machine in midfield, Mctominay and Fred are no match for him. I only wish United had bought Thiago in in the summer window, he would've been perfect for us and he would've made things so much easier for the backline as well as Pogba and Bruno. We badly missed a trick here. He is a misfit at Liverpool and is badly wasted there. Ole needs some quality players because the level of football hasn't gone up by much. We still play awful football until the opponents score. We still cannot get out of sticky positions without losing possession and the most important thing,

SAF teams lost possession most often too but every time they had possession they were a threat and likely to put a shot on target or at least come close to creating a chance but this team hardly creates meaningful chances. It is hardly edge of the seat stuff with this team (I know I know we have gained 25 points from losing positions) but that only means we start poorly so so many times. There are many factors to that but the cohesion isn't still there in this team and 3-4 high quality players will change the whole mindset. It is completely possible.
 

lysglimt

Full Member
Scout
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
11,447
Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This was yours when we were second under Mourinho.

Seems quite familiar.
But I have never claimed differently. City play better football than us - I have never denied that. I still don't understand the point you are trying to make. I have never said we are brilliant - but we are rarely bad. That is the point I am making. 4-5 games this season, i would call us bad...the majority of the games we are solid, yet unspectacular. But there is a bit f difference between being bad and being unspectacular
 

acnumber9

Full Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2006
Messages
17,569
But I have never claimed differently. City play better football than us - I have never denied that. I still don't understand the point you are trying to make. I have never said we are brilliant - but we are rarely bad. That is the point I am making. 4-5 games this season, i would call us bad...the majority of the games we are solid, yet unspectacular. But there is a bit f difference between being bad and being unspectacular
The point I am making was shown in my earlier posts. There are parallels to when we last finished second. That post I quoted was from 2018. It could just as easily apply now.

It all comes down to an opinion on what qualifies as poor performances. Results don’t mean performances aren’t poor. United have shown they can play poorly and win. I would say most of the footballing world would agree that United’s performances aren’t great. Eventually results catch up unless the performances improve.
 

TrustInOle

Full Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2019
Messages
1,705
Location
Manchester
And 3 of those losses came in those 6 games at the start of the season!
I'm sorry, but that is just incredible. I'm hoping with the movement of structure inside the club, we could see some very astute signings during the summer for once, after finishing a season in top 4. Also think Donny will have a much bigger impact next season after a year with the club. We just desperately need to get that RW sorted out. God I miss Nani :lol: even a prime Valencia would be ideal for the width in this team. Once we can open the pitch width up more in the final third, I can only see us getting better, especially with our strength in depth if we recruit logically.

Fantastic thread btw.
 

lysglimt

Full Member
Scout
Joined
Jun 1, 2008
Messages
11,447
The point I am making was shown in my earlier posts. There are parallels to when we last finished second. That post I quoted was from 2018. It could just as easily apply now.

It all comes down to an opinion on what qualifies as poor performances. Results don’t mean performances aren’t poor. United have shown they can play poorly and win. I would say most of the footballing world would agree that United’s performances aren’t great. Eventually results catch up unless the performances improve.
There are so many differences - I don't know where to begin.

a) Mourinho - there were huge cracks between Mourinho and several of our players. Martial, Rashford, DDG, Pogba and Shaw - the first 2 were unhappy they werent regulars, DDG wasnt sure if he would sign a new contract, Pogba had been called a virus and Shaw was considered more or less braindead by Mourinho.

b) Age - Solskjaers team has no key-players who are 30 years or older. Mourinhos team had several players who had peaked or at least clearly didn't perform at United. Young, Fellaini, Valencia, Sanchez, Smalling, Mata, Mkhitaryan. They were expensive and not good enough. Uniteds team can naturally progress because the majority of the players are young.

c) Mourinhos squad was filled with useless players who picked up ridiculous wages without playing - and our finances hit rock bottom due to LvG and Mourinhos ridiculous shopping. There were no money to sign new players. Rojo, Darmian - in addition to the ones mentioned above.

d) Youth - there was next to no talent anywhere near first-team level during Mourinhos reign - while today we have the most talented youth-team since the 93-generation which won the FA Youth Cup (Pogba, Keanex2, Lingard, Morrison, Johnstone to name a few). We have close to 10 players who could be in the United-squad in the next 12-36 months - there are that many talents. Garner, Shoretire, Elanga, Mengi, Fish, Fernandes, Hannibal, McNeill, Hugill to name a few

e) There were clear signs that the players had got enough of Mourinho even before the 18/19 season started. The quality dropped madly in the last 1/3 of the season and a lot of the players didn't fight for him. You don't see any indications of the same with this squad and Solskjaer

Mourinho and LvG spent a fortune creating a foundation with so many cracks it was destined to collapse any second. Solskjaer has built a foundation which is much, much stronger. And even if it fails and OGS is sacked - we have so much talent in the squad that whoever comes in behind him will rub his hands at the prospect of building his team. And practically all the players are at an age where they have a real sell-on-value - so if a new manager wants to offload 4-5 players to raise cash - there will be plenty of talent left.

Henderson 24, Shaw 25, Lindelof 26, Bailly 26, Telles 28, Fred 28, Pogba 28, Lingard 28, Bruno 26, Rashford 23, McTominay 24, Martial 25, Van de Beek 23, James 23, Tuanzebe 23, AWB 23, Williams 20, Greenwood 19, Amad 18
 

acnumber9

Full Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2006
Messages
17,569
There are so many differences - I don't know where to begin.

a) Mourinho - there were huge cracks between Mourinho and several of our players. Martial, Rashford, DDG, Pogba and Shaw - the first 2 were unhappy they werent regulars, DDG wasnt sure if he would sign a new contract, Pogba had been called a virus and Shaw was considered more or less braindead by Mourinho.

b) Age - Solskjaers team has no key-players who are 30 years or older. Mourinhos team had several players who had peaked or at least clearly didn't perform at United. Young, Fellaini, Valencia, Sanchez, Smalling, Mata, Mkhitaryan. They were expensive and not good enough. Uniteds team can naturally progress because the majority of the players are young.

c) Mourinhos squad was filled with useless players who picked up ridiculous wages without playing - and our finances hit rock bottom due to LvG and Mourinhos ridiculous shopping. There were no money to sign new players. Rojo, Darmian - in addition to the ones mentioned above.

d) Youth - there was next to no talent anywhere near first-team level during Mourinhos reign - while today we have the most talented youth-team since the 93-generation which won the FA Youth Cup (Pogba, Keanex2, Lingard, Morrison, Johnstone to name a few). We have close to 10 players who could be in the United-squad in the next 12-36 months - there are that many talents. Garner, Shoretire, Elanga, Mengi, Fish, Fernandes, Hannibal, McNeill, Hugill to name a few

e) There were clear signs that the players had got enough of Mourinho even before the 18/19 season started. The quality dropped madly in the last 1/3 of the season and a lot of the players didn't fight for him. You don't see any indications of the same with this squad and Solskjaer

Mourinho and LvG spent a fortune creating a foundation with so many cracks it was destined to collapse any second. Solskjaer has built a foundation which is much, much stronger. And even if it fails and OGS is sacked - we have so much talent in the squad that whoever comes in behind him will rub his hands at the prospect of building his team. And practically all the players are at an age where they have a real sell-on-value - so if a new manager wants to offload 4-5 players to raise cash - there will be plenty of talent left.

Henderson 24, Shaw 25, Lindelof 26, Bailly 26, Telles 28, Fred 28, Pogba 28, Lingard 28, Bruno 26, Rashford 23, McTominay 24, Martial 25, Van de Beek 23, James 23, Tuanzebe 23, AWB 23, Williams 20, Greenwood 19, Amad 18
None of that changes the similarities in performances and results. C in particular points to the fact we should be doing better now. We’re at a similar point to where we were 6 months before Solskjaer took the job. Provided we get better again next season then all is well. In order for that to happen he needs to start getting better performances out of the players we have and our board need to get their finger out and strengthen the squad. I’m not sure it will happen.
 

snk123

Full Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
2,027
So?

Refute what the poster has said, or can't you because it's all true?
I refuted this above but seems no one really wants to hear it? You can not compare the average points of 6 games with the average points of 24 games.

We have had multiple 5-6 game periods when we had around 1.5 PPG. It is just poor form and inconsistency not because of lack of preseason.
 

Ole's screen

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Oct 18, 2020
Messages
77
Location
Right next to Ole’s seat
Supports
KC Chiefs
None of that changes the similarities in performances and results. C in particular points to the fact we should be doing better now. We’re at a similar point to where we were 6 months before Solskjaer took the job. Provided we get better again next season then all is well. In order for that to happen he needs to start getting better performances out of the players we have and our board need to get their finger out and strengthen the squad. I’m not sure it will happen.
Our football under Ole is miles better than under Jose even during the season we finished 2nd. Just because it's not possession based positional play and uses fast transitions doesn't mean its the same thing as the 6 men at the back, follow your fullback at all costs borefest that was Jose's football. A good example of that would be to compare Spurs win against City this season and ours. Spur's tactic of keeping track of City's advanced midfielders was to basically play a back 6, while Ole's was to challenge them higher up the field and it was very clear that we were trying not to get pulled into a back 6.

Even in regards to possession play, we are much more comfortable in possession than in 2018, we are much better at creating chances (our xG is higher than then) and we are much better at finishing them (we score more goals). Our average possession is also higher than then. Under Jose it routinely looked like the only way to progress the ball up the field was let someone hoof it up to Lukaku to control and hold up (which he was particularly shit at). Also remember multiple games where it looked like we were conceding chance after chance, but only de Gea's god-like form saved us for Jose's entire tenure. That hasn't ever happened under Ole apart from that one game against Spurs early on.

All of this obviously comes with the caveat that the board actually get him some decent signing going forwards. However if they don't I doubt even Pep would be able to win a title here with us. You have to remember that Pep has bought basically a new CB and a FB every year he's been at City. No way he would get that type of backing here.
 

He'sRaldo

Full Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
2,504
I accept that we've improved from the abysmal low we sank to last season. This season Ole has taken us to around the average level where Utd should be (and should never drop very far from).

The target though is still winning the PL so the question marks over Ole still stand. For me, the question was always if he has it in him to beat Klopp and especially Pep to the PL without being backed to perfection. Because if we're all waiting to have 3-4 perfect windows in a row before we can challenge, we'll be waiting a long long time. With the way we're run we need a manager that can work with less than ideal conditions, and the question is still there as to whether Ole is that man.

This season we've progressed from 3rd to (hopefully) 2nd, nowhere to go but 1st next season. Let's see if he has it in him.
 

Champagne Football

Full Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
3,979
Location
El Beatle
Cavani's sensational headed late double away to Southampton in November, is what kick started a winning run that put us briefly on top, and set the tone for season so far. We were inconsistent up until then.
 

MU655

Full Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2020
Messages
383
Overall, I still don't think it is sustainable. There are too many games this season where we have looked no better, or worse, than the opposition but still managed to gain the points. That can only carry you so far and could be awful if Fernandes's ability to bail us out ever wanes.

The true difference maker is Fernandes. But how long will that difference exist? Chelsea lack a star player in their forwards. They probably have the worst attack of the traditional top teams, to be honest. Will they go another season without one?

Also, you have to consider whether the second is only temporary with Liverpool's massive drop. Will they continue like this or return to previous season form?

Leicester have been improving at a far faster rate than us since 18/19. If they continue at this pace, they could overtake us next season.

At the moment, I think there are a lot of factors favouring us which makes the position unsustainable. We have not looked as some team capitalising over strong opposition, but more benefiting from their weaknesses.

I have no confidence that we will challenge next, and see it more likely as fighting to maintain top four.
 

acnumber9

Full Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2006
Messages
17,569
Our football under Ole is miles better than under Jose even during the season we finished 2nd. Just because it's not possession based positional play and uses fast transitions doesn't mean its the same thing as the 6 men at the back, follow your fullback at all costs borefest that was Jose's football. A good example of that would be to compare Spurs win against City this season and ours. Spur's tactic of keeping track of City's advanced midfielders was to basically play a back 6, while Ole's was to challenge them higher up the field and it was very clear that we were trying not to get pulled into a back 6.

Even in regards to possession play, we are much more comfortable in possession than in 2018, we are much better at creating chances (our xG is higher than then) and we are much better at finishing them (we score more goals). Our average possession is also higher than then. Under Jose it routinely looked like the only way to progress the ball up the field was let someone hoof it up to Lukaku to control and hold up (which he was particularly shit at). Also remember multiple games where it looked like we were conceding chance after chance, but only de Gea's god-like form saved us for Jose's entire tenure. That hasn't ever happened under Ole apart from that one game against Spurs early on.

All of this obviously comes with the caveat that the board actually get him some decent signing going forwards. However if they don't I doubt even Pep would be able to win a title here with us. You have to remember that Pep has bought basically a new CB and a FB every year he's been at City. No way he would get that type of backing here.
I don’t give a shit about possession play. I do give a shit about games like Brighton at home where we didn’t muster a shot on target in the first half, or Crystal Palace where our one shot on target was a deflected shot from Matic for twenty yards, the regular, actually constant, slow starts to games, the 8 goals in our last 9 games.

You compare Spurs performance against City to our away performance. Compare it to the game at Old Trafford where we made no attempt to win the game. Or the games against Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool. The tactics may be slightly different, but the performances aren’t that different.
 

Ole's screen

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Oct 18, 2020
Messages
77
Location
Right next to Ole’s seat
Supports
KC Chiefs
I don’t give a shit about possession play. I do give a shit about games like Brighton at home where we didn’t muster a shot on target in the first half, or Crystal Palace where our one shot on target was a deflected shot from Matic for twenty yards, the regular, actually constant, slow starts to games, the 8 goals in our last 9 games.

You compare Spurs performance against City to our away performance. Compare it to the game at Old Trafford where we made no attempt to win the game. Or the games against Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool. The tactics may be slightly different, but the performances aren’t that different.
Err yeah they are dude. Under Jose we didn't win any away games against the top 4. Even take the draws against City at OT this season and the draw against Liverpool in 2017. We clearly tried to win this one and forced City to play very cautiously, whereas at Liverpool (where we went in as favorites BTW after a very good start to the season) we could hardly string 2 passes together in their half and were again bailed out by a monstrous De Gea performance. I'm sorry but your analysis of "made no attempt to win the game" doesn't ring true at all. If anything City came to OT to get a draw and we couldn't break them down.
 

acnumber9

Full Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2006
Messages
17,569
Err yeah they are dude. Under Jose we didn't win any away games against the top 4. Even take the draws against City at OT this season and the draw against Liverpool in 2017. We clearly tried to win this one and forced City to play very cautiously, whereas at Liverpool (where we went in as favorites BTW after a very good start to the season) we could hardly string 2 passes together in their half and were again bailed out by a monstrous De Gea performance. I'm sorry but your analysis of "made no attempt to win the game" doesn't ring true at all. If anything City came to OT to get a draw and we couldn't break them down.
Err, yes we did dude. 3-2 away to City. We also beat Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs at home. We’ve beaten none of those this season.

We went to Anfield this season and barely tried to win against a team with no centre backs that went on to lose their next 6 games there. Amongst the teams who did try and successfully beat them were Everton, Burnley, Fulham and Brighton.

Both teams were petrified of losing the first Manchester Derby and were happy to draw. Just like we were happy to draw with Chelsea home and away, Liverpool and Arsenal away.
 

MadDogg

Full Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
12,304
Location
Manchester Utd never lose, just run out of time
I refuted this above but seems no one really wants to hear it? You can not compare the average points of 6 games with the average points of 24 games.

We have had multiple 5-6 game periods when we had around 1.5 PPG. It is just poor form and inconsistency not because of lack of preseason.
So you think the fact that every team in Europe who were in a similar position to us had a poor start to the season is just a coincidence, and nothing to do with a lack of preseason?

Take the first 6 games of ourselves, City, Chelsea, Inter and Sevilla. 30 games in total, and these teams together averaged 1.5 ppg. After that starting period, these teams have averaged 2.2 ppg. All of us got better after the first six or so games.

Wolves are the only team with a similar preseason to us who were better at the start of the season than later (although they still lost two of their first three games). However that's because they collapsed once their most important player suffered a fractured skull and was out for the season.