Playing in an attacking/modern style of football exposes who isn’t good enough to play for United

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Raees, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Jan 9, 2019
    #1

    Raees Legal Guardian of the Football forums

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    I’ve felt for a long time that under Mourinho and the previous incumbents that it was sometimes hard to tell who wasn’t quite up to the task and who was.

    We had very gifted players like Pogba looking like half the player, someone like Rashford trying to take the world and his dog on by holding on to the ball too long and being too greedy due to lack of runners around him and on the other side we had guys like Fellaini who looked effective whenever they were coming on the pitch compared to say a Herrera and likewise Smalling looked a lot more integral than a Lindelof. Also difficult to tell if De Gea had it in him to distribute the ball like a modern keeper or if it suited him to just punt it out at first sign of press.

    Even players like Luke Shaw - we just assumed that he’s a natually gifted attacking left back whose dodgy defensively based on what was being fed to us by manager and it was hard to tell if he was being restricted. Lukaku was both at home yet also strangely a ill fit under Jose - difficult to tell if he suited United or not.

    Put simply under Ole’s brief tenure - I’ve learnt that Pogba is a baller and looks so at home in a fluid attacking system, Rashford is without doubt a talented footballer and will use his team mates if he has options, Lindelof does have ball playing ability to a high level, Jones is a donkey of epic proportions and will be making lots of errors in a passing from the back system, Shaw is actually a better defender than he is going forwards (so he was an ideal Jose full back all along it seems), Valencia and Young are holding us back and it is difficult to picture a long term vision with Lukaku playing up front as a starter if United are going to be top dogs again. Mata has been exposed as simply not good enough to be a first teamer even in a attacking system, Herrera looks class and Matic whilst he does play more progressive under Ole looks as though he lacks the legs to be able to anchor this side consistently without making clumsy passes under pressure.

    Still early days but I feel we are in a better place now to judge by end of season what we exactly need and who isn’t quite suited to playing for us and vice versa. Do you guys agree?
  2. Jan 9, 2019
    #2

    Subho611 Full Member

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    I know what you are saying, but I guess most sensible posters here already assessed the players you pointed out in a similar way. Only difference would be Shaw to an extent.

    We already knew Mata is done at this level - with or without the system. Valencia has been gash for a while now and Lukaku obviously is not the striker you want to have at the top of a mobile and interchanging front three.

    I think the only thing the system proved was that we can play attacking football and score loads of goals against majority of the teams with the players we currently have. So Mourinho’s pragmatism was totall bullshit.
  3. Jan 9, 2019
    #3

    Loublaze ATLien

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    Put simply under Ole’s brief tenure - I’ve learnt that Pogba is a baller and looks so at home in a fluid attacking system

    Did you not watch the world cup then? Also, do you remember the great start to the 2017/18 season with the four 4-0 wins in the first 7 games? We scored 18 goals in those 7 games and Pogba, Lukaku, Rashford and Martial were unstoppable.
  4. Jan 9, 2019
    #4

    ErranMorad New Member

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    I think we already knew most, if not all, these things.
    • Anyone who had seen Pogba at Juventus knew that he would excel as an attacking midfielder from the left with other midfielders providing the base for him.
    • Shaw's defensive side was already developed at S'ton and it's his attacking game that needed to develop
    • Rashford and Martial are top talents who should excel under a more attacking system. Also, it was pretty clear (and it still is) that Rashford needs to improve his hold-up play and composure in front of the goal to be the number 1 striker for this club.
    • When De Gea first started, his distribution was one of the better part of his games. His commands of the area still needs a lot of improvement.
    • Lukaku despite his size never was a Drogba type striker with good hold-up and link-up play. He is a hard working striker who likes the ball at his feet running at the goal. I always saw him as a better Chicharito.
    • Smalling, Jones, Valencia, Young - there hasn't been any new revelation about them. There decline/limitations have been pretty evident for a while.
    Lindelof's ball playing skills have definitely have been a revelation. He didn't look good in that aspect under Jose's system. I doubted his ability to even be a back-up at this club. Now I feel he can definitely be a 3rd choice CB in a winning team.

    The biggest positive has been confirmation of the ability of this squad to play attacking football and score a lot of goals. It always felt like that the defensive approach under Jose is holding the midfield and the attack back. And that has turned out to be true. There were really were no reasons for us to pay too much respect to lower table teams either home or away.
  5. Jan 9, 2019
    #5

    Raees Legal Guardian of the Football forums

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    Well to be fair France aren’t overtly attacking under Deschamps (plus he takes a back seat in light of Mbappe and Griezmann) and with Juve - he played in a counter attacking pragmatic balanced set up.

    This could be the first side where he plays for a side committed to all out attack, which I think suits him very well.
  6. Jan 9, 2019
    #6

    LoveFootball New Member

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    There's no revelations apart from Lindelof ball playing ability and people who followed him in Portuguese League can tell you he had it on him.
    We actually have a manager who's using players at their respective position and exploiting their strengths and they are now playing well.

    I hope Ole is as ruthless as Pep in getting rid of players he deem not good enough, no more wasting resources on the like of Fellaini, Young, Matic, Valencia, Mata, sell them and bring in better players.
  7. Jan 9, 2019
    #7

    Loublaze ATLien

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    What about that period we put teams to the sword that I mentioned? Pogba had a more free role as well. These are the games im talking about

    United 4-0 West Ham Aug 13 2017
    Swansea 0-4 United Aug 19 2017
    United 2-0 Leicester Aug 26 2017
    United 4-0 Everton September 17
    United 4-0 Palace September 30

    We also scored 4 against Newcastle and Watford and beat Arsenal 1-3 with Lingard and Pogba starring. With the exception of the Arsenal game (we hit them on quick breaks and soaked up pressure) we played free flowing attacking football in the others, with Pogba orchestrating freely in the same way he's being allowed to under Ole. It didn't last but we all witnessed it
  8. Jan 9, 2019
    #8

    Adisa likes to take afvanadva wothowi doubt

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    Manchester United have no business retaining or buying players not comfortable in possession or playing with a high tempo. We should never compromise on that.
    Was a starting player at Spanish youth level when they were fanatical about players being comfortable in the ball, starts for Spain, played for LVG. I don't even think there is a debate to be had here.
  9. Jan 9, 2019
    #9

    macheda14 Full Member

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    Do you not actually remember that start? We would be pretty average for most of the game and then have about a 10/20 minute stint of scoring for fun. The scores were always more flattering than our performances
  10. Jan 9, 2019
    #10

    Inigo Montoya Leave Wayne Rooney alone!!

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    I think irregardless of who's in charge, that's a very good point.

    I know what the OP is saying but not sure I'd agree with all his choices. IMHO, Matic is the one I've been most disappointed with;readily giving the ball away,not really looking mobile enough and poor in the tackle.
  11. Jan 9, 2019
    #11

    Raees Legal Guardian of the Football forums

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    But surely we both agree on Matic as I wasn’t exactly praising him in the OP... For me in his most recent performance it exposed exactly what you’ve just described there but my caveat is that his age is perhaps causing him to be a bad fit long term for our new approach and Herrera on the other hand outperformed him in all those facets of play you’ve mentioned.

    @Loublaze in two of those games I recall the result being very flattering but my point is that Pogba even in those games didn’t look as completely in his element as he has done in recent games - he was good no doubt but right now it’s like he’s entering his peak which is remarkable considering how lacklustre he looked for most of his time under Mourinho. His 90 min performance quality is higher than under Jose - under Jose he’d have the odd match where he’d have good spells of play mixed with bad ones.. Everton away last year was a game where he was outstanding all game but under Ole we are seeing strong performance from first minute to the last.

    @Adisa well the debate was there to be had for a reason as he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire for Spain and his distribution for them whilst it was more progressive than at United was still not brilliant. Compared to Ederson it was so worlds apart that it was rightfully picked up on. Agree that under LVG that it looked as if it was on an upwards trajectory but under latter days of Fergie, Moyes and Jose... he’s spent large part of his formative career punting it under pressure. Now hopefully if he has to hone his distribution skills in every game under new regime he can take this renewed confidence into the national set up too.
  12. Jan 9, 2019
    #12

    Ducklegs Part of first caf team to complete Destiny raid

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    I dont understand how anybody is surprised to find that actually Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Fellaini and Young are either past it, not good enough, or both.

    That selection of defenders is why De Gea faces more shots than any other keeper in the league virtually, and has done for over two years.

    Fellaini has never been a United player from day one, what ever his relative merits are, there was no place for him in this team or at this club and its travesty that he has been allowed to hang around for so long.
  13. Jan 9, 2019
    #13

    Infra-red Full Member

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    Not a proper word. Irrespective is a word. Regardless is a word.

    So sorry, just one of my (annoying) pet hates. I entirely agree with the rest of your post!
  14. Jan 9, 2019
    #14

    Gandalf Greyhame Full Member Scout

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    That run was brilliant, and it came despite us taking the foot off the gas to protect that clean sheet. I remember wondering how good we could have been if we kept going for the full 90. IIRC, Pogba got injured after this run.

    Whatever happened since then, Jose? Why couldn't we keep playing like that once Pogs returned?
  15. Jan 9, 2019
    #15

    Fracture90 Full Member

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    I think consistent style of play makes it much easier to identify our weaknesses and consequently the players that aren't good enough for our team. Guardiola has done it with City so did Klopp with 'Poo.

    Our style under Mourinho was so shambolic and lacklustre, our team as a whole looked poor and it appeared we had a new weak link popping out regularly every week.
  16. Jan 9, 2019
    #16

    ReddBalls New Member

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    Nothing remarkable about midfielders entering his peak at age 25. That's more or less the norm. Players usually get more consistent as they mature with age.
  17. Jan 9, 2019
    #17

    VeevaVee despite the protests, wears Ugg boots Scout

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    I definitely agree. Although I'm a little hesitant about who might be in a post-Jose honeymoon period. There's still question marks of attitude over a few heads for me, BUT it's great to be in a positive situation where we get to see who keeps it up, who cracks on, and even to highlight who doesn't cut it.
  18. Jan 9, 2019
    #18

    NinjaZombie Punched the air when Liverpool beat City

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    So, no Fellaini then? :lol:
  19. Jan 9, 2019
    #19

    abdo99 Full Member

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    We didn't play attacking football in any of those games. Maybe West Ham at stretch and perhaps Newcastle but the others were all functional wins. Last
    15 minutes we just overpowered teams. None of them compared to the feeling we had in the last weeks. The pressing, the one touch passing we never saw that before.
  20. Jan 9, 2019
    #20

    Crashoutcassius Full Member

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    I don't think we have proved anything yet and people are making a mistake to assume we have.
  21. Jan 9, 2019
    #21

    GloryHunter07 Full Member

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    Not sure i agree about Mata, he is a good player.
  22. Jan 9, 2019
    #22

    rampo Full Member

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    I know this thread is about attacking style of play, but for me, the most important thing that stood out from Pogba is the work he seems to be doing off the ball. I have never seen him track back/cover back ground so hard like he did in the last 4 matches. All that while not compromising on his attacking side. Turns out he can be a beast owning that midfield after all. Well, who knew?
  23. Jan 9, 2019
    #23

    NinjaFletch Full Member

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    I agree with this. Even if we put that aside I think only De Gea, Martial, Pogba, Rashford (although Lindelof may join that group) have shown that they are currently good enough, and two of them still have a question mark hanging over them and plenty to prove.

    I think there's still an awful lot to be done here; for the rest it's a question of whether they can be a cog in a well functioning machine, or whether they are part of the problem.
  24. Jan 9, 2019
    #24

    Di Maria's angel Captain of Moanchester United

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    21 shots against West Ham, 17 against Swansea, 22 against Leicester, 18 against Palace, 16 against Newcastle, 16 against Everton. Average per game = 18.3

    17 shots against Cardiff, 11 shots against Bournemouth, 16 against Huddersfield, 8 against Reading, 16 against Newcastle. Average per game = 13.6

    You need to do some work on the game of football. You seem to have no idea what "attacking" means. We may have scored at the end in some of the game, but we were relentless throughout.
  25. Jan 9, 2019
    #25

    Raees Legal Guardian of the Football forums

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    Read the sentence in full, remarkable considering how he has gone from so poor in first half of season to peak form in the space of 4 games.
  26. Jan 9, 2019
    #26

    abdo99 Full Member

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    No we were not relentless throughout, and that's not the feeling we had. we were just ahead of the other teams fitness wise and then overpowered them last 15-20 minutes when they got tired and we brought the fresh legs on of Martial/Rashford . when they caught up with us the goals quickly dried up. Some of the scorelines flattered us that's why we believed it wouldn't last and it was proven during the next stretch of games. we also played 4-2-3-1 with extra attacking mid whereas now we're attacking in 4-3-3 - something we didn't think was possible previously .
    I'm now seeing a freedom and variation in our play as opposed to a solid well oiled machine that grinds out the victories. Fullbacks are allowed to get higher up the pitch much further than they used to be - just for one example.
    Being effective is different. We're not 100% effective yet in our new attacking system but we've still seen things we didn't before. In contrast those 5 games in 17/18 were already our ceiling and exactly how the manager wanted us to play.
  27. Jan 9, 2019
    #27

    cyberman Full Member

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    Do fans of other sides call it modern football or is just It's fans?
    Its a phrase I only see on here and it annoys me.
    There's nothing modern about how Liverpool or City play this season.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  28. Jan 9, 2019
    #28

    cyberman Full Member

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    Wasnt 15/20 minutes. We concede early and take over soon after that.
    There's no need to rewrite history with how bad we've been, it wasnt overly but it was still a form of attacking.
    The big question this year is why we need to concede to start playing rather that somehow being magically fitter than other PL sides (nothing in our squad indicates that)
    We were more attacking than people thing last season, it just wasn't the slick style that people wanted.
  29. Jan 9, 2019
    #29

    ROFLUTION Full Member

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    I think Matic has been great under Ole. He can actually pass - albeit he's not super fast. But I can see there's a good player in there.

    Anyways: The defence will always be a lot burdened by such an attacking playing style, and we'll judge a lot of players on a tough premise. Even Rio and Vidic had some tough times on the counter.

    I guess the best way is to lose the ball the furthest up the pitch, and have good technical players so we don't give away possession much. Matic is a good technical defensive midfielder for instance. Herrera good at recycling the ball fast too, which is why Ole's team has worked so far.
  30. Jan 9, 2019
    #30

    Di Maria's angel Captain of Moanchester United

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    The feeling throughout the first half of the season wasn't "why do we try when the opposition tire?". It was "why did we let off the gas against Liverpool?". That was our downfall and now we're rewriting history. We were neck on neck with a high flying City for the first 7 or 8 games. We played attacking football, lost Pogba (who is still just as important right now), fell 11 points behind City after the derby and never recovered.

    As for the playing style, its the exact opposite of Mourinhos methods. He likes to stay compact and preserve the teams clean sheets however, we continously attacked our opposition till the end of each game. It didnt last as long as we wanted but it was fairly entertaining.
  31. Jan 9, 2019
    #31

    Foxbatt Full Member

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    You are certainly correct. There is nothing modern about the way they play. I have seen Ajax and the Dutch national side play these kind of football in the 70s. For sure Pep is a student of Cruijff. The Dutch got the pressing game by almost a mistake. Johan Neeskens used to chase opposing players with the ball. He was quick and had enormous stamina and would have been famous in his own right if not for the shadow of Cruijff. Then they realised that if everyone did it the opposing teams did not know what to do and conceded possession. That started the pressing game in Holland.
    Keep possession so that the opposition cannot do anything about it. Where LVG went wrong at United was that you need brilliant individual players to make the break through in the opposing defence. He did not have them and kept possession for the sake of possession. I think if he had a player like Litmanen or Robben etc if would have worked at United too without the boring football he played.
  32. Jan 9, 2019
    #32

    JohnnyKills Full Member

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    Completely agree with the OP. Tbh I wouldn't be surprised if Lukaku ends up being phased out as a result of this change.

    To be fair to Mourinho, I'm sure he wanted rid of many of our players himself. The problem is wages - we pay our players way too much across the board - and the fact that we need to recoup some of the money we spend.

    A lot of people talk about City's amazing squad management, which is fair enough, but I was reading a report today and they only made 60 million from the sale of 7 squad players including Nasri, Bony and Fernando. We can't afford to be that generous.
  33. Jan 9, 2019
    #33

    RedTillI'mDead A Key Tool

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    Not many have made this point and it's an important point.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say we've proved nothing. Beating all the lower sides (in a normal season) is pretty much guaranteed top 4 and it was a joke under Jose that were weren't beating these sides with more consistency.

    The challenge though isn't making top 4, but challenging titles and in that regard the bar will only be set once we've tried these tactics against Spurs and PSG, etc. If we can out shoot them/ better defend counters in what will become more open games then we'll know the first team isn't as bad as feared.

    What has been decided against Reading is there a very reasonable case to say our second string is not good enough in many key positions. And Lukaku is a great second string option, but is arguably not going to accept that so even where we have current solutions they could become future problems. This said I think Lukaku can be effective in many games even as a starter. A proper RW could ensure that.
  34. Jan 9, 2019
    #34

    Foxbatt Full Member

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    Our squad and the first team is also not good enough. We need a new defence line for sure. A new defensive midfield player and a right sided attacker and a new CF. Rashford alone is not enough. That is almost half the first team. Why did we spend so much on useless players in the first place?

    Getting players who have proved themselves in the PL? It is nothing. Any player who is good enough will be able to play otherwise the clubs in the PL will be winning the CL every year. It is this mistaken fallacy that the PL is the best. It is not. It is certainly the most entertaining.

    Manchester United used to have the best players in most position. We had the best keepers, the best defence and certainly the best attack and if not among the best. Yes we did suffer in midfield later.
    But now whom do we have? Yes, the best keeper. That is it. Nothing more.
  35. Jan 9, 2019
    #35

    Dr Fink Full Member

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    I agree with the OP's players, bar Mata. When linking up with Pogba, he's brilliant, but not wide right.

    We also haven't really played anyone decent, so the jury's still out on Ole, bar that the players look and feel happier, plus the football has improved 100%. Only time will tell if Ole is fully up to the job, matching the Klopps, Peps and Pochs of the world tactically.
  36. Jan 9, 2019
    #36

    Foxbatt Full Member

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    This is the problem with Mata. If he is going to get into the 11 the only position open is the right side. There are others who are better than him in other positions. So in fact he is redundant to the team.
    As for Ole this is his first big club so he needs to be given time too.
  37. Jan 9, 2019
    #37

    Josep Dowling Full Member

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    I've been saying that since the day we signed him. He's a brilliant player but he doesn't fit anywhere in our first 11. He's a number 10. If Pogba is playing higher up the pitch we don't need Mata playing as well. All he does is drift from the right to CM if we play him as a right winger. It happened all game against Newcastle until he was finally replaced. We desperately need a RW who stays wide then we can switch the play to both flanks. Our attack is so weak on the right, if I was the opposing manager you know all the attacks will come down the left wing. It's been the same for since Valencia was converted to a RB. We signed Depay, sold him and have never even attempted to buy a right sided player since. I don't get it.
  38. Jan 9, 2019
    #38

    John Blund Full Member

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    Phil Jones isn't a bad passer of the ball. He had better stats than Lindelöf against Newcastle.
    I don't believe we'll see McTominay in our squad in 2021. I don't believe Fellaini can expect the same amount of playtime under a new manager (or under Ole), as he got under Moyes and Mourinho. Valencia and Young ain't getting younger (phun indeed).
    I've lost faith in Darmian long time ago.
    Wonder how Rojo will fit in under Solskjaer, if he'll come back before Solskjaer is out again.
  39. Jan 9, 2019
    #39

    MadDogg Full Member

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    A bit harsh on Jones as he was better than Lindelof in the first couple of games. Young has also shown he's still better at the moment than any of our other options at rightback.

    Don't get me wrong, I've wanted Jones sold for a couple of years now, but he's done fairly well so far under Ole. And Young certainly isn't the future but I wouldn't really say he's been holding us back.
  40. Jan 9, 2019
    #40

    Ekeke Full Member

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    I dont think any player has shown they arent good enough to play for us so far under Ole. Its been a handful of games and almost everyone's performances have improved. Seems like a way to have a dig at Jones even though he's been one of our best CBs under the new manager