The McFred midfield duo

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Its the hill he wants to die on.

 

Ixion

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trying to teach a 25 year old how to pass the ball

Fred is the same age Petit was in 1998 and McTominay is 3 years older than Viera was then. Imagine them playing against each other at their equivalent ages.
 

Mr PG

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Been thinking about this midfield conundrum. The player most capable of replacing Fred against top teams is Jesse Lingard imo. It's a waste of his attacking talents but I honestly believe if he can adjust he'd own the role for a few years especially with his intelligence and movements. Only other options of bring back one of either academy lads on loan...Garner or (other one name I forget).
 

MvG

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Tbf that's not quite what it says, they'll be working on a new role that requires slightly different skills.
A new role which would put vital responsibility in his nonexistent ability to pass and move.
 

sebsheep

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A new role which would put vital responsibility in his nonexistent ability to pass and move.
I wasn't judging his ability to do the role, just pointing out what the article was actually saying.
If there is truth in the story we'll have to see how he adapts.
 

MvG

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I wasn't judging his ability to do the role, just pointing out what the article was actually saying.
If there is truth in the story we'll have to see how he adapts.
Right. But I think it’s pretty obvious how it will go.
 

SonyaCross493

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I wouldn't be against one of them starting, just not together. It doesn't work as a combination, they can't pass and based on recent results can't defend properly either. Which if we was grinding out 1-0 wins you could make an argument for keeping them together but we are not even doing that.

How about a McDonny? Sounds tasty doesn't it..

Ole will surely have to change the midfield for the Leicester game? Unless he's so arrogant to ignore the fans and like Sir Alex said you never ignore the fans.. I can see McTom and Pogba starting but not sure that's the right combination either. But it's a start/progress with dropping McFred for an important away game where we will be under the cosh by Leicester's counter-attack.
 
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Lynty

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trying to teach a 25 year old how to pass the ball


It's our only option to be honest.

Fred has been shocking for a while now and doesn't have the physicality to shut down counter attacks as a holding midfielder. Matic can't play holding for more than 20mins at the end of a game.

4-3-3 with McTominay is literally the best option we have. But to do that he needs a better understanding of the positioning required for the role.

You can only take good things from that tweet really, at least it shows we're not going to keep continuing with McFred.

It's either Scott, completely change system mid season to something like a 3-5-2 (which would be a shambles and scream desperation) or go back into the market in Jan for a midfielder (which would really surprise me)
 

GregM40

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I hear Fred is out for the Leicester game due to WC Qualifiers, let's see how we get on.
 

Player Red

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I hear Fred is out for the Leicester game due to WC Qualifiers, let's see how we get on.
Brazil play Uruguay in the early hours of the Friday so him and Cavani won't be available for it. Will just about be back in the country I imagine.
 

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Football is a team sport where formation and style of play are very important. If the team can't keep clean sheet game after game, you don't just put the blame on 2 players.

Analyse the games. Is every goals we conceded was Mcfred fault? How was the team press and defend as a unit? What was the problem with our formation in defence when we conceded?

Chelsea's defence was immediately transformed with Tuchel's tactics. SAF used to play the likes of Cleverly, Jones, Park in the middle.
 

ShinjiNinja26

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I dunno if I can take another season of these pair starting in midfield every game. As that kid said outside OT at the the weekend… McFred is McDead!
 

Dante

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The double pivot is the right tactic. The issue is mostly with Fred struggling against attackers running at him.

Maguire, Varane and McTominay have also been less than perfect at it, but not to the same extent.

Having watched Bissouma closely, I don't think he's the right fix. Rice and particularly Tchouameni would be, though.
 

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How is McTominay the only option when we have Donny? An intelligent baller brought up the Ajax way that actually played the 6 position. Surely it’s easier to coach someone that’s played there before, that’s resistant to the press and that can pass the ball. All they need to do is curb his forward runs. Whereas with McTominay they need to teach him how to pass, how to position, and how to be a decent footballer. It just does my head in that ole has such faith in such an average player who’s literally showed up for a few games. Big games admittedly, but such a small proportion. Why does he prefer him back there, cause he’s big and can head the ball away? Baffled and depressed by his stubbornness.
 

Zen86

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How is McTominay the only option when we have Donny? An intelligent baller brought up the Ajax way that actually played the 6 position. Surely it’s easier to coach someone that’s played there before, that’s resistant to the press and that can pass the ball. All they need to do is curb his forward runs. Whereas with McTominay they need to teach him how to pass, how to position, and how to be a decent footballer. It just does my head in that ole has such faith in such an average player who’s literally showed up for a few games. Big games admittedly, but such a small proportion. Why does he prefer him back there, cause he’s big and can head the ball away? Baffled and depressed by his stubbornness.
Well, that's a big part of it yes. McT is aggressive, energetic, and has a reasonable amount of strength and pace. Donny doesn't possess any of these attributes. In fact, Donny is probably the polar opposite of this.
 

HailtotheKing

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Well, that's a big part of it yes. McT is aggressive, energetic, and has a reasonable amount of strength and pace. Donny doesn't possess any of these attributes. In fact, Donny is probably the polar opposite of this.
Yeah which is exactly what makes McTominay a better box to box. You don’t need strength and pace sitting in front of the back 4 if you have vision, technique, and composure. But Donny seems to have plenty of energy to me and he can tackle. As well as having the above 3. All this energy and aggressive bollocks is doing my head in. Yes you need those but surely first you need to be a good footballer. Otherwise you’re just describing a Burnley. Which I agree, McTominay could absolutely play for.
 

Zen86

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Yeah which is exactly what makes McTominay a better box to box. You don’t need strength and pace sitting in front of the back 4 if you have vision, technique, and composure. But Donny seems to have plenty of energy to me and he can tackle. As well as having the above 3. All this energy and aggressive bollocks is doing my head in. Yes you need those but surely first you need to be a good footballer. Otherwise you’re just describing a Burnley. Which I agree, McTominay could absolutely play for.
Of course you need pace and strength. Just watch Matic get left for dust for a good reason why pace is necessary. As for strength, well, I think you'll struggle to find an example of a good DM who lacks strength.

Vision, technique, composure.. I mean, Bruno has these traits and he's probably stronger in the tackle, doesn't mean we should be playing him there. Square peg for a round hole. There's no way this would even be a conversation if VdB wasn't currently warming the bench.
 

Abraxas

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How is McTominay the only option when we have Donny? An intelligent baller brought up the Ajax way that actually played the 6 position. Surely it’s easier to coach someone that’s played there before, that’s resistant to the press and that can pass the ball. All they need to do is curb his forward runs. Whereas with McTominay they need to teach him how to pass, how to position, and how to be a decent footballer. It just does my head in that ole has such faith in such an average player who’s literally showed up for a few games. Big games admittedly, but such a small proportion. Why does he prefer him back there, cause he’s big and can head the ball away? Baffled and depressed by his stubbornness.
He scored all those goals in Holland from the 6 position? Him saying he can play as a 6 doesn't mean he has often done it or is suited. He was an attacking midfielder, or a box to box 8, he's not a holding midfielder.

Can it work? Who knows but it's not the most likely thing in the world, he isn't adapted to the league so placing him in a position where he has a lot of defensive responsibility seems wrong. He also hasn't really influenced a game and yet you want to put him as the focal point of our buildup just because he has played a few short passes. There are about ten other attributes that would help him as a 6.

It's just hopefulness surrounding VDB I'm afraid, that's what you're getting carried away with. The fact he hasn't played enough to fully condemn himself and played for Ajax seems to be enough for some to think he's automatically better even though his attributes and performances say something else. At the very least he's not a holding midfielder, that's a total nonsense.
 

Ali Dia

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Football is a team sport where formation and style of play are very important. If the team can't keep clean sheet game after game, you don't just put the blame on 2 players.

Analyse the games. Is every goals we conceded was Mcfred fault? How was the team press and defend as a unit? What was the problem with our formation in defence when we conceded?

Chelsea's defence was immediately transformed with Tuchel's tactics. SAF used to play the likes of Cleverly, Jones, Park in the middle.
Boom. Spot on.

Our attack is absolutely low work rate blunt and predictable but gets away with it game after game. The opposition deal with it in 3rd gear all game. It has nothing to do with how we control a game. We already have the possession we need to win a game. Fred and McT recycle the ball the give it off to the attackers who do nothing with it. Full backs go forward into the low block and pass backward. Round and round we go until the opposition lull us into a false sense of security step out in midfield and in one simple pass it’s 4v4 or 5v5 and they have us turned around. We rarely attack fast enough to turn teams around facing their own goal. When we finally have 4 v 4 one of the players shoots instead of squaring it. It’s the attack and full backs that have been poor this season. The attacks lack of any press just makes us even easier to defend, it doesn’t matter how much of the ball we have. We are always ripe for the counter. It wouldn’t matter if we had Kante in there, he’d still get numerically swamped and pressed into mistakes. We need more press, aggression, cutting edge and work rate from the forwards and the rest of the team. It doesn’t matter who’s giving the forwards the ball, if they are doing nothing with it then we are going to get telegraphed and countered.
 
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Ali Dia

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Its the hill he wants to die on.

Have you seen our forwards pressing stats? We are amongst the lowest in any league. We are asking players who aren’t great defenders to press win us the ball recycle and defend the counter with Varane and Maguire. We get out numbered and out thought. Our fought and out run and on top of our forwards not working hard enough they clearly haven’t clicked either
 
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HailtotheKing

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Boom. Spot on.

Our attack is absolutely low work rate blunt and predictable but gets away with it game after game. The opposition deal with it in 3rd gear all game. It has nothing to do with how we control a game. We already have the possession we need to win a game. Fred and McT recycle the ball the give it off to the attackers who do nothing with it. Full backs go forward into the low block and pass backward. Round and round we go until the opposition lull us into a false sense of security step out in midfield and in one simple pass it’s 4v4 or 5v5 and they have us turned around. We rarely attack fast enough to turn teams around facing their own goal. When we finally have 4 v 4 one of the players shoots instead of squaring it. It’s the attack and full backs that have been poor this season. The attacks lack of any press just makes us even easier to defend, it doesn’t matter how much of the ball we have. We are always ripe for the counter. It wouldn’t matter if we had Kante in there, he’d still get numerically swamped and pressed into mistakes. We need more press, aggression, cutting edge and work rate from the forwards and the rest of the team. It doesn’t matter who’s giving the forwards the ball, if they are doing nothing with it then we are going to get telegraphed and countered.
It's also about the speed with which our forwards get the ball. Usually, we pass it around so slowly that by the time our attack have the ball, the other team is set so we have no space to work the ball. Our attack failing isn't just about our attack, just like our defence isn't just about the defenders. The midfield is the common part that unites the issues. Too weak in defense, not creative enough in attack. And I really don't see how having a poor passing, poor positioning, Scott McTominay as the sole holder is going to help us in either.
 

HailtotheKing

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He scored all those goals in Holland from the 6 position? Him saying he can play as a 6 doesn't mean he has often done it or is suited. He was an attacking midfielder, or a box to box 8, he's not a holding midfielder.

Can it work? Who knows but it's not the most likely thing in the world, he isn't adapted to the league so placing him in a position where he has a lot of defensive responsibility seems wrong. He also hasn't really influenced a game and yet you want to put him as the focal point of our buildup just because he has played a few short passes. There are about ten other attributes that would help him as a 6.

It's just hopefulness surrounding VDB I'm afraid, that's what you're getting carried away with. The fact he hasn't played enough to fully condemn himself and played for Ajax seems to be enough for some to think he's automatically better even though his attributes and performances say something else. At the very least he's not a holding midfielder, that's a total nonsense.
I believe he was originally brought up as a 6 at Ajax. He looks stronger than Fred and more energetic than McTominay, he has higher footballing IQ to spot the pass, intelligent enough to play multiple positions, is calm and composed on the ball, good against the press and excellent technique. Is he the answer to our holding midfield, who the f knows since he's never been given a chance. All I'm suggesting is he's a better solution than McTominay. And in the few games I've seen Donny play, he's played better than how Scott is playing right now. But it's hard to show what you can do when you're given 10 minutes every month. Easier for someone like Lingard who is straight into the box where a good touch can make things happen. Much harder for a central midfielder.

Out of interest, how many of those ten other attributes that make up a 6 would you say McTominay has, being that his main attributes are strength, running and a good shot? I would say Donny has far more of them and if Ole actually played him we'd get a chance to see them.
 

HailtotheKing

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Of course you need pace and strength. Just watch Matic get left for dust for a good reason why pace is necessary. As for strength, well, I think you'll struggle to find an example of a good DM who lacks strength.

Vision, technique, composure.. I mean, Bruno has these traits and he's probably stronger in the tackle, doesn't mean we should be playing him there. Square peg for a round hole. There's no way this would even be a conversation if VdB wasn't currently warming the bench.
Yeah, I understand you need pace and strength (although I don't think Rodri or Fabinho are too quick) and I don't think Donny is so terrible in either. I think if you're good on the ball and composed under pressure, it's a lot easier to keep yourself out of danger. But square peg for a round hole literally defines McTominay as a sole holding midfielder. Square peg in a round hole also defines Ole at the moment but I won't get into that because I still blindly hope that he will turn things around. I'm happy he's doing something but I find the idea he's doing this now, frankly a little laughable. We're Manchester United, we have a brilliant CDM in Matic that can play maybe 70 mins of a game and potentially a player we can turn into a good CDM, in Donny. And instead, we're turning to Scott who can't pass, is positionally awful just because he's bigger and can run a bit. Meanwhile, we're trying to keep Pogba (almost certainly for the marketing $). Why didn't we buy a midfielder or why didn't we at least try this earlier on. Thinking of it now is an absolute joke and it scares me that Ole sees things the way he does.
 

Kostov

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Have you seen our forwards pressing stats? We are amongst the lowest in any league. We are asking players who aren’t great defenders to press win us the ball recycle and defend the counter with Varane and Maguire. We get out numbered and out thought. Our fought and out run and on top of our forwards not working hard enough they clearly haven’t clicked either
We very often are out numbered, out though, out fought and out run because our two limited and awful footballers by many standards who are supposedly good at stopping play, are so easily bypassed, out run, out muscled and outsmart by average PL attackers. Gray of Everton the latest example. Zero fecks to do with our forwards pressing which is a systematic problem, some of the "defending" we have seen from these two is criminal for a supposedly sound defensive midfielders.
 
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Abraxas

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I believe he was originally brought up as a 6 at Ajax. He looks stronger than Fred and more energetic than McTominay, he has higher footballing IQ to spot the pass, intelligent enough to play multiple positions, is calm and composed on the ball, good against the press and excellent technique. Is he the answer to our holding midfield, who the f knows since he's never been given a chance. All I'm suggesting is he's a better solution than McTominay. And in the few games I've seen Donny play, he's played better than how Scott is playing right now. But it's hard to show what you can do when you're given 10 minutes every month. Easier for someone like Lingard who is straight into the box where a good touch can make things happen. Much harder for a central midfielder.

Out of interest, how many of those ten other attributes that make up a 6 would you say McTominay has, being that his main attributes are strength, running and a good shot? I would say Donny has far more of them and if Ole actually played him we'd get a chance to see them.
What is the significance of where he played as a youth? It's not really relevant at this point, many young players play in all kinds of positions and then coaches understand what their position will be in senior football. You see people changing from winger to right back at a young age, is AWB a roaring winger because of how he was brought up?

What is more significant is that he was a goalscoring midfielder for Ajax. It is one step to become a box to box player and another one entirely to play holding midfield. That is before we even get into the transition to English football. His record is as a midfielder more known for attacking attributes in Dutch football and now we're talking about a league he can't get any foothold in and to play an unknown position.

So then we get into what you have deduced, you must have a very subtle perception considering he hasn't played much and most of his minutes were totally unremarkable. Great footballing IQ, beats the press, excellent technique? Where...when? He's lost the ball by dilly dallying on it just as often as he's beaten a press, probably far more in fact. What technique, to turn back and play the safest pass? What is this vague notion of footballing IQ he displays that others do not and where have we seen it?

I haven't seen any gap in McFred's game that is obviously filled by VDB. Or rather I can see all their flaws, but I am as yet totally unconvinced VDB offers anything in addition. It's not even about being against him having a go, why not...but it just seems like stuff gets made up about VDB simply because of frustration at McFred. It seems to me like rounding on struggling players which is unfair considering its the only partnership that has actually worked to an extent.
 
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Zen86

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Yeah, I understand you need pace and strength (although I don't think Rodri or Fabinho are too quick) and I don't think Donny is so terrible in either. I think if you're good on the ball and composed under pressure, it's a lot easier to keep yourself out of danger. But square peg for a round hole literally defines McTominay as a sole holding midfielder. Square peg in a round hole also defines Ole at the moment but I won't get into that because I still blindly hope that he will turn things around. I'm happy he's doing something but I find the idea he's doing this now, frankly a little laughable. We're Manchester United, we have a brilliant CDM in Matic that can play maybe 70 mins of a game and potentially a player we can turn into a good CDM, in Donny. And instead, we're turning to Scott who can't pass, is positionally awful just because he's bigger and can run a bit. Meanwhile, we're trying to keep Pogba (almost certainly for the marketing $). Why didn't we buy a midfielder or why didn't we at least try this earlier on. Thinking of it now is an absolute joke and it scares me that Ole sees things the way he does.
So basically you want to plug the small, diminutive attacking midfielder who has struggled to impose himself on any of our games, who hasn’t impressed or established himself so far in the PL, who doesn’t possess any defensive attributes, into a crucial defensive role. You criticise Ole and yet the thought process here is pretty incredible.
 

Longshanks

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Mctominay as the sole holder has been on the cards for a while, I suspect when in pre season it was mentioned we were looking at a more attacking 4-3-3 formation they looked at scott as being the man for the number 6 role if we couldn't bring the right target in.

We lined up with mcotm as the sole holder against villareal, and he did ok there. But I don't think pogba and bruno work well together they both give the ball away too much, sometimes you want one risk taker and one who is more of a link player, pogba and bruno are both big risk takers in there play.
 

HailtotheKing

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So basically you want to plug the small, diminutive attacking midfielder who has struggled to impose himself on any of our games, who hasn’t impressed or established himself so far in the PL, who doesn’t possess any defensive attributes, into a crucial defensive role. You criticise Ole and yet the thought process here is pretty incredible.
I'm saying McTominay has played so badly, I'd like to see what the guy that actually used to play as a 6 could do based on the fact, he is intelligent, composed, calm under the press and a good passer could do, yes. And he has imposed himself on our games, the little he's played. He's never played as badly as McTominay is currently playing or has done on multiple occasions. And he's played a hell of a lot better. I can count the memorable games McTominay has had on one hand, which given the number of chances he's had is pretty low. I'd also like to know how you think a guy that hides from the ball, is crap at passing and is only really good at going forward and shooting on goal is going to excel in this crucial defensive role?
 

HailtotheKing

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Mctominay as the sole holder has been on the cards for a while, I suspect when in pre season it was mentioned we were looking at a more attacking 4-3-3 formation they looked at scott as being the man for the number 6 role if we couldn't bring the right target in.

We lined up with mcotm as the sole holder against villareal, and he did ok there. But I don't think pogba and bruno work well together they both give the ball away too much, sometimes you want one risk taker and one who is more of a link player, pogba and bruno are both big risk takers in there play.
McTominay was absolutely awful in that game but I appreciate he had a hard job with Pogba running forwards (as I assume he was told to do by Ole - another crazy decision). In general though he's been absolutely crap recently. He hides in pockets where he can't be passed to, barely gets the ball and when he does, rarely takes risks. I really don't see how he's the answer to our holding midfielder problem but there ya go. He possesses none of the qualities Matic has, and the only thing he has over him is pace. I'd prefer to see Donny given a go.
 
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Teja

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Mctominay as the sole holder has been on the cards for a while, I suspect when in pre season it was mentioned we were looking at a more attacking 4-3-3 formation they looked at scott as being the man for the number 6 role if we couldn't bring the right target in.

We lined up with mcotm as the sole holder against villareal, and he did ok there. But I don't think pogba and bruno work well together they both give the ball away too much, sometimes you want one risk taker and one who is more of a link player, pogba and bruno are both big risk takers in there play.
They've been saying this even before I think. Maybe Ole's first season? Some chatter about having Matic and McT work together or something like that.
 

Polar

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Been thinking about this midfield conundrum. The player most capable of replacing Fred against top teams is Jesse Lingard imo. It's a waste of his attacking talents but I honestly believe if he can adjust he'd own the role for a few years especially with his intelligence and movements. Only other options of bring back one of either academy lads on loan...Garner or (other one name I forget).
I would like to test 4-3-3 with a more compact 3 on the midfield: one deep lying midfielder behind Lingard and Bruno - implying that both of them have to play a little bit deeper then they’ve used to: 4-2-3-1 that sometimes looks like (very offensive) 4-2-1-3.
 

CloneMC16

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Football is a team sport where formation and style of play are very important. If the team can't keep clean sheet game after game, you don't just put the blame on 2 players.

Analyse the games. Is every goals we conceded was Mcfred fault? How was the team press and defend as a unit? What was the problem with our formation in defence when we conceded?

Chelsea's defence was immediately transformed with Tuchel's tactics. SAF used to play the likes of Cleverly, Jones, Park in the middle.
Chelsea becoming far more solid with Tuchel in charge should have taught people a lot. It's a very recent and extremely obvious example. The manager matters. You're also right and that it's a team game. McFred are not always to blame for poor results. You can change both and put in world class replacements. I'm almost positive that we will still play awful football.
 

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We won matches effectively with McFred when playing against the top opposition teams not the mid table or low table teams. Our stats team need to tell that to Ole.
 

wolvored

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I think they look at Matic and McTom the same height and build and think, we can turn him into a 25/6 yo Matic, just like that!
 

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I think they're just trying to work with what they've got. I would love McT to turn into a Matic. Not sure it will happen but Fred needs to be out of the starting 11. I'm hoping they use Matic as the starter along with Pogba and then have McT replace at the 60.
 

git_united

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I think they're just trying to work with what they've got. I would love McT to turn into a Matic. Not sure it will happen but Fred needs to be out of the starting 11. I'm hoping they use Matic as the starter along with Pogba and then have McT replace at the 60.
Matic should start most matches and give us 60-70 minutes. Until we learn how to press, we should sacrifice one forward and play with Matic, Pogba, and vdB/Fred/McT in the middle. Essentially our best Jose formation with one of those three replacing Herrera and then 3 of our 7 forwards running around up top.