We have lots of people suggesting lots of things to Roy Hodgson but we suspect you'll be more interested in relative XIs, World Cup cliches and drawing Alonso...
The morning Mailbox has the usual wide and varied e-mails about England, with some taking a very gloomy stance but others just going with it. Oh, & the band is mentioned...
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That was so depressing I can't even pretend it was Ashley Young's fault.
Moyes Isn't Learning
I know that this will probably be lost amongst the tidal wave of hate mail directed at United's recent result but here are my thoughts regardless.
- This was a chance for Moyes to build upon success and learn from his mistakes against Swansea. In that game Januzaj had little to no impact playing off Welbeck and was considerably more dangerous not he wing. Also, Kagawa moving to the middle in that game meant he began to pull the strings in midfield and almost ended up scoring himself. So how the f**k does Moyes justify regressing in tactics and reverting to his beloved 4 4 2 and playing Ashley Young?
- Welbeck is utter dross by himself upfront. Any decent striker would have converted "that" chance, whether he was fouled or not.
- Hernandez proved what an actual goalscorer does in games, i.e. score goals. Yet no doubt he will be dropped next game as Moyes prefers his hard working lads.
- Despite dominating the game again, United looked clueless in attack (mainly attributable to Welbeck not being in good positions)
- In what other Job at one of the industry's leading firms would their managing director/CEO have been allowed to make so many monumental f*ck ups and not be sacked yet? Can you imagine if Moyeswas in charge at Spurs? He wouldn't last a week.
...I know the mailbox must be bored to tears with these David Moyes mails but I thought I'd just quickly throw in my two cents. United's season will not be defined by one-off away trips to Stamford Bridge or the Etihad, and it would be very harsh to come crashing down on any manager for losing those games. That being said, I really don't feel that Moyes is capable of meeting the challenge that he has been set.
When a new manager is appointed, even if results aren't going his way, you can see small signs of encouragement of the imprint that he is attempting to make on the team. I would suggest that was the case when Brendan Rogers was appointed Liverpool manger (severe struggles early in the 2012/2013 season) and when someone like Mauricio Pochettino was appointed at Southampton. Things like improving possession, greater pass accuracy, more organized defensive work or generating more scoring chances may all be hallmarks of a manager's impact, even if the team is initially losing matches.
With Moyes I feel that there have been no signs of life of any positive imprint on the team. Yes RVP and Rooney have been injured but there has been very little on show in terms of displaying that he has the ability to implement a (dare I say it) philosophy on the United side. Their wingers look devoid of confidence, their center halves have stopped defending effectively, and their full-backs have been chronically out of form. Part of that blame must be shared between the players, the coaching staff, as well as the chief executive for failing to sign players. However, even if Moyes had made one or two more signings (Ronaldo aside) I remain unconvinced that he has the managerial nous to effectively get them playing in a cohesive manner. A lot of speculation in this post but I really struggle to see a light at the end of the tunnel for him.
David C. - Toronto
Rafael Should Be Punished
Just a couple of conclusions on yesterday's match:
1. Chelsea deserved to win, no arguing with that. Moyes can talk about the number of chances each team had and the "bad luck" from the first goal but we were outplayed and Mourinho got his tactics right.
2. Why did Moyes not just play the same team which faced Swansea? Jones and Young significantly weakened the line-up and their more able replacements were sat on the bench - why?
3. United should have had a penalty when Azpilicueta clattered Welbeck - anywhere else on the pitch and that's given as a foul - but it wouldn't have made much of a difference to the result. Who the hell would have taken it from that line-up?
4. The referee got the Vidic decision spot on; no doubt at all that it was a red card challenge. It's embarrassing that Vidic was remonstrating with the referee at all.
5. But he got the Rafael decision completely wrong. That was a red card any way you look at it, and a challenge that Rafael should be thoroughly ashamed of. He can't be retrospectively punished further, as the referee awarded a yellow card, but he should be punished by the club. Dangerous and stupid.
6. Moyes keeps insisting that the right players aren't available - sorry, Dave, but you're completely wrong. You make them available by making them and their club an acceptable offer. The right players are always available for the right offer.
Lack of action is just either stubbornness or a complete lack of ambition. I do agree that the existing players need to improve as well - wholesale changes at this stage of the season isn't advisable - but the alternative is wholesale changes in the summer window. The summer of a World Cup, when transfers are going to be even harder to complete, players even more tired and time to do it even shorter. Failure to act now would be irresponsible.
I know that we're weakened by the absence of van Persie and Rooney but the rest of the squad should be able to cope without them; injuries happen and you have to make provisions to cope with them. But their absence is not the problem; it's an overwhelming distinct lack of quality throughout the entire squad. Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra and Giggs have all had their day and need replacing. Valencia, Nani and Young just don't cut it against the bigger teams (anything top-half of the league these days) and central midfield is woefully lacking in depth and quality.
Moyes just needs to start the replacement process as a priority and stop talking about wanting to but being unable to do it. Actions speak louder than words, Dave.
Yesterday was just heart-breaking.
Not because Moyes is a useless toss.
Not because a championship winning team is suddenly sh*te.
Not because Hazard showed us clearly why we needed to sign him.
Not even because the penalty shout probably should have gone for us, and the deflection for the first may have been a little lucky.
But because a few too many players didn't seem to care about it all that much. They just couldn't be arsed to find the spark Hazard finds within himself, the bloody minded terror that John Terry becomes when he slips on his 'Blues before kick off!
I wasn't expecting a win per say, some little birdie tells me that Chelsea under Jose, at home, have always been amazingly hard to beat. I was expecting a fighting performance, that includes the defense, for 90 minutes though.
My physical heart is actually in pain thinking about this.
Manc in SA (at least Moyes seems to care when he mouths off about conspiracies and bad luck, and wanting to turn it around)
...David Moyes may claim that United are still the biggest club in the world.
But as we all know, its not the size of the dog i the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
And that, to me is what seems to be wrong with United. No fight. No spirit. A willingness to give up too easily.
United Were Great...For 15 Minutes
Few thoughts on yesterday's game
*The opening 15 mins was the best football I have seen played under Moyes, even Valencia & Young looked somewhat threatening. The timing of Chelsea's goal was unfortunate but they kept on harrying and pressing even after going 1 behind, it's the most interested looking I've seen the players in a while.
*Antonio Valencia is muck. It pains me to say it because he always gives 100%, has been great in the past and can take & dish out a tackle but he looks clueless in the final third. He either plays it 30 yards back to Rafael or lashes into a defenders shins/the stand.
*Why was Ashley Young continually allowed take set pieces! He always hits the first man, I have honestly played Sunday league with guys who are better at taking set pieces than him.
*Januzaj has an unbelievable delivery. Inswinging or out, it's fantastic. Shame we have nobody to get on the end of them.
*Playing Jones in midfield is like playing Valencia at right back, highlighting the weakness in the first 11. Hes done OK against poor sides but when faced with good opposition he looks lost. Can't see why Fletcher didn't play, he's better at reading the game, just as good a tackler and is a better distributor.
*Vidic was very slow getting out for the second goal, Rafael got all the blame but had Vidic got out quickly enough, Eto'o would have been offside. Thought he deserved some criticism for that. Also his distribution from the back is akin to William Prunier's.
*Welbeck should have had a penalty. I think the fact he got the shot away disguised the contact. On a replay though it was clear his standing leg was clipped as he went to shoot. How Glenn Hoddle disagreed with Souness on that is mind boggling. Newsflash Glenn, you can put pressure on a player without fouling him! Happens a lot during games i believe!
*Chelsea were there for the taking today. I think with RvP and Rooney playing we would have got something. Individually Chelsea's defenders are fairly average. Terry and Cahill (and Ivanovic) are not the quickest, don't know why we didnt play Welbeck up top and try get in behind more.
*WELBECK IS NOT A PLAYMAKER!!! he should never be played as such, he's not intelligent enough. Hes a good runner who's best asset is getting behind the defenders.
*That was Moyes best press conference to date. he didn't try hide behind the fact that the players played OK, he accepted the mistakes cost them the game. I also liked his honesty regarding the transfer window and the difficulty in recruiting players. I wrote in after the Swansea FA Cup game and spoke about the dangers of not strengthening now. If we dont get top 4 then we may struggle to keep Rooney & RvP. If we buy another Fellaini in this window to appease the fans then we'll still miss out on top 4, they will still leave and we'll just have less money to spend in the summer!
*Finally.... I agree with Neville in that 3/4 players are all that's required. There is the basis of a good squad but we need players of Rooney/RvP/De Gea's quality. I would love to see Reus, Gundogan, Vidal, Moreno & a top centre half. That would give a squad capable of challenging next year. Wishful thinking though!
Apologies for the length, I'm unemployed and have no where to be :(
Dan, Ireland (Gundogan is a beast on FIFA 14)
I like Brendan Rdogers. He's a bit of a wally, but has done a good job at Liverpool following the Dalglish shambles & got them playing some great football for the first time in a long, long time. However, he has had a shocker in getting rid of Pepe Reina for the circus clown that is Simon Mignolet. Rodgers bought about 37 defenders in the summer, but what's the point when they're constantly undermined by a joke figure between the sticks? What on earth went through his mind for Benteke's goal on Saturday? That wasn't the first time either. Liverpool's defending has come in for some criticism and rightly so at times, but I can't see they would have a lot of confidence in Mignolet. No wonder it's panic stations when the ball gets lumped in the pelanty box.
I'm not sure what the answer is. Bridges well and truly burnt with Reina, so do we stick with coco the clown or bring in someone else altogether? Who is available? I need to know.
Not A Mourinho Fan
I just hope that Monday's mailbox isn't full of pure negativity and over exaggeration from United fans. There's some points from the last few days and Sunday's game that I just want to raise anyway.
Firstly, all of the blame cannot be placed firmly at David Moyes' feet for the position that United now find themselves in. I would love to ask Sir Alex Ferguson why he did so little to address the gaping holes in midfield, the ageing defence and why he handled the Wayne Rooney situation so poorly. Furthermore, Moyes has taken over this United team at one of the worst moments in the last 25 years or so, the majority of the squad are either not good enough or are the wrong side of 30. Moyes needs time to address these things and even next season these new players will most likely have struggled to gel into a title challenging side.
Secondly, having said that Moyes isn't entirely to blame for United's position, he can be blamed for not fielding Kagawa and playing Ashley Young instead. I know it was written about in your 16 conclusions, but this has to go down as a massive mistake. Also, Moyes must address the shocking defending that has been creeping in over the last few games, I've seen errors occurring and knew that a better side would take advantage, and it has now happened so get it sorted Davie.
Finally, for the muppets on TV, Radio etc who have been asking why Mourinho didn't get the United job, all you need to do is have a look at the Chelsea midfield for the final few minutes of the game. The guy p*sses me off to the maximum, he has so much attacking talent in his sides yet always shuts up shop when his team are 2 or 3 goals ahead. He's far too defensive minded for United who like to play a more attacking game.
I'm sure I'll get some Chelsea reactions to that last piece and mostly along the lines of "at least we're challenging blah blah" to you I say, yeah great, but Mourinho will be gone in a few years and you can watch the anarchy begin.
Liverpool Have Caused Their Own Problems
It really does look like where Liverpool went wrong was by hammering Spurs in their back-yard in December. If they had just squeaked through with a dodgy 1-0 win from a penalty in injury time, AVB would most likely not have been shown the door and Spurs wouldn't have discovered Tim Sherwood and other such hidden gems as a 4-4-2 system and how to win games.
Barry - Dublin