‘F365, you were wrong about Ole’ and more…

Date published: Sunday 8th December 2019 11:29

Mails on all other things barring the Manchester derby are here. Make our Monday by sending mails to theeditor@football365.com

 

F365, you were wrong about Ole…
For weeks F365 has banged the drum about Ole being unfit for purpose. Less than a week ago we had Storey calling Ole’s ongoing tenure a charade and criticizing the United board for not having got serial winner also-ran Pochettino in already.

Well, in the one year since he’s been at Old Trafford Ole has now beaten City, PSG, Chelsea (twice), Arsenal, and Spurs at their own ground as well as accounting for Jose and Brendan Rodgers at home. Not bad for a guy who F365 constantly tells us has no tactical nous apart from talking about the spirit of ’99.

All season long the knives have been out for Ole but he’s kept a positive front and kept plugging away, all while working with a terrible injury list. He’s improved the players he inherited (look at Fred and Rashford now compared to a year ago), and made very shrewd summer signings (seriously where would we be without James and AWB?).

We’ve obviously got a way to go but he’d be the first one to recognise that. Hopefully getting Pogba back from injury can help us put away the teams outside the Big Six.

The squad as it stands is a top-six squad, and if Ole achieves that he should 100% be given another season at least. In the meanwhile, stop listening to clickbait journalists who as this week shows know f*ck all about football, and put some respect on that name.
Aniruddh, MUFC, Pittsburgh (#OleIn)
I still think he’s average but…
Anybody who beats both Mourinho and Pep in the same week deserves to keep his job. I didn’t even think it was possible to do that. He is also the only man this season to take points off Liverpool. If that doesn’t earn you time, I don’t know what other argument can. If he was one of those managers in the hot seat, he is now at the cool table. He has bought himself enough grace and time to survive a warm winter (it’s December and it’s like autumn temperature, what’s going on Greta?).

That said, he needs to start winning those mid-table match-ups. If he follows this up with a draw or a loss, I think the tide turns right back. I don’t know who Man U face next, but surely it’s not a formidable team, it’s not a Liverpool or Chelsea kind, so they need to win that and keep winning, otherwise what’s the point?
Dave (How pissed off are the journalists that had their match reviews for the man U man City game done by Friday, they have to re write the story. I’d be livid), Somewhere

 

…Daniel Storey poised a number of challenging questions in his Winners and Losers column after MUFC drew 2-2 at home to a very capable Aston Villa side. (I quote verbatim). How long does this charade continue for?

How many weeks does this column ask the same questions while Manchester United limp on with a manager who is unfit for his purpose? What evidence is there for Solskjaer being that right man?

He went on to make a straw man argument based largely on stats that ignored his record before he was confirmed as United’s ‘permanent’ manager (??? me neither) and concluded …..“Solskjaer is not good enough. Allow capable coaches to slip through their grasp because of some misguided romanticism and misplaced loyalty, and United deserve all they get.’

Maybe if he hadn’t already made up his mind that Ole wasn’t good enough because he keeps talking about the ‘Man United way to play’ and ‘MUFC DNA’, he’d have had a closer look at his record against ‘Big 6/Top 6’ clubs, a stat that might reasonably support a capability assessment for a coach to lead the biggest club in the world back to the top of the perch.

Ole’s first match against a ‘Big 6’ side was Spurs (A) on Jan 13th 2019 including that match and games in all competitions and against Leicester, his record is as follows

P 16 / L2 / D 4 / W 10

I’m not going to throw the cheap ‘lazy journalism’ jibe at him, the media at large was more interested in comparing Ole’s record to Jose’s for obvious reasons, but I hope he and others would now agree that that record suggests there’s more to Mr Solskjaer than they have prematurely concluded. Indeed when it comes to big games the words, ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ come to mind!!
Dave Mack

 

Genius over Fred
Never mind that famous win in Paris. Never mind beating both Mourinho and Guardiola in the same week. Solskjaer’s greatest managerial accomplishment has been turning Fred into a solid midfielder. Long may it continue!
DJ, MUFC India

 

Praise him
Who thought Utd would win? I did – especially an hour beforehand when I saw Angelino in the lineup, Fernandinho at the back etc.

* So that’s Emery, Poch, Pep, Jose, Ranieri, Hassenhutl, All managers who the world think are better tactically than Ole and he’s beat them all in a year. Jurgen would be on that list as well if not for Lallana.

This team is better with Mcsauce and Martial. In my opinion Utd are better off keeping someone capable, of doing this and giving him the right tools (a magician and enforcer in Midfield and a poacher) than listening to the hoard of fraidy cats and booting Ole out.

* I will be hugely surprised if City and Liverpool continue dominating. City have failed to replace Kompany, Rodri’s great but not Fernandinho who can’t still be playing at this level next year and Silva is retiring. Aguero is long in the tooth his replacement is good but isn’t him, De Bruyne is 29. It’s more than he’s used to changing. A runner to Italy and Juve is more likely

* Liverpool you feel are fighting to correct last year’s wrongs, they may not be as hungry with the title under their belt

* You’ve admitted as much yourselves. That’s why you buy a 90’s fullback hopefully Sterling was returned at the end of the match.

* I don’t think the Norwegian PE teacher will care what most think but some of the rhetoric has just been vile. It took years to get Liverpool to this level, City had most of their tools before Pep changed fullbacks and upgraded his first keeper. He should be given the chance to solve his main problem breaking teams down ,which involves a type of player he doesn’t possess right now ( Mata can’t do it in the premiership anymore).

If you’re going to still advocate a replacement that makes sense like Ten Hag.

One way or the other he deserves praise for this performance
Timi, MUFC

 

Well done Ole, but…
Excellent performance yesterday from United. Fair play to Solskjaer. His tactics were well executed by a team that really is playing for him.

The next few games will be a better indicator of United’s potential under him though. Understandably, a lot of Ole’s supporters will be looking at the past week as vindication but they’d do well to remember LVG’s weird knack for vocally promising results against Liverpool and Arsenal and delivering. They should look back at the Liverpools of Vladamir Smicer and Patrick Berger who routinely finished near mid table but would frequently get results against the big teams.

Everton, Newcastle and Watford next. Less than nine points (maybe, *maybe*, 7 would acceptable) and there’s no reason but blind faith to believe Ole will deliver anything but a more youthful version of 90s Liverpool.

Human beings love stories. In fact, that’s how we process most information. A much-loved Ferguson disciple coming back to the club to lead them to the top table once again is a lovely story. But Ferguson got the club to the top by rejecting sentimentality and making his decisions as objective as possible. There are two managers who have excellent track records of delivering results and they both want the job.

Ole’s fans have been defending him on the basis that his squad is terrible. That is clearly bullshit. This is a team with real talent in it. They need the leadership of someone with proven results. Ed needs to turn his nose up at romantic stories and get the most qualified man in for the job. Please.
Eamonn, Dublin

 

Avoiding tactical fouls
Well, as a Man United supporter, thoroughly enjoyed the derby.

It was interesting that when United won the ball back the first player would quickly get it away before a City player could tactically foul him, as they often do.

I started to think this tactic was an actual plan.
Ged Biglin

 

Fair f***s Man United
That was actually a big game and a derby that lived up to the hype! Was most impressed by Rashford but also the way the Man Utd midfield and attack transitioned really well. The midfield played some lovely diagonal through balls that turned the City defenders inside out. It felt like James in particular had strict instructions to stay wide until the game was in the final third and this worked so well; it stretched the defence out and also allowed him to sneak into the attack, somewhat unseen, when play developed on the other side.

The most magical thing about that game was seeing Man City players unable to force quick counter attacks because the United players kept making tactical fouls. Wherever they got the idea that it could be an effective strategy; hats off to them. Would have been icing on the cake if Guardiola had complained about it in the post match.

Guardiola is an amazing manager, make no mistake about it. He seems a bit guilty of overthinking tactics for the big games but I also think his transfer record isn’t strictly flawless. He definitely made some odd transfers at Barcelona and to some extent I don’t get his transfers at Man City. Angelino, as I said after the Liverpool game, looks sketchy and he surely could’ve found a central defender who would’ve replaced Kompany.

Speaking of Kompany, I wondered in the summer what impact it would have to lose such a strong leader in the dressing room. Looking at Man City, or maybe Arsenal in a post Viera world, you can’t understate how valuable players like that are in terms of their mindset and how they influence players even when injured. Who can you imagine is the vocal leader at Man City this season? Who else had a pre-crazy money connection to the club actually?
Minty, LFC

 

Did Pep over-think that?
Absolutely delighted that United seem to be finding some sort of consistency and attacking groove, and they were deserved winners, but is Pep guilty of over-complicating things?

I know Laporte’s injury has been significant, but so has Fernandinho dropping out of his customary defensive midfield role, where he is regarded as the key cog in City’s functionality. Surely starting Otamendi alongside Stones (however unenthusiastic he often seems) would allow Fernandinho to revert back to his best position? Heck even bringing in Walker as a right-sided CB, and giving Cancelo a chance should be considered.

Pep has chosen Angelino against both Liverpool and United now, and he hasn’t exactly excelled in either. Mendy needs to be brought out of the cold, or failing that, Cancelo can do a job there either- its almost as if Pep is trying to prove the doubters wrong.

Finally, in the short-term absence of Aguero, and the longer lay-off of Sane, they need the spark and creativity of Mahrez from the right wing. As Matt Stead pointed out in 16 conclusions, Bernardo is ineffectual on the right at present and the team as a whole would be better balanced with him in midfield. I mean, Mahrez is surely the best non-regular starter in the entire league, and probably further afield aswell?

A midfield three of Bernardo-Fernandinho-KDB behind a front three of Mahrez-Jesus (with Aguero to return)-Sterling looks without a shadow of a doubt like City’s best approach. To a lay man like myself anyway.

Then again, maybe they need to spunk £200 on wing-backs again
Brian (AWB is already my favourite United full-back since gentleman Dinny Irwin. Defending such as is a joy to behold), Wexford

 

…And that’s why, sometimes, I really hate football. That said, and I do this through teeth gritted so hard they could break concrete, the better team won. Bernardo can’t complain about the pen and there wasn’t enough in the various handball claims from us to shout foul. Not in my view anyway. Hands up from me when I wrote on Wednesday that I was looking forward to the City side that beat Burnley playing against the current Utd team today. I spoke too soon.

Not quite sure what Pep was thinking when we kept on trying to pitch Sterling against AWB, whom I thought was excellent when, surely, we should’ve been putting Shaw, with his lack of game time, under more pressure. And, unless there was an injury concern I’m not aware of, Angelino should’ve been hooked for Mendy early doors. Hey-ho. I will say this, however. Anyone who writes in with a ‘Fraudiola’ narrative should pipe down. 198 points (that’s one hundred and ninety-eight btw) in two seasons along with the broken records and trophies that went with it speak for themselves. As I’ve said on F365 before, there’s a reason why teams don’t win the EPL three times in a row. I just don’t think you can make every City first-team player match Pep’s relentless drive for perfection, in every game and every competition. That’s not an excuse and I repeat, the better team won and convincingly so.

Also, the crap thrown at Fred in the corner was just unacceptable. I hope the morons who did that get nicked and banned. Knuckle-dragging f**kwits. We all know that a derby loss is the worst of all to swallow but there was just no need for that. Shameful. As I type, it’s also being reported that a City supporter was seen making racist gestures towards a Utd player. Seriously? With all the sh*t that Sterling’s had to put up with? Honestly, football fans can complain about bias versus other sport supporters but, seemingly, only the former can behave like the actual scum of the earth. You know when somebody moans that football fans are ‘treated like animals’ and herded, searched and penned? Well this is why folks.

I could, just about, stomach a derby loss however painful but not when it is tarnished by micro-brain racist imbeciles. I hope everybody understands they do NOT represent Man City. I would be stunned if my club does not come out and unreservedly condemn such behaviour.

Back to the actual football, I still think Liverpool’s Achilles heel will be the potential for injuries in their outrageous schedule over the coming six-eight weeks but It appears that the Scousers need to be looking over their shoulders at Leicester and not City for anything resembling a title challenger. Good luck to all.
Mark (Did I mention that sometimes I REALLY hate football?) MCFC

 

Pep out!
Right from the end of the Brighton match at the end of the season, we knew that the 2019/2020 season was going to be even more of a challenge for Manchester City.

We knew that Mendy would continue to get injured and continue to play the fool on social media and that Angelino was still too raw, too green, too naïve to be shunted in for the big games.

We knew that with Kompany gone, we were one injury away from having major centre-back issues, we knew that Fernandinho would be a loss from mid-field as a result, and we knew we needed a major defensive signing (not necessarily Maguire btw).

We knew that Argentina BBQ-meat obsessive Aguero would continue to have niggling injury issues, that Jesus strays offside too often and goes missing too often, that Bravo and Muric were ineffective back-up keepers and that Sane would eventually have his head turned by Bayern Munich (long-lay off not withstanding).

We knew that teams would eventually work out a way to play through us, quick counter-attacking, combined with running at our not so wide full-backs, that Rodri and Cancelo would take time to adjust, that they would be exposed so brutally with Kyle Walker leaving his defensive station too readily, too carelessly.

So why didn’t Pep sort all of this out? To be behind a brilliant Liverpool in the league is acceptable, but to be 14 points (and counting) behind in December and to be in a Top Four struggle isn’t.

Call me entitled and spoilt maybe, but we need to do something in January.

Pep out. Poch in.
@rubym83 (and that so-called City fan making monkey gestures should be locked in a room with Sterling, Fred, Ballotelli and that fella from Shakhtar until his head is sorted out).

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