Imagine what Fergie would do with this Man United…

Date published: Tuesday 24th July 2018 1:45

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Reasons why Man United will not win the title
Here’s four good reasons:

Mourinho
Phil Jones
Marcus Rashford
Mike Smalling

Once United fail to win the league again this year and dump Mourinho, where next for the former Special One, replace Rafa at Newcastle?
Steven (how bad does the football and the moaning in the press have to be for united to get rid of Mourinho?) Hannover

 

Imagine what Fergie would do with those Man United forwards…
It’s not so outlandish to think that Liverpool will challenge for the league, and I wrote in the other day to say they should make a good go of it. But Minty makes a great point this morning in that Liverpool were/are playing catch up. What they need to do is turn the bulk of last season’s 12 draws into wins and that is hopefully what this year’s spending will help them to achieve. Getting ahead of ourselves and saying they must win the league is to invite failure and tedious ‘Klopp is a fraud’ bollocks. Forgive the cliché but let’s take it game by game.

As for United and the undertaker they have in charge, José seems to have forgotten that managing the team is his job and Woodward seems to have forgotten getting the right manager is his. I’ve been sick of listening to Mourinho for ages now. It’s gotten as bad as listening to Wenger make the same excuses every week. You can make the point that Pogba was more focused by default in Russia as all he had to think about was football. But, you could also make the point that he has a manager in the French team who knows how to use him and how to coach him.

We all know he likes to bring in players to fit his system but he’s also paid to improve the players he has. Can you imagine what Fergie would do the forwards he has at his disposal?
I know the timing would be bananas but if I was a United fan I’d be happy with dodgy season if it meant getting rid of Mourinho.
Alan, Córdoba

 

Conte or Zidane in?
So after seeing Jose talk in his boring press conferences in pre-season and also state Pogba needs to focus more (The guy just won the World Cup, are you serious?), I have realised that Jose really likes putting immense pressure on himself by chirping, as perhaps this motivates him or maybe he is just being dramatic. However I do think United being put at 7/1 for winning the title is harsh, but can see why the odds are that high, considering how the club has somewhat lost its identity over the last five years. Losing to Bristol City and Sevilla last season was BAD, but what made it worse was the performances from the players in both those matches, the lack of creativity and attacking threat, despite the calibre of players United do have. However Jose should have taken proper responsibility for this, he is the manager after all.

People do forget that United have improved a lot under Mourinho, as last year in the Premier League, United reached the 80-point mark for the first time since Ferguson left. No matter how you look at that, its impressive and it is an improvement. I remember United actually winning the league with 80 points in the 2010/11 season, as United won the league by nine points that season. This is a very rare occasion to see though and If Jose does not put up a REAL title challenge this year and finishes 10-15 points behind the winners, I think his job will actually be under scrutiny and rightly so, United should not be just a ‘cup’ team, they have to be challenging for the title too. I honestly think a couple of players (mostly defenders) at the club are not capable of becoming a United Elite, in the sense that they can be part of a title-winning team. I won’t mention names, but I will mention two potential managers who could do a much better job than Jose domestically if this season is not an improvement from last season. Those managers would be Conte and Zidane.

Call me crazy, but I personally think Conte got set up from a number of players getting the sack at Chelsea and definitely deserved another chance this season. You can just imagine players like David Luiz and Fabregas ratting him out to Abramovich. Then again I might just be saying that because I dislike Chelsea immensely as a football club. I personally think Conte is a great manager, his great achilles heel is his European record though. As for Zidane though, it would be very surprising seeing him in the Prem, and I can see him joining Juventus in a year’s time if they do not win the Champions League this year. But just imagine him managing United. The level of attacking football would improve dramatically, but since Zidane has only managed a ridiculously good Real Madrid side, it is hard to judge how he would do elsewhere.

Anyways, just hope Jose stops his rubbish excuses this season and starts motivating the talented youngsters we have with a bit more effort and determination instead of simply pointing the finger when a draw or defeat happens.
Rami, London

 

Man United need a Director of Football
As the season gets closer, I have this feeling of dread that’s getting stronger and stronger. As a United fan I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to a season less than this one.

It seems everything is perfectly set up for Mourinho’s third season implosion. The guy is completely toxic, how anyone can be motivated to play for him is beyond me. Consistently calling out players, criticising them in public, to me it’s counter productive. When he was actually successful he protected his players at all costs, creating a siege mentality that worked effectively. Now he just resembles an increasingly bitter old man, out of touch with the younger generation.

This is his third summer transfer window and the squad is still completely unbalanced, we will still be relying on two OAP converted wingers playing full back, with their backups not Mourinho players at all (Shaw who he hates, Dalot who I believe the club signed rather than Mourinho, as there’s no way he’s concerned with the long-term future of the club).

We have six Centre-Backs. Yes 6 (Smalling, Jones, Bailly, Rojo, Lindelof, Tuanzabe) All six are inadequate in their each unique way. And we are continually linked with a new one, despite there being no rumours of any of the existing ones leaving. I expect we will sign one of the 75 CBs we’re being linked with and send Tuanzabe out on loan, but other than that it really wouldn’t surprise me if we entered the season with six competing for two positions.

In midfield, Pogba after seriously impressing during the World Cup is being hawked around to most of the big teams in Europe, seemingly desperate to get away to anywhere.

Also imagine the disappointment of being lined to Milinkovic-Savic and then re-signing Fellaini, who I’ll politely describe as a deeply limited player. He is somehow both our number one option for shutting a game down and pushing on (long hopeful punts) if we’re a goal down late on.

Further to this he held the club to ransom, how we ever allowed ourselves to get in a position where Marounne Fucking Fellaini is running his contract down to the last day whilst we threw more and more money at him is beyond me. And it’s beyond embarrassing.

We have three left wingers, and no discernible right winger. And for some reason we keep getting linked with Perisic who also plays on the left wing.

It also looks like we’re going to let a massively talented 22-year-old leave, with seemingly every replacement for him linked 29 years old. Why? How we’ve got to this point is madness.

The transfer policy is based after Real Madrid’s Galacticos in the mid 2000s. Jumping after big name to big name, instead of actually analysing the squad and seeing where we can improve. E.G. signing 29 year old Sánchez to play left wing, when we had two young left wingers (Rashford/Martial) with massive potential.

We need a DOF badly, someone who can look at the long term picture, as at the minute we have a manager so obsessed with winning short term that he’s going to serious damage the long-term health of the club. And a Chief Executive jumping after his favourite players on FIFA.
Big MUFC (Manchester)

 

Liverpool will be City’s big challengers
Reading this morning’s mailbox and I think we need to clarify a bit around Liverpool, where they finished last season and what we should expect.

Not sure how Liverpool could be expected to ‘implode’ under Klopp as I haven’t seen any evidence of that happening. And it rings especially false from a Chelsea fan when Klopp has overseen both Mourinho and Conte completely imploding and finishing above them.

Liverpool didn’t finish fourth last year in a nail-biter. We finished fourth by handily defeating a Brighton side that were, no offence, not going to be much threat to us as they were safe. The only threat to us were Chelsea and they had to win every match in the run-in to stand a chance and they hadn’t won more than three on the bounce at any point in the league (and, shockingly, they got to three and drew with Brighton).

The only reason it was still a conversation was that we were down to bare bones in midfield and our CL run meant we had to conserve ourselves. If we didn’t have that CL run, I have no doubt we would have finished above Utd with only one game a week to contend with. They only finished six points ahead of us and they’re, objectively, going to be worse when Mourinho has his (well-documented at many clubs) third season meltdown.

Liverpool’s business can be seen trying to address the issues we had in midfield numbers and options. Can aside, I don’t see anyone leaving and this is by design. We’re reinforcing an area that hindered us getting second and a CL Final last year.

Yes, City are strong, but I’m not having anyone downplaying expectations or hopes. Timi, MUFC was spot on when he said no-one has successfully defended the title in the last decade, the only difference is that City’s big rival will be us, not them.
Kris, LFC, Wirral

 

No reason why Man City should be favourites
I don’t understand why City, having just brought in Mahrez, are being considered the title favourites down to their ‘stability’? Doesn’t the EPL wisdom tell us to stand still is to fall behind? Wasn’t a certain Italian crying foul as he didn’t get a chance to improve the squad after winning the title?

Besides, after winning the league, breaking tonnes of records along the way, is winning the league again the topmost priority? Wouldn’t there be some probability of complacency and a shift in focus towards Champions league?

I get it, rivals are trying to manage expectations by building City up and portraying their club as the underdog, but why is there a need for it? Have we lost touch with reality so much that a guy with a keyboard thinks they’re gonna win the league would put pressure on professional footballers? A self-fulfilling prophecy at best. Though I can understand why one would do that so I’m not judging.

To my neutral eyes, City are a great side but this season is where other contenders can lay their claim to the throne. Not sure why one would see it otherwise.

Apropos to nothing, I know friendly games barely mean anything but I’m happy that among net spend arguments, Aravind, Chelsea fan mailed in about something that matters at the end of the day that is football. Keep the tactical insights coming in.
The Befuddled One

 

This is our year
My balls are on the table (metaphorically, don’t worry) this will be Arsenal’s year. Never mind the whole debate between Liverpool and ManYoo and who is the least likely to win, we’re gonna slide on in and win it. I have a feeling and you heard it here first.

Arsenal have rectified all of the problems we’ve had with the signings we’ve made (not that I’ve seen them play yet *ahem*). Emery looks to me like a man with a plan.

So, just need to beat Citeh, Liverpool, ManYoo, Chelsea and Spurs. Easy. It’s about time we all stopped being so self-deprecating about the teams we support.
JazGooner (COYG)

 

Loving the doctor
Dr. Erkut Sogut is fast becoming an absolute legend. As if taking down Martin Keown wasn’t enough, he goes in even harder on Uli Hoeness. If I’m ever arrested for a crime I didn’t commit, I’m calling Dr. ‘So-good’ to be my defence lawyer. Hell, even if I did do it and was caught with the gun still smoking, he’d probably still get me off.

Germany’s loss is Arsenal’s gain, and props to Mesut and the good Doctor for calling a spade a spade.
Lee (Tomorrow I’ll tell you why we should keep Studge), LFC

 

Don’t make Ali a saint
‘Ali was the king of self-promotion, but that self-promotion never became plastic.’

Maybe it was never plastic but it certainly became toxic when Ali insulted Joe Frazier so much over the years it led to Frazier’s kids being bullied; his family needing police protection and Ali using a whole list of racial slurs to describe his opponent.

Ali’s place in history is assured but perhaps Mr Storey could not paint him in such a divine light when comparing him to a completely different person in a completely different sport in a completely different time.
Mark

 

The feeling of being over-Zlataned
Reading Daniel Storey’s piece on hashtagZlatan reminded me of something. It was mentioned in a number of places during the World Cup that the Swedish national side had a good deal of goodwill from their own country for not only the way they qualified, but that it was nice to see a team devoid of ego and superstars. We all knew who was being talked about.

Anecdotally, this was brought home when I was working with three very nice chaps from Sweden we had over to help on a work project. Watching Sweden vs. Mexico, one of these guys mentioned the moment the Zlatan Event Horizon was reached. During a commercial break in the middle of some show or other, every single commercial in the 3-4 minute break featured Ibrahimovic endorsing the product. Every single one. That was when the last vestiges of goodwill vanished.
David (the 2. Liga is already a bloody nightmare) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.

 

RIP Rolls Royce
I am sure you will get a few of these from Leeds and England fans, but just thought I would chip in.

Paul Madeley passed away last night. The ‘Rolls Royce’ of Don Revie’s Leeds United team of the 60s and 70s, Paul played 727 times for Leeds, 24 times for England – and played in every position except goalkeeper.

Let that sink in for a minute.

He played centre half, and centre forward. He played at right back, left back, centre midfield and as a wide player. For a team that was league champions twice and runners-up five times, reached 5 European finals in 9 seasons, won two Fairs Cups (Europa League in old money, youngsters), the FA Cup and the League Cup.

Best of all, possibly, is this story from the also-missed Jimmy Armfield’s autobiography Right Back To The Beginning:

“He once actually signed a new contract on what was virtually a blank piece of paper, ” recalled Armfield. “I called him in to discuss terms and opened discussions by saying, ‘Okay Paul, we’ll give you so much’.

“He replied that he had no intention of leaving Leeds so he might as well sign the contract and let me fill in the details. “I said ‘What do you want, then, two years or three years?’. He answered ‘Either way, I’ll leave it to you. I just want to play for Leeds’, and that was that.”

They really don’t make them like that any more. RIP, Paul.
Leeds Steve

 

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