Letting Zlatan leave just one of Man Utd’s many f*ck-ups…

Date published: Monday 6th May 2019 8:40 - Ian Watson

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com…

Shame, shame, shame
As a United supporter for over 40 years, I had convinced myself that Mourinho was the problem. Never liked him as a United boss, for all the reasons already put forward ad nauseum. Was convinced he had destroyed the dressing room. Now I’ve adjusted my opinion. It’s the players, has to be. He was never the right fit for us, but given that Ole has not strayed too much from the Mourinho team selection, the players have to be the problem. How can basically the same personnel go from an unprecedented winning run to the latest series of performances? Attitude, no leadership and no consequences.

It was a mistake for the club to let Zlatan go, injury or not. Keep him and let him play until he can’t stand up anymore, then move him to the backroom. He was the nearest thing to a Cantona or Keane we’ve had in recent years in terms of aura and respect. Too much money to keep? Two words: Alexis Sanchez.

Ole is not a leader. He doesn’t need to be. Whatever bastard-ish characteristics he lacks should be in a least a couple of the players on the pitch, that’s where the leaders need to be. Ole needs to be a manager of men. Men need to play for Manchester United, no matter their age or experience. Hughes, Keane, Cantona, Ronaldo. Rooney, Zlatan- all bastards in their own way. But all men who gave it plenty for the shirt and were respected by those around them for doing so. Everyone knew Ronaldo was leaving a year before he did, he still had his best season for us. Why? A real man with attitude and respect for his club. We can’t play ourselves, but as men we should equally expect real men to represent us on the pitch. Respect can only exist if it works both ways. The current Manchester United senior squad as a whole are not earning ours.

Who’s left now? Herrera and Mata?. Would be sad to see them go but maybe they should. McTominay? Yes, possibly the guy but not at the moment. Rashford? Today’s Yorke. Good maybe in a partnership but not leading the line, and certainly not a Cole, Van Nistelrooy or Van Persie. Pogba, Lingard? Don’t make me laugh! Any of our defenders? Don’t make me laugh even more!! Where are our leaders?

This United team would not win the Championship, never mind the Premier League. Let’s not forget we were relegated 6 years after becoming the first English team to lift the European Cup. It won’t happen again given the amount of money that can be thrown at the problem these days, but we have been in relegation form since March.

It now has to be the biggest rebuild since the 70’s, pure and simple. Is Ole the man? He needs serious help from the hierarchy and his new chosen players. Give him 12 months to stamp himself on this, let him try. A decent guy, he’ll resign before getting fired, won’t take nothing for his trouble. Mourinho took these players as far as he could last year, all credit to him. It seems like he worked a miracle given the past few weeks. Still an obnoxious character, but I think he knew he was making an omelette with rotten eggs.

It might come to pass that the Ole experiment fails, but it has highlighted that these players won’t fight for the shirt past their own selfish interests. It might even be a success in it’s failure if the finger points at the players and the s#it is gotten rid of.

There is a very simple clock outside of Old Trafford. The hands are permanently at 3.04pm. The date reads Feb 6th, 1958. It is the day that 8 young professional footballers would never kick a ball again. The maximum wage for a professional footballer at the time was 20 quid a week. Most of those boys never earned even close to that.

The current Manchester United squad and hierarchy should be made to assemble in front of that clock before our final game of the season next weekend. In the company of the supporters they play for. Maybe even with some of our veteran supporters who remember the days after Munich and the bodies coming home. Feel what it means to play for this club and the joy and tragedy we’ve been through over the years. Put your phones and Vuitton wash bags away for a little while.

Perspective, guilt, maybe even shame from our players. This is not the United way. The die hards among us believe Ole understands. I hope he does. The rot started before Sir Alex left, we must modernise, cull and be ruthless.
Steve, NYC


United are f*cked
So United are either going to break the bank or bring up their youngsters according to F365 mailers or writers.

The youngsters route plays into the old Fergie years thing that is so overused by Solskjaer now and is just cr*p, at least if getting into the CL is intended. McTominay only looks decent compared to the dross around him and Chong didn’t do much. But of course -‘he sprinted once.’ Spare me.

Going big? Nah, the truly big want to play in the CL. They may be willing to wait out one season but they want a next season guarantee and United that isn’t. So that means seriously overpaying for the players a level below that grade. Isn’t that what they’ve been doing? And no matter how much they have to spend even they don’t have enough to build a squad with guaranteed CL next year capabilities.

Whatever they do they need a plan and that requires a management that gets it. United’s doesn’t.

If you look at clubs who needed to step up, they didn’t say they would do it next year – they all have 3 or 5 year plans. It usually starts with coaching the current squad to become better. Oh, and getting rid of those that won’t fit the new managers style. Then adding in some slightly better plays who fit the style the manager wants to play. And once doing much better, attracting really good players. (Still fitting the style.)

When Solksjaer was doing better it was mostly an emotional play – post Mourinho. He set the teams out so they could attack more and they got the bounce. But the players haven’t improved. He doesn’t have a Solksjaer style. He doesn’t have a detailed plan of how the team should play to decide who fits and doesn’t.

It’s all been about the emotion.

While Chelsea and Arsenal have not been great you know that their managers have a way he wants them to play. You know Arsenal will bring players in that fit the new style and solve the defensive frailties. I just don’t see that in United.

Chelsea are an unknown because they may have a transfer ban and we’re not sure if Sarri will stay. But if any team were going to have to rely on youngsters they would be a decent bet.

Spurs dropped off but they won’t be so tired next season and will bring in some new blood. They seem to attract those ‘just below the top level’ players but Poch does such a good job coaching players to be better.

Wolves, Leicester, Everton and even Watford have managers wanting to play a certain way and all will bring in reinforcements and improve the team play.

And it doesn’t look like City or Liverpool will get any weaker.

So United have a long long way to go and if as F365 writers are saying – go young or go very big (didn’t we say that it shouldn’t be one or the other? – MC) – they will lose yet another season in trying to regain their perch
Paul McDevitt


The Ole derby
Hoping Molde draw Man U in the Europa league qualifiers next month. No rest for the wicked.
Baz, Dublin


Winning isn’t everything
I implore any youngsters or new parents reading the mailbox to ignore all of the, “nobody cares how many points you had, you didn’t win it” mails that are beginning to manifest.

This is a terrible mantra by which to live your life. Whatever happened to, “it’s the taking part that counts” and “just do your best.”

Many teachers, coaches, books, movies and role models I’ve had or seen in my life have taught me that winning isn’t everything. And after being on this journey with this Liverpool for the past few years, I’m finally starting to see that they were right.

Whatever happens this week (it would be really nice if we won summin), it’s been a brilliant and unforgettable season in so many ways. The sublime and the ridiculous, I’ll remember it all and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Ryan C, LFC


Not falling for Liverpool
Liverpool? The greatest losers? Do me a favour.

Today we’ve been hearing how Fabinho’s blatant dive to win the free kick which led to their third goal against Newcastle was inconsequential as it still required a 35 yard route to the goal involving an accurate delivery and an aerial challenge.

Rewind three months and we were hearing that Liverpool dropped points against West Ham because they weren’t awarded as many 50/50 decisions as their completely impartial manager thought they deserved, despite the fact they were awarded a goal which was clearly offside.

It’s this kind of hypocrisy that has led to most neutrals preferring to see a side which spent £60m on a substitute win the title over a team which have built a squad of home grown players and shrewd investments (despite what F365’s apparent infatuation with whitewashing their decorum may lead you to believe). That West Ham game came in the midst of a relative blip where there was huge disrespect shown by Liverpool management and supporters towards their opponents.

After failing to beat Wolves, Everton, Leicester, Man City, Man United and the aforementioned West Ham, every game produced a far fetched excuse. Man City’s grass was too long, there was too much wind against Everton & Wolves and the snow was supposedly the deciding factor against Leicester. Evidently their opponents were impervious to those conditions which Liverpool were prone to. I’m not sure if the worst, though, was the West Ham excuse, or that Klopp contrived to make out that Man U suffering injuries impeded his side more than the one that actually suffered them.

Not once was there any credit given to their opponents, an admission that their hard work, talent and tactical approach got them a favourable result, it was always as a consequence of some outside force.

I’m sorry, but any club and supporters that are arrogant enough to expect to just turn up for three points and if they don’t it’s because they’ve been cheated out of it don’t deserve to have anything to celebrate at the end of the season.
Glenn SWFC


Panic stations
It almost seems fitting that 3rd and 4th was decided by the competition falling over again.

Never heard the Emirates so loud in the last fifteen minutes but they seemed a bit panicky. Almost Spursy and Brighton could have nicked it.

Big shout out to the rest of the premier League. Teams with nothing to play for are often accused of ‘being in their flip flops’. Not this season, Newcastle. Huddersfield, Brighton and others have really made a game of it. Can Leicester add to that?
Rob, Gravesend


…We all know Arsenal were shambolic yesterday. Let’s assume they fail to make the Europa League final (and let’s face it, absolutely brutal away form) and they finish 6th. Raises the question, what was the point of this season? Emery tried to change things throughout the course of the season, yet it has yielded virtually the exact same results. Which leads me to believe that whether it be Emery or Wenger, perhaps some things will never change. Arsenal need major surgery this summer to have any potential shot at top 4 next season and they may well have just blown it without the CL money to assist.

Chelsea can’t possibly be as inconsistent again and Spurs will actually invest. This was the door opening to sneak back into the top 4 but they’ve gone nuclear in spectacular fashion at the worst time.

Now all of this is truly irrelevant should they conquer Europa, but what honest Arsenal fan has any actual faith in that happening? Because I don’t.
Nick C. (Canada has a league now!) Burlington, ON


United and Arsenal are interchangeable
I have a theory. You could take any Arsenal or Manchester United mail you get and replace the relevant names with those of the other team and it would still make sense.
Regards, David O, California


What now for Spurs?
Baring a delivery of lasagne to the spurs canteen this week, we have qualified for the CL next year with the finesse of a drunken goat due to a the penalty miss by Aubameyang in February.

‘What is there to moan about?’ cry the ENIC acolytes. New stadium, CL semi-final, massive injury list and not playing at ‘home’ for the majority of the season.

Poch has worked miracles again and just imagine what we could have achieved if there had been further investment in the squad. If Sissoko hadn’t suddenly turned into Patrick Viera this season our depleted midfield would be even more in the mire.

Poch has flagged it and everyone knows we need fresh investment in the squad.It cannot just be the reinvestment of the Erikksen, Alderweireld (he will be a big loss) and Dembele money (although I would like to see the back of Trippier,Aurier, Lamela, Jansen and Llorente).

We need 2 right backs, 2 central midfield players, pacey 2nd striker/winger and a central defender.

ENIC have not paid for the stadium it has been paid for by debt and it’s time for them to invest some money into the squad. It will make the club an even more attractive proposition to sell when there are trophies in the cabinet and revenues will further increase.

Or is the usual ‘insert manager name to be given huge transfer budget by Levy’ at season ticket renewal time yet another load of spin?

It’s a big summer.
David Harris, Sydney


And Chelsea?
After losing to City and Bournemouth how we did this season, then how we poor we played in the first half against Watford, I never expected Chelsea would have cemented their place in next season’s Champions League before Spurs did, either way this season must be seen as a success for a Chelsea side in transition, however it is clear the Premier League “ Top Six” has two incredible teams and then four above average but inconsistent sides, big summer ahead for us, Spurs, United and Arsenal.
Mikey, CFC (Pulisic’s wonder goal yesterday got me excited for what could be next season)


Cheerio, Cahill
Thank you United and Arsenal! It shouldn’t have been that easy, I was fully expecting them to win their fixtures this week, taking it to the last day. And great to see the fans get a chance to say goodbye to the criminally underused Cahill, I didn’t think Sarri had it in him. Joined in the January before the Champions League victory, and secured legendary status in just 6 months after surviving the onslaughts against Barca and Bayern. A quality defender who’s won it all and scored some belters along the way. The best of luck to him wherever he goes next. Up the Chels!


Leeds are falling apart again
So, it turns out that losing 5 of your final 9 games isn’t the best finish to a season.

Leeds have been absolutely pathetic for months now. This is the strangest season I’ve known as a LUFC fan for a really long time. The ‘panic stations’ defending whenever an opposition player gets within 20 yards of our goal would be funny if it weren’t happening at my own team. It was hopeless today at Portman Road, hopeless.

I have no clue how Leeds are 3rd. This side that cannot defend, had a goalkeeper who concedes about 50% of the shots he faces, and has strikers who are just rotten at shooting. And Adam fracking Forshaw can do one. You may not wear a Leeds shirt again, Adam. I forbid it.

So many points lost against teams at the bottom of the league. Losses to QPR (lost something like 9 in a row until Leeds came to town), Ipswich (already relegated, with just 5 wins all season, and down to 10 men) and Wigan (against 10 men for 75 minutes after taking the lead) will haunt me for a while.

If only we’d… I can’t even be bothered to calculate it. If my auntie had bollocks she’d be my uncle.

Utter rubbish. Utter, utter rubbish. This hurts.
Jonno McSchmonno


Underground, overground
I’m sure this will get lost in the weekend’s outpouring of mails about Liverpool late drama, United w*nkery, and the reactions from players and pundits. Probably deservedly so when put into perspective.

But can I just give a shout out to Afc wimbledon. We have endured a hard season, especially at home.
After 29 games we had 23 points, but in the last 17 games we managed to rack up 27 points, and keep a lot of clean sheets along the way which was ultimately what kept us up.

I totally appreciate that the importance of a story like ours is minute in comparison to the tightest Premier League season in history, but spare a thought.  Can you imagine going through a 46 game season that all eventually comes down to goal difference?? Tense doesn’t come close to describing it.
Chris Hardy (All Wombled out)

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