The Man Utd ‘project’ is the biggest failure in Prem history…

Date published: Monday 25th October 2021 10:13 - Editor F365

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Cristiano Ronaldo watch on

The latest reaction as Liverpool beat Man Utd 5-0 on Sunday. Mail us at theeditor@football365.com…

 

Solskjaer and Man United’s project is the biggest failure in Premier League history
Sancho 70m

Maguire 80m
Wan Bissaka 50m
Van De Beek 40m
Fernandes 60m
Varane 40m
Diallo 40m
Dan James 15m

Add to this that you have Ronaldo and Cavani, one of the greatest players of all time and one of the best strikers of the past decade, on massive, massive wages. Add players from previous managers like World cup winner and formerly most expensive Premier League player ever, Paul Pogba. Add 55m Fred. Add 35m Shaw. Add 30m Lindelof. Add 50m Martial. Add 30m Bailly. And then consider you have two players purchased for 40m each in Matic and Mata as well.

Now imagine a manager handed all of this, who then proceeds to win absolutely nought in 3 years, and eventually reaches rock bottom being slapped 5-0 at home by his biggest rivals in a defeat so humiliating that it was ended as a contest before half time. The team now sits in 7th place, behind ‘calamity’ Spurs and level on points with ‘shambolic’ Arsenal.

It sounds like what you would come up with if someone asked you hypothetically what is the biggest failure you could possibly imagine as a football manager. Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer has been in arguably THE most prestigious position in world football ever since he has been appointed. He has spent millions and millions of pounds on players to add to an already expensively assembled squad, and won nothing. He has turned 40 and 50million pound players like Van De Beek, Fred, Diallo and Wan Bissaka in to flops. He has shelled out on Maguire, who is arguably looking like one of the worst center backs in the Premier League, and Sancho who has 0 goals and 0 assists in 10 appearances and now can’t even get off the bench. Would any other manager in world football be allowed to manage a football club so poorly, negligently and inadequately? It is unforgiveable disaster after unforgiveable disaster. The pathetic defence that got torn apart by Liverpool’s forwards cost 80 million more in transfer fees than the Liverpool defence. Woeful management of the team from Solsjkaer, and woeful management by the people above him to allow him to spend such massive amounts of money and then keep his job despite producing exactly zilch in terms of success.

Let us be absolutely clear about this with no room for interpretation. Any other manager at any other football institution would have been fired ages ago with this level of performance relative to the spend. We often refer to Leicester winning the Premier League as the greatest achievement in Premier League history due to their modest resources and status in the game. In that vein, we must remain consistent and realize that Manchester United’s project with Solsjkaer is the biggest failure in Premier League history, given the astronomical sums spent on the team and their own status in world football. He is, without doubt, one of the 3 or worst managers in the Premier League, and possibly bottom. The Man United contributors who have been crying about the poor treatment of this website towards Solsjkaer over the years should all write in apologies to the mailbox, it is the right thing to do.
El Gaucho

 

Neville on Ole
Just a few words on Gary Nevilles defence of his friend Ole this evening.

United finished second last year because Liverpool had statistically one of the worst seasons on record for injuries ever seen. Chelsea were being managed by an amateur coach, beloved of fans for his exploits as a player but clearly ill equipped to manage a top level club (have I laboured the comparison enough?)

Mourinho was not one of the beat coaches in the world when he joined United. He had recently been one of the best coaches in the world at that point, there is a difference. As a coach he had not evolved his tactics in any demonstrable way and they were becoming progressively less effective as football caught him up and passed him by, Ken Early wrote a brilliant article on this around that time. Joining a club with the resources of United was the last roll of the dice for Mourinho-ball which predictably ran out of steam.

Gary’s contention that United should stick with amateur Ole and not seek a new coach for the above reasons is demonstrably false.

Since Fergie left United have appointed three managers whose careers were in decline and their best days behind them. These were low risk low yield appointments by a board afraid to take a risk.

When these failed then grasped for the Ole safety blanket and held on ever since. And just as it looked like Ole might be growing as a manager with a young team taking shape and confidence around him they chose commercial interests and nostalgia before football yet again this summer.

This is a club addicted to playing it safe, looking to the past for comfort and who still believe that throwing money at the problem will fix it.

Signing Ronaldo has stifled Oles progress as a manager and that of his young team also, it was the latest in the line of terrible football decisions by a club unwilling or unable to look itself in the mirror and ask the hard questions and has effectively bought themselves another two years underachievement.

Until United is willing to let go of its past, its future will not manifest. Listening to Gary last night, that could take a while.

Hooray!
Dave 

 

Wow
After full-time against Atalanta, a very miserable Paul Scholes obsessed on the first-half display. Against a proper side – such as Liverpool – he said, United would basically be completely stuffed unless something fundamentally changed.

Well nothing fundamentally changed and United were completely stuffed. What we witnessed was what happens when the formation is wrong, the tactics are wrong, the coaching is woefully inadequate and individual players have absolute shockers. This would be bad enough but when playing a team which is perfectly set up, brilliantly coached *and* individual players play exceptionally well – you get 5-0 after 50 minutes. Make no mistake, if Liverpool had maintained their foot on the pedal it would have been 8 or more.

Salah is currently the best player in the world. But it doesn’t help much if you keep giving him the ball in really dangerous positions. The Harry Maguire I saw for England in the summer was an absolute colossus. This one was a complete and utter liability. It is a strange time indeed when you start wondering why players are so much *worse* for their clubs than they are for England.

Pogba should be banned for that challenge and Ronaldo was bloody lucky to still be on the pitch. When his goal was ruled out, you knew it was just going to be a day when absolutely no positives of any kind would be found for United.

The gap between City, Liverpool, Chelsea and the rest has never appeared to be more like a chasm. And Man U are on the wrong side of it after half a billion pounds of investment. Any one who thinks that buying a midfielder instead of Ronaldo would have fixed this is utterly deluded.

Ole has hitherto had the unnatural ability to pick out  a job saving result whenever he hit a crisis point. But that ability is played out. The benefit he’s brought to the club is over. He’s going to hand over a talented if unbalanced squad, which isn’t nearly as miserable as the one Jose ruined. It’s not a club in crisis but only a manager in one.

The boos at half time were the first real sign of the crowd turning against him. It will only get worse from here.

It’s absolutely astonishing to watch how fast the optimism and good will have disappeared from the day Ronaldo re-signed to now.

How he must wish he had gone to City instead.
James, Liverpool

 

Paul Scholes knows…
Rado, Sofia

 

A stat for the United board
2018/19 – Mourinho after 9 games? 14 points.

Has Ole really made a difference? Well yes, because Mourinho won games 10 and 11.
Shappo

Manchester United walk out onto the pitch

Ole should’ve been sacked a long time ago…
Ole, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba. All talent show audition stage-delusional. All leaders in the dressing room. It’s not just terrible coaching and match decisions from Ole, the next manager will have a culture of complacency to deal with.

Shaw talking about being in Mourinho’s head because the chap didn’t say he was brilliant while he was doing his job as a TV analyst. Maguire addressing the nation on the BBC after he got arrested for getting mouthy when he was smashed one night. Ole’s weekly David Brentisms. These people are idiots and their insecurity/giant egos are making a laughing stock out of the club.

This is just like Rooney’s decline under LVG. Marquee name clinging onto his status and giant contract despite his consistently bad performances and subsequent sustained bad results and a ridiculous manager (although at least that fella actually won things in the past) playing him every week regardless. Except Rooney seems like a smart guy who probably knew what he was at. Maguire, Shaw and OGS really do seem like the kinds of people who go on TV talent shows dressed to the nines, strutting into shot convinced they’re about to become world famous pop stars before being publicly humiliated by a closeted gay guy with an addiction to Botox.

Poch wanted the job. Tuchel wanted the job. The club decided to Solskjaer was still the man for some reason and now there’s only one name out there. Conte has done it at 3 different clubs and done it quickly. He also constantly complains about not being able to sign players though, just like Mourinho, and United need half a defence as well as a new midfield. Still, there’s nobody else. He won a couple of leagues with Victor Moses so you never know what he could do. He’ll quit in less than 2 years but he has an actual shot at winning stuff in those 2 years. If he can’t get a tune out of Pogba either you know it’s time to lose all faith in him.

Who knows if the right decisions will be made though? If they are it will be pure luck. Ole should have been sacked for that comment about trophies not being important but this is Glazers United now. They know nothing about football but they do know the likes of myself will still tune in and click no matter how bad it gets. Woodward actually said, out loud, that league position and lack of trophies doesn’t affect revenue. I’m away to read Animal Farm.
Eamonn, Dublin

 

Reflection…
Liverpool supporter here, but have to say that was one of the strangest matches. 5-0 felt under cooked, yet until the 4th went in I was worried United might stage a comeback. Most of the first half was spent laughing in disbelief, and most of the second half was just comedy. It didn’t/doesn’t feel real.

It felt like Liverpool actually stopped trying after the Pogba red card because it was clear United were endangering Liverpool’s players (Ronaldo, Fred and Fernandes all going way over the top in terms of frustration and agression – and then complaining afterwards), so why go toe to toe?

In the end, it was just a weird feeling. Strangely a similar feeling (albeit in reverse) to when we lost 7-2 to villa, just quite bizarre and really just looking forward to the next match. Nothing was learnt about Liverpool and nothing new about United.

That said, I don’t think City or Chelsea will stop at five when they go against United and that will be really quite funny to watch.
Rob

 

6-1
Yesterday’s match
and the 6-1 ten years and a day previously are superficially similar. But they are very different.

In 2011, City beat what was still a seriously good, if slightly ageing team. They were reigning Champions and had been in the last Champions’ League final. That season they would accumulate 89 points, which until Liverpool in 2019 was the highest number not to win the league and broadly the same players would win it again in 2013.

That is a big contrast with the ill-disciplined, incoherent rabble that took to the field yesterday.

But the 2011 score told a few lies. I am not so one-eyed that I can’t accept that City were winning the match decisively but not outrageously until a crazy end to the match saw them score three times in 237 seconds (they were a good 237 seconds though. Can heartily recommend).

It was a match between two very strong, well-coached teams decided by Mario Balotelli’s personality and more profoundly, a performance of true greatness from David Silva. There was an (uncontroversial) sending off that definitely influenced the course of the match but there was no nastiness or petulance. At the risk of losing my Bert card for ever, 6-1 didn’t tell the full story.

In 2021, United were utterly humiliated, inferior in all respects to the 2011 version with the exception of David de Gea, the one survivor of that team and by far their best player yesterday. Liverpool dominated the match completely in a way City didn’t in 2011, but the task they were set was so much easier. Salah did what he does against hapless defences but while there were plenty of good performances for Liverpool, none hit the highs of Silva and maybe two or three others a decade earlier. Quite possibly because they didn’t have to. I imagine those players will simultaneously be thrilled with the result but also aware that it could and maybe should have been more.

So the two matches are not directly comparable but boy do they map the decline of Manchester United as a competitive force under their current ownership. Away from the partisanship, that is the story.

What does it say about the winning teams? Probably not much that we didn’t know about either of them. But maybe it does tell us one thing. Both Manchester City and Liverpool were lucky to have James Milner. He played in both matches. What a career that man has had.
Mark Meadowcroft

 

Ole’s masterclass in the grand scheme
I think alot of us will focus on Ole and Man United after today. Probably with good reason. That was. Yeah. Was working in the pub for it, and I think the biggest statement of intent was, very few Liverpool fans I talked to were nervous. It’s only Tottenham is a famous one, but maybe it’s only Ole might become another soon (baring the usual individual masterclasses that seem to be becoming less common since Ronaldos arrival)

It’s not that United don’t have players. Their attacking options rival the best clubs in the world. But it’s only Ole.

But I don’t mean to beat a dead dog, I think if anything today is more about the resurgence of Klopp and Liverpool, who some (including myself) had written off a tad, Chelsea had added a supposedly world class striker to an already immense defence team, while Man City were, well, Man City. Meanwhile Liverpool sold several players and signed Konate. And that’s it.

But today, and several matches in the past month, have shown that I was, to be blunt, a bit stupid to write then off, they very easily demolished what is likely the main contender to the 4th CL spot. They’ve regained world class Salah, who’s honestly terrifying atm, and it seemed the footballing god’s implemented a new patch to prevent the sizable number of injuries Liverpool had faced last season.

Not only have they done the games where it’s easy to look good, they’ve also done the hard games too, where even though they don’t perform, they still edge out wins (see the Athletico match)

I think today was a brutal reminder to myself, and the rest of football, that Liverpool aren’t to be counted out at any costs.
Daragh

 

A new low. Beating our rivals wasn’t satisfying or even hilarious; it was just sad. What a poor team unworthy of my hatred. I feel like I just shot my dog. We at least showed up to make Sir Alex’s teams feel even better than superior champions that they were.
Niall, Bethany Beach

 

There’s joy in my heart, Man Utd keep losing
Almost wrote a reply to that chancer from Dublin who likened Ole to Arteta as learning on the job, and doing that bad a job all things considered. That he was like Fergie, a rookie needing to be given time. ARF! That one made me laugh.

I’m really looking forward to the #OleIn perspectives today though. Wah wah wah. He’s not been backed, the glazers are holding the club back, the players aren’t performing, Ole needs time/needs a few more. Each one absolutely ludicrous in their own right, but even more hilarious collectively.

He’s been backed, to the tune of £170+ Million in his first full season. Another c£90m the next summer followed by another £140m this summer. He’s literally had a new team signed for him. So it’s not the Glazers or the money. Green and gold until were sold. My arse you entitled babies.

The players aren’t performing? Well who picks the players up and improves morale? Who plays tactics and formations that suit the players at their disposal? Who creates a machine that are more than a sum of their parts? Fergie won a league trophy with Evans, Jones, Cleverley, Kagawa, Nani etc. Don’t think it’s the players. Look at what Moyes and Potter are capable of with FAR inferior squads.

Ole needs time. How much exactly? He could stay in charge for years, because it’s all a bit funny to me. He’s been given ample time. Chelsea discarded Lampard and went onto win the CL and are genuine title contenders this season. Liverpool have a manager proven in the Champions League and a trophy winner. Man City have one of footballs greatest modern day coaches. Arsenal have a relative rookie in terms of teams managed – and he’s won a trophy! Their post Fergie experiment manager is above them in the league.

Maybe, just maybe, the common denominator in how shit Man Utd are at the minute is Ole.
Mat, Liverpool.

 

36 year old Portuguese elephant in the room
During the somewhat premature post-mortem of Manchester United’s season, are we going to discuss the 36 year old Portuguese elephant in the room, or are we going to continue to blame it all on Ole?

Bringing an ageing, but nonetheless domineering global superstar back into a side that was only just developing their own identity and style of play has caused a collapse in their rhythm, cohesion and confidence- who would have thought it?

Perhaps expecting Ronaldo to adapt to this Manchester United side, rather than the other way around, might cause slightly less implosion of their gameplay, particularly given that at 36, this is a swan-song visit, a last hurrah, and the long term future of this side will not include Ronaldo as the fulcrum of attacking play?

Ultimately, Solskjaer agreed to sign Ronaldo, and he must take responsibility to make it work, or use him sparingly until this team understand how to play together with him in the side. Ronaldo cannot carry Man Utd like he did at 23, and unfortunately in our collective excitement at his return, this seems to have been woefully forgotten. Ronaldo is proving to be a last minute curveball that, while offering moments of magic, might actually derail Manchester United to a far greater extent than had they cohesively soldiered on with him remaining a relic in the history books.
Mike in Oxford

 

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