There’s something to be said for just enjoying Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Not everybody agrees though. Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Come on, that was fun
If you watched Ronaldo score a last-minute winner in front of the Stretford End on a Wednesday night under the floodlights and you’ve written in to the mailbox this morning about papering over cracks and #oleout then you my friend are no Manchester United supporter.
Let’s face it, until they scored, United were absolutely dreadful. The defence was a shambles, the midfield completely anonymous (with Paul Pogba in there, who could’ve guessed) and our plethora of expensive attacking options failed abysmally to break down a team we’ve only ever scored once against.
But we did actually win the game with a marvellous goal, a couple of great saves, a goal line block and the latest Champions League winner in our history. Today should be one where we breathe a sigh of relief and lap up the good times (god knows they’ve been few and far between in the last 8 years).
Yes, questions remain. Like are we ever going to sign a competent midfielder? Did we sign Sancho to play on left with all our other players or to fill the gap on the right (if the former then Ole really should be sacked)? Will Pogba ever not give the ball away? And why don’t we always just start every game as if we’re one nil down?
But bloody hell lads, I enjoyed the manner of victory if not the performance, get a grip.
Also, I propose that no one be allowed to write in about Ole being sacked without proposing both a) a sensible long term replacement (Conte will leave as soon we refuse to sign a midfielder) who can win the league with this team and b) a team in history who has consistently won titles without a midfielder who can tackle and press. There’s a lot of #oleout but the conversation about what comes after is all pie in the sky.
Ashley (Fred: 2.8 tackles per game. No Fred, no party) Metcalfe
…Quiet, frankly couldn’t care less. Who cares about the future, who cares if OGS is good/bad, Individual FC and blah blah blah, live in the now. Ronaldo Scoring 90th minute Champions league winners, Stretford End, Fergie Time. Sir Alex looking down. What a time!
Every United fan can agree it’s the absolutely it’s the best it’s been since Sir Alex! lol Don’t take life too seriously, enjoy some of it 😉
(its the people paid to run the club who should worry about why OGS should or shouldn’t be fired, Won which was needed, give OGS that much until we lose lol)
Deeno (Don’t worry, about a thing cause every little thing, is gonna be alright!)
Four observations on Ole’s United
Ole’s subs: Ole’s far from being in the upper echelons of the coaching world, but the negativity is astonishing. If United sneak a win, it’s his style of play, if they play well and lose, it’s his inability to make a difference. Last time we played Villarreal, he was criticised for his lack of substitutions. This time he sent on Matic, Fred, Cavani, and Lingard. Matic passed the ball forward, Cavani fought for possession, Fred crossed the ball, and Lingard set up Ronaldo for the goal. But god forbid we should laud Solksjaer for getting his subs right. Villarreal have been a real thorn in United’s side for a while. I’m just glad we got the win and buried the voodoo.
Ronaldo’s on field impact: The one statistic that bothers me about CR7’s impact is the number of goals scored by others since he played his first game. Ronaldo has scored 5 goals, and everybody else put together have scored 4. Greenwood, who started the season so well has scored zero goals since Ronaldo started. Ronaldo’s greatest legacy will be to inspire every one of his team mates to stop being awestruck and get in on the act. For example Greenwood needs to stop hanging back and be up trying to get past the last man. If nothing else, this will create problems for the offside trap. I hope when Rashford returns this will become a more consistent feature. Ronaldo will be far more potent when he’s not the only one the opposition need to stop.
Midfield madness: A lot is made of United’s average midfield, and we all believe games are won and lost in midfield. But Sir Alex proved that you can beat this stereotype too. His last Premier League was won with a central midfield workload shared by Carrick, Cleverley, Anderson, and Scholes. Which sounds good till you remember this was Scholes at 38, having come out of retirement, and Carrick played 34 games at the age of 32. And Cleverley, Cleverley! had 18 appearances. Even Giggs played in central midfield a few times. Far from any kind of midfield masterpiece. And Sir Alex’s reluctance to invest in central midfield has been talked about before but he still managed to win the league. Lest we all get caught up in the narrative, there are innumerable ways to win football matches. Playing or not playing McFred is not as religious an argument as it seems.
Wan Bissaka: the guy is clearly going through a rough time. There’s constant sniping about his inabilities, and he seems to be going a little off the rails outside of football. Last night showed why we need him back. Dalot was usually playing in a different postcode from Danjuma for much of the evening. And he didn’t really add all that much in attack. With Greenwood and Sancho both available, Wan Bissaka should be allowed to get on with being an incredibly good defender and praised for that. The rest will follow. But right now he must feel that the universe is conspiring against him – with the added irony of an extra ban from UEFA who don’t seem to have had a problem with DeBruyne’s stamp.
Ved Sen, MUFC
It’s all about the vibes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a bad coach. I think that’s relatively undisputed. I feel bad for him too because he’s definitely a victim of his own success in a way. He was hired to repair the vibes at United after the sour times under Mourinho. Which he did. Incredibly well. The problem is, the decision-makers at United can’t help themselves from milking a cash-cow until it is a dried-up husk.
One need only look at Chelsea for a comparative study in decision-making. Club legend Frank Lampard, golden boy, ascended to the throne as if anointed by fate itself. The minute he even looked like he wasn’t working out he was gone. No “he needs time” nonsense. No comparison with previous managers who, when afforded an age of mediocrity came good in the end. Just “so long, good luck, don’t let the door hit you on the way out”. No emotion. Just business.
Such is our disorganisation, I don’t know who would even make the decision at United to sack Ole?
United have been running on vibes for several seasons now. First was the open window of Solskjaer that removed the fart that was Mourinho. Then came Bruno. Now Ronaldo. Vibes. Vibes. Vibes. During this period came numerous chances of winning a trophy, all squandered because of bad coaching.
I was thinking the other day that I watch other teams to actually watch football. I don’t watch United to watch football in the same way that I don’t use a rollercoaster to get from one end of an amusement park to the other – I don’t actually go anywhere and there is a lot of involuntary screaming.
OGS should be made director of football or some other titular role because he is fantastic at selling the club and the all-round vibe. He’s just a very, very bad manager. It’s not his fault. He’s like a kid who has been given a chocolate factory. Don’t expect him to give it up on his own.
United are a club that is drowning in sentiment.
Why put Granville in charge of that squad?
Firstly, congratulations to Man Utd for winning the Champions League last night. What a night, I’m sure the celebrations went on long into the evening.
Seriously though, having watched them for only the second time this season, I cannot fathom them. They have a wage bill that would make an aggressive hedge fund blush, some of the best individual players in the world (surely the best ever EA FIFA squad ever assembled) and some really good young players.
And yet, it’s not working. Sure they won last night, but my goodness they were poor. Almost to a man they were dreadful (except the keeper who kept them in it).
No doubt the fans have all woken up this morning feeling great. Their hero dug them out of a hole again. But that’s only part of the story.
Why build such an impressive collection of players and leave Granville from Open All Hours in charge? Madness. There are many other metaphors we could use, but the bottom line is that they will not win anything with the current manager. And I think the players know it.
Also, back to Ronaldo. He was abject for 94 minutes. Barely moving, giving the ball away and flapping his arms at ever opportunity. Sure he’s capable of moments of pure theatre like last night, but I will never be convinced he is the main man anymore for a team with trophy ambitions.
Another season of so close but so far is on the horizon unless some difficult decisions are made.
Ole out, Cristiano in
The sentiment is often expressed that no other manager would have been given as long as Ole has, without winning anything, at a club this size. And though he is given bonus points for being much nicer and more stabilising than one J. Mourinho , some might call this a pretty low bar to clear. A cursory glance at the other clubs in the Big Four reveals that even winning at his level doesn’t guarantee employment.
Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea legend and very nice guy was fired months after winning the FA Cup and Champions League. Essentially yes, this was not bad but Roman expected them to play much better football doing it. Kenny Dalglish – the ultimate club legend, though also a pretty grouchy Scot – was fired at Liverpool despite reaching the FA Cup final and winning the League Cup only months previously. Being rubbish in the League and publicly supporting a massive racist was a bad look though. And Manuel Pellegrini, less legendary though very classy – was sacked at City for the crime of not even slightly being Pep Guardiola at all. Again only months after a League Cup triumph and having previously won the League not all that long ago. This was totally justifiable though because Pep would guarantee that they would definitely win the Champions Leag….oh wait.
So why are United different with Ole? He’s won nothing, has no definable style of play, demonstrated no particularly discernible tactical or transfer acumen and his most impressive highlight to date was before he was even permanently given the job. The argument that there isn’t better out there really doesn’t hold water. Have they already achieved a level of success they’re happy with? It seems unlikely. Last night was just more of the same – their season in microcosm really.
But despite the many legitimate reasons to say, ok he’s had his shot – the club aren’t briefing against him, they’re not being linked with anyone else and there seems no genuine appetite for change. So, at last, it seems there can only be one answer.
Ronaldo wants to take over as manager when he retires as a player. And he can only 100% definitely do that if someone not very good is in charge at the time, who will stand peaceably aside for the good of the club. So he’ll keep Ole in charge until then, usually by rescuing him at the last possible minute.
Just you watch.
James, Liverpool (how different would life have been if Ronaldo actually had signed for us way back when?)
Ole no more
I am not a frequent writer to the f365 mailbox but I read it religiously every day. However, after yet another escape last night I feel it’s time to voice out my frustration and turn it into action.
For those who don’t know me, I’m a very private person and do not usually share anything apart from memes and music on instagram…but something resonated with me strongly last night and I feel I need to share it here…
I am a Manchester United supporter..been so since I knew how to kick a ball. I have watched Solskjaer play in matches for my beloved club and he will always be a legend in my eyes as a player.
However as a manager he has caused us fans so much heartache and pain due to the pathetic tactics he implements and the exasperating decisions he has made at every turn.
He has made people feel like United should lose so that we can get a new manager. That is the worst I can feel about my club as a supporter.
I am saying this post our win at Villareal exactly because we won in such a manner. I am choosing this time because he keeps getting saved by these moments of brilliance which have happened despite his flawed tactics and decision making.
It is clear to see for everyone. and anyone not willing to admit this is just living in denial or nostalgia or holding their breath out of respect for the player he was. The club will always be bigger than any manager or player and we have to think about the club now.
Hence I have created a petition on Change.org to send to the #MUFC board and club to seriously consider the petition as a glaring sign from the fans.
I would urge all of you to sign and share this petition as much as possible.
This is not a joke or for fun. I am very serious about this. #oleout
Can you help me out by signing this petition? https://chng.it/9mLz8Ls7
Just wondering if Ole thought Jesse was offside when he sat in front on the keeper for Ronaldo’s goal?
Chris (where’s Connor Byrne)
Change the formation, Thomas
I know after the last two results there’s gonna be a lot of knee jerk reactions about Tuchel being rubbish, overrated, etc. so let’s just be clear; he’s obviously a very good manager who will probably go on to win a lot more in his career. However, he is being frustratingly cautious and it simply doesn’t suit the players at his disposal.
He was completely right to play a 3-4-2-1 last season, this was a team all over the place with no coherent identity and a tendency to absolutely haemorrhage goals. Aside from providing obvious defensive numbers and stability, the 3-4-2-1 also allowed Tuchel to put a massive emphasis on the experienced leaders in the team – Azpilicueta, Silva, Rudiger, Jorginho & Kante were the perfect defensive spine and new signings/youngsters Pulisic, Ziyech, Werner & Havertz had way less pressure on their shoulders with such a formidable group of players behind them.
But this formation is unsustainable in the mid/long term for this squad of players. Last year we were constantly seen as underdogs – Real Madrid, City, even Atletico wanted to control possession and completely outplay us. They couldn’t break down the incredibly organised defence Tuchel had set up and our attacking players were wonderfully efficient on the counter attack. However, with the exception of Mount, none of our attacking players were consistently good last season. They worked their socks off, they had their moments, but all of them were adjusting to a new league/team/two new managers, and/or constant injuries, and/or were just very young. The counter attacking strategy meant there was no onus on them to control the game to spend time on the ball, to create bags of chances, to grind down defences; they simply had to create & finish one or two speedy counter attacks each game which to their credit they did very well.
The fact that this worked so well in the Champions League kind of masked the fact that in domestic games we looked really toothless a lot of the time. Whenever teams sat back and let us have the ball, we struggled to create chances and just lacked the creative coherence to unlock defences. It’s pretty telling that we won the Champions League Final with 39.6% of possession, beat Real Madrid 2-0 at home with 32.3% of possession, and lost the FA Cup Final with 63% of possession.
As teams realise they need to defend deep in numbers and allow us to have a lot more of the ball, there is much less space to run into and much more of an imperative to dictate play, stretch defences, grind teams down, pick the lock, and *create sodding chances* without the luxury of space. Doing this with three centre backs, a sitting double pivot, and only two attacking midfielders behind the striker is extremely difficult. If Guardiola played five defenders, Rodri, Fernandinho, and just two attacking mids with a striker, they’d find it much more difficult to break down mediocre defences, never mind good ones.
With the exception of Alonso, who would obviously suffer if we switched from playing wing backs, Tuchel has an excellent group of defenders all of whom are more than capable of playing four at the back, especially with Jorginho & Kante in front of them. Persisting with five at the back in the long term is incredibly over-cautious and unnecessary now that the chaos-days of Lampard are well behind us. But more pressingly, it also means we’ll never get the best out of our exciting attack talents. Too often our 3 attackers look isolated, disconnected from each other and the rest of the team; we’ve become a team that gives everything to defence and then relies on the odd moment of individual brilliance in attack.
Switching to a 4-3-2-1 means we retain the double pivot with Kante and Jorginho, but allow two of Pulisic/Havertz/Ziyech/Hudson Odoi to play alongside Mount and give us far more ability to control the game and create chances. This suits every one of those players down to the ground; Hudson Odoi & Pulisic get to be wingers, Havertz has more freedom to drift and interchange with Mount/Lukaku, and it might finally get the best out of Ziyech too, who was quality in a 3-man attacking midfield at Ajax but has always looked a bit lost in the kind of hybrid no10/second striker role this formation demands of him. It goes without saying that Lukaku would also benefit from an extra creative player behind him.
I think many Chelsea fans were hoping Tuchel would be bold and start the new season with this formation, but we have a kind domestic & European run for the next seven games now, so it’s as good a time as any to switch things around and get the goals flowing. Otherwise I can really see us getting into a rut of stale attacking play with dicey 1-0s against smaller teams and an inability to create chances against anyone better.
It never ceases to amaze me the number of mails that accuse F365 writers of “bias”. Apparently you’re currently biased against Solskjaer, Aman has decided. In the past you’ve really hated Spurs. Arsenal. City. Pool. You name the club and according to the mailbox F365 has an “agenda” against that club. Then nothing will do but to denounce them in the strongest possible terms – their “journalistic integrity” called into question because of their unseemly and childish dislike of “Insert Club Here”.
Reading these mails one would be forced to the conclusion that the writers of F365 don’t really like any of the clubs, the managers, or the players at all. Is it possible that F365’s real agenda is against football itself? Perhaps F365 are in cahoots with the nefarious proponents of the Super League! Is Sarah Winterburn just a pseudonym for Pritti Patel?
Be sensible. Next time you furiously start drafting an email accusing F365 of plotting against your beloved Club…take a walk. Have a cup of tea. Speak to your significant other. Let the keyboard cool for half an hour. Hopefully you’ll realise you’re being daft.
Oh. And to answer Shappo’s question (with the answer he already gave himself) – Yes the three years has been about steadying the ship, squads taking some time to overhaul, this being real life and not, you know, a video game.