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Reasons for Ole optimism
At 2-0 down after 60 minutes I had the TV on but could not watch. The reason was simple. It was clear we were not good enough and we were having a terrible day against a more motivated and energized opponent. The mind flashed back to a windy afternoon in December 2015 at Stoke when LVG was incharge and we were similarly toothless. I knew what was coming next. The media would have Ole, like LVG, as a dead man walking, and Pochettino, like Mourinho then, was waiting in the wings to take over. Woodward would not act till the end of the season and the dead man walking carried on with his almost dead team limping on for at least another 4 months until salvaging it with a trophy at the end.
But…. We then scored 3 goals in 7 minutes. Regardless of what happened before, this was progress. The reasons why are as follows and are not insignificant which clearly differentiate Ole from LVG (or other predecessors):
Not a single player wants Ole gone
The football is not turgid. It can be ineffective at times but not turgid (at least not like LVG’s)
They still kept at it and did not give up. This will stand them in good stead the next time they are (inevitably) a few goals down
This team is a lot fitter than any post Fergie team United have had
Before anyone thinks I am deluded, let me be clear. At the moment United are probably the 6th best squad in the country, top 4 is a pipe dream this season and we will likely not hold our nerve or be consistent enough to win a trophy this season either. But there is one thing this team does have. Potential. We can get rid of Ole and bring in someone new, but we already know how that story went 3 years ago, what we don’t know is what happens if we back the manager and let him ride out this period.
We have made a terrible mess of the start this season, almost to the extent of writing this season off. But what if 1 season has to be written off to ensure no more seasons like the last 6. We simply cannot reset again. Let there at least be 2 more windows where we recruit to fit the style we are currently following, let the likes of Greenwood, Garner, Williams, Tuanzebe show more with the experience they gain. I guarantee that result will be better than the shitshow we managed the last time we changed to someone who guaranteed success.
Zee (I do admit Poch is a better fit for us than Jose, but resetting again is what concerns me)
… So I have been reading for several Untied fans and other football fans that Ole should be getting the sack from the United Managerial role relatively soon. As much as I understand the fans opinion and frustration that the results and performances have not been good enough (Yesterday’s performance for 70 mins was just as bad as the loss at Newcastle), you also have to take several other factors into consideration that United are still a ‘Work in Progress’ team and that Ole should be given time until at least the end of the season. There are several factors below that I am going explain why sacking Ole midway through the season is utterly pointless and that he deserves at least 18 months to do something about United’s overall consistency.
Ole is testing the players resolve and determination: One thing I have seen positively change in the last 12 months for United is the overall work rate. Players like McTominay, Rashford and AWB have shown this work-rate better than anyone else and have really shown by example this season.
Given Youth a chance/lack of available budget: He has actually had to the balls to give the youngsters a chance to play first team football knowing that it is an incredibly risky process. This may not be good for United in the short term, but these players are picking up invaluable experience. Mind you, he has not been scared of telling the big players they aren’t good enough for United. He sold Lukaku and made 75 Million off him, loaned out Sanchez because he was heavily underachieving, and stopped playing Mata and Matic because of their pace/age. The youngsters have brought in good energy and genuinely want to play for the club.
Looking to develop players: Despite a lack of improvement in overall performances and results, I think Ole is genuinely trying to focus on developing some of the players. Rashford has improved dramatically this season. Daniel James has started far better than anyone expected and Williams has been a breath of fresh air.
I can completely see if the points I have made are not good enough in preventing his inevatable sacking. But all I am saying is what on earth is the point of sacking Ole midway through the season. United will end up becoming a managerial merry go-round if this happens and even if Pochettino did come in to replace Ole, he is going to need a LOT of time to turn the team around.
…Can we talk about strides and double standards?
– Why is Ole (A manager in Norway, The youth Manager when Pogba was discovered , manager of Cardiff (unsuccessful) not a manager any other Big club would take when we can look, at how much experience Pep, Zidane and now Lampard (no other championship playoff finalist would get that job).
– Why are we comparing Ole after a year to the finished product of 5 years of patience for Poch and Klopp?
– Why is it that has Ole removed half of the old guard already ,marginalised most of the rest leaving Pogba a lot of U-25’s ,fred and Perreirra as the first team being accused of keeping players sweet and Poch who played Kane in a Final he wasn’t fit for is who we should wait to change things around.
-Why is Ole celebrating a change in mentality from letting heads go down a bad thing ,but Pochettino saying certain cups don’t matter sage advice.
-Ultimately Ole, Poch or someone else may one day end up but most of the time I think the main problem everyone has with the current appointment is it’s not sexy enough.
… Am I the only one reading the lunchtime mailbox thinking that while most of the United supporters are clamouring about getting Poch in because “he’s a top manager”… United had two top managers before their current one and now they want someone who hasn’t even won a trophy yet. David Moyes has won more trophies than Poch. Hell even Ole has.
Then comes the argument that trophies aren’t the only barometer of success and look what Poch did with Spurs. Reality check, your last manager started moaning because he said his squad was rubbish and then the board didn’t sign the players he wanted. Solskjaer as well, didn’t get all his targets. LVG? Moyes? What makes you think Woodward will now get all Poch’s transfer targets?
Let Ole do his thing, to take the lead from 2 goals down away is impressive. Man U are at least looking better since drawing against Liverpool. He gets through to the youngsters because he believes in them. Will Pochettino have that same faith in United’s current crop of youngsters? Or will he, like those before him, after assessing them decide he needs money to improve the squad…? My guess is the latter.
Wik, Pretoria, LFC
Aaron, “We’re Manchester United” is still a pretty good reason for any player or manager to join the club. Though our recent fall from grace is continuing in a spectacular fashion very few will not consider ManU as an upgrade. The history, the pay, the prestige would all be an upgrade from practically most clubs in the world. As for the manager or player who can help United get their first title since Fergie, you can be sure they will go down in club history. So even with all the chaos surrounding the club, the ManU gig would still be pretty high up on Poch’s jobs to consider list.
Not all managers would want to go to PSG or Barca and play second fiddle to players. The PSG project is something that does not attract every player or manager. Barca always seem to want their manager to have a history with the club which Poch doesn’t fit. Plus Poch would not have the authority to stamp his style over the team and players at Camp Nou.
That being said if he does get offered the Bayern gig, he would be stupid not to consider it. But Bayern being Bayern will have their own set of options as well. A move from London to Manchester also allows him to not uproot his life completely from a country he’s been living in for a decade.
…As the dust settles on the aftermath of the 3-3 draw, there’s plenty of criticism for Ole and the slipping standards of Man Utd. This lovely website is no different.
Truth be told, Utd deserved to be admonished for their performance. It was a weak and gutless display that fully justified the harsh words being directed their way.
However let’s be realistic for a moment and assess the mess. While the standards have indeed bottomed out, it was always about a rebuild this season. For Ole to be expected to challenge while having to scorch the earth is, in my opinion, mission impossible with this squad.
Having a midfield of Fred and Perreria is asking for trouble against a Sheff Utd with physicality and intensity to burn. Asking Phil Jones to cope with bog standard defending is perhaps too much of an ask now. New bodies are needed in midfield, some defenders need replacing and the forwards need supplementing.
Essentially Utd has to balance clearing the deadwood and targeting a new team without stifling the promising young ones. The rebirth of Utd is a monumental task, and it seems like Ole has to balance on one foot, with both hands tied behind his back while trying to fight his way up the table.
The future though, looks way better now than it did when Moyers was in charge. Even with similar records over the course of a similar number of games, Ole has a lot more positives going for him.
There is a host of promising teenagers breaking through. His three summer recruits are all starter material and he’s got a potentially devastating partnership of James, Rashford and Martial increasing their understanding.
So yea, standards have deviated from what we’re used to, but Ole is building for the future. The ground needs to be razed to replanted, the night is always darkest before dawn and all that. Removing Ole for Poch is not going to change any of this.
Everyone is right to give utd fans grief, to mock and tease us for our current predicament. I found it hilarious when it was happening to Liverpool but the tables have turned. I just brush off my shoulders, live with tempered expectations and understand that a change of the scale needed doesn’t happen overnight.
Aaron from Ole’s wheel
United aren’t Kim Kardashian
Dave, Somewhere not disagreeing with your views of Man Utd but Kim Kardashian was Paris Hilton’s secretary and is now personally worth a few hundred millions dollars despite having no discernible talent beyond having a large bottom.
If you were likening celebrities to clubs she’s closer to Leicester; squeezing every ounce of potential out.
Man Utd is more like McCauley Caulkin after his early years. Just a lot of sad people looking back and wondering what might’ve been with some decent management.
Poch’s next gig
Like many Spurs fans, I’m grateful for Poch, the joy he brought and the degree to which he changed perceptions of Spurs as a club. It was time for a change, but the irony is that without Poch’s reign, we wouldn’t have been able to appoint a manager like Mourinho – an elite level manager with an elite level record.
Despite the derision from some fans, I can’t lie – I’m genuinely excited to have someone with his track record, as opposed to an up and coming prospect. It may not work, but this is a very atypical appointment for us and i’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out.
I’m equally interested to see where Poch lands. As some mailboxers highlight, United is a shower at the moment, and the same issues that have undermined a succession of experienced managers isn’t likely to be addressed solely by the Argentinian’s appointment. Madrid seem fine under Zidane, and while Bayern has been touted as a destination, I see Dortmund as a much more suitable fit. Young squad, high octane game and propensity to blood the best young players – fertile territory for a coach with Poch’s philosophy. Wherever he ends up, I wish him all the best.
Dan James – Mildly excited Spurs Fan
Media on United’s payroll
Whatever your club, a large majority of football transfer gossip turns out to be pure guff. But in yesterday’s mailbox, Craig made some interesting points about Man Utd being linked with one of the hottest young players in Europe, and how inexplicable that is given the form of that club.
Its bizarre unless you have worked in the world of PR. Tracking football gossip for years, and working in the world of PR, it is clear to me that Man Utd are obviously paying the major newspapers and outlets to write articles that serve one purpose and one purpose only – to reinforce the idea that Man Utd are a global club with major gravity, and one that all aspiring world class talent would want to play for.
Major corporations pay newspapers and journalists to enhance their image, and football is no different. Every summer there are relentless stories linking Bale, Ronaldo, Rodriguez, the return of Ibrahimovic, Osuama Dembele, Kroos, (and pretty much any player who has played for Real, Barca or Bayern )with big-money moves to Utd.
My view is the Glazers and the Man Utd corporate machine are pumping out these stories to appease the fans. If you see enough articles linking your team with £150-200m transfers, the fans will automatically assume Utd a) have this type of money to spend and b) are therefore still at the top table of European football. Oh and don’t forget c) The trading algorithms that buy and sell Man Utd’s shares will like the fact that the club are linked with the world’s best players.
So there you have it. I for one am looking to what articles Utd plant as we head into the January window.
Cameron, HMFC, Edinburgh
Winners and losers
Hi Mr / Mrs Mailbox Compiler… I’ve just completed reading Johnny’s article about having a “winning mentality”. I think that Johnny was about to make a good point about, but it got lost in between some incoherent rambling.
Labelling an individual as a “winner” is much easier than having to repeatedly describe someone as an individual who has worked tirelessly to master their craft in order to reach the pinnacle of their industry, and has found a method that can be used to repeatedly achieve success. I think it is safe to say that Mourinho, Pep, Klopp, Pochetino, etc all fit into the category of a “winner” based on that description, with varying degrees of success.
Bringing Chris Wilder into this type of discussion is unfair just to make a laboured point, because it undermines the great work he has done so far, but in fairness he has probably won more hearts rather than football games at this point in time. Ian Holloway and many other managers made similar bright starts only to make a steep decline shortly after. In the case of someone like Juande Ramos, and say Rafa Benitez, their methods were those of a “winning” manager for the time that it worked at the highest level, but not every manager is capable of staying at the top for long.
I’ve never seen anyone refer to Roberto Martinez as being a “winner” because of his FA Cup win, largely because of his poor league records. For this reason Ranieri has never firmly been in this category either. Individuals who are referred to has having a winning mentality are usually those who consistently prove themselves by managing to achieve these feats on multiple occasions rather than once off success. Whether this is achieved by academic excellence, surrounding yourself with a great team, choosing to work for clubs with an environment conducive for winning, or a combination of these things, it points to an awareness that people who are part of a winning culture understand.
I’m not a Spurs fan so I don’t care much about their managerial situation, but it’s fair to say that Mourinho has a better winning record than Pochettino, whether it’s comparing games won or trophies won. This doesn’t automatically mean that Poch isn’t a “winner”
If F365 doesn’t win Online Media of the Year at the FSA Awards, does this mean they don’t have a winning mentality? And if they do, is it the mark of champion writers who can win while still writing badly…
Clyde (The Athletic will win regardless of my vote)
Just a couple of quick thoughts on comments made by managers from games this weekend.
Zidane: Berating fans for, well, berating Gareth Bale. Zidane made comments saying he hoped Bale would leave soon. You could say it was simply because he was in the process of being sold and that would make it easier for the rest of the team. Nothing personal and all. However, the only reason Bale was considering leaving was because he did not have the trust and respect of Zidane. But hey, now Zidane’s neck is on the line as the team are doing so-so, suddenly berating Bale is off limits.
Hodgson/Wilder: Both seemed to indicate that their teams lost a bit of ‘energy’ in the second half, accounting for their loss/draw. Even though both came back with goals in the second half, they lost energy, letting their opponents take more control of the game. Perhaps that was true in the United game as they looked nowhere near scoring for the previous 70 minutes and Shef Utd looked to have it sewn up. In Palace’s case they did tie it up near the end only for Liverpool to apply a bit more pressure and Palace lost ‘concentration.’ Clearly Sheff Utd are head of Man Utd right now, but Wilder seemed to indicate his team’s energy dropped and United did seem to have bounds of energy for that 10 minute period. These all reflect players being ‘tired’ and one wonders why teams that are at the top or have ambitions of being at the top seem to be fitter or have better concentration. Is that a thing? Shouldn’t it be something easily fixed and, regardless of talent, something any footballer can aspire – fitness/concentration? So why would manager’s use as an excuse? Reflects more poorly on them.
Paul Murphy, Manchester; You said the problem was that VAR is inconsistent with the handball goal due to the “attacking players will always be disallowed by handball” rule. The thing is, that rule was not the what was being decided on yesterday with Sheffield’s third goal. What was being deliberated was whether that was upper arm or shoulder to initiate handball offence to begin with.
I watched that video again and again during the match and after and frankly I couldn’t tell for sure whether that is upper arm or shoulder. It was not a “clear” unintentional handball by any means and the VAR team just kept the on field ruling.
Given the almost complete lack of attention this received in the mailbox, I’m guessing most found no issue with the incident. This being VAR, the thing that people love to moan about, that is saying something.
As a Man United fan, I didn’t want it to be a goal either but after thinking about it for a day I think it was the right decision even if there is some grey in there.