Tag Archives: lvg

LVG: Mourinho links ‘an absolute scandal’

Under fire United boss, Louis van Gaal, has blasted reports of Mourinho taking over in the summer as ‘an absolute scandal’.

Pressure has eased slightly on the Dutchman since securing a place in the FA Cup Quarter Final after beating Shrewsbury Town and progressing to the last 16 in the Europa League after beating Midtjylland 6-3 on aggregate.

Despite this, van Gaal is still the bookies favourite as the next Premier League manager to leave his job with Mourinho still a hot favourite to replace him.

The United manager had this to say to dutch TV channel RTL7:

Mourinho has said things a number of times with a lot of words, but he does not have to tell me anything. I find the whole thing ridiculous.

No, I don’t want United to do something either. I don’t even want them to react to things which I read in the media or which are being created.

We, the club and I, are not going to help the media right now by denying things.

I think what is happening is an absolute scandal.

Read the article in full on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

Will Keane – Is It Time He Got A Chance?

It may or may not have slipped under your radar but, last night, United Under-21s thumped Norwich City 7-0. In an attacking performance which fans have been crying out for the senior side to produce, Andreas Pereira tucked away a penalty whilst young defender Tim Fosu-Mensah also found the back of the net. How about the other five? Well, they were all scored by Will Keane, taking his tally for the Under-21s this season to 10 since he was recalled from his loan spell at Preston North End in January. After an impressive run of form for the second team, is it time that the 23-year-old finally gets his chance in the first team?

Since making his debut for the club in late 2011, Keane has found himself shipped out on loan to no fewer than four different clubs in a bid to ready himself for the vigours of the first team. A short stint at Wigan Athletic was ended prematurely to injury before a six-month loan deal to Queens Park Rangers proved to be equally unsuccessful. Hillsborough was to be his next destination in early 2015, where he found the net on three occasions for Sheffield Wednesday before heading to Preston North End at the beginning of this campaign on a season-long loan deal. His time at Deepdale hardly proved to be prolific, finding the net on two occasions in 22 appearances for the club.

When it was announced that Keane was to have his loan spell at Preston cut short to provide extra cover to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial in the wake of James Wilson’s loan move to Brighton, it smacked of desperation. In fact, with Adnan Januzaj returning to the club shortly afterwards, the conclusion that many reached was that manager Louis Van Gaal would not be trusted with any money during the January transfer window, a statement that has intensified since the closure of the window after United failed to sign a single player. However, Keane’s form for the Under-21s has done nothing but raise his stock and he could well find himself amongst the substitutes for this weekends game against Sunderland.

Whilst scoring five goals is impressive at any level, it was the nature of the goals which should not go unnoticed. His third goal, assisted by one Memphis Depay, was probably the neatest tap-in you are likely to see, whilst his fourth goal was nothing more than a thing of beauty, chipping the goalkeeper from the edge of the box after some sublime skill.

It is easy to get excited about a prospect from the Under-21s. The level of football down there is nothing compared to the Premier League, and his time away on loan has shown us nothing in terms of his progress. However, perhaps Keane is now willing to knock on the door and show LVG exactly what he has to offer. Keane cannot be judged on his loan spells. After all, one Harry Kane failed to pull up any trees during his temporary time away from Tottenham Hotspur, and it is probably fair to say that he is something of a success now…

Guardiola Joins City – What Next For United?

So Manchester City have finally confirmed the world’s worst kept secret and announced that outgoing Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola will take over the reigns at The Ethiad from next season. The question is, with Manchester City now going for broke, how can Manchester United counteract what could effectively prove to be checkmate?

My initial reaction to the news that Guardiola had made Manchester City his next venture was one of anger. As I let it sink it, it was still anger. How could Manchester United, the biggest club in the world lose out on the most sought-after coach in world football? Worse still, how could they lose out to the ‘noisy neighbours’? Whichever way one looks at it, this could prove to be the biggest and most fatal error made by Ed Woodward. Manchester City have everything in place to dominate European football for years to come whilst Woodward’s blind faith in Louis Van Gaal could leave United playing catch up.

Manchester City have been ruthless. Nobody agreed with the sacking of Mark Hughes and the treatment of Pelligrini has echoes of that that Sparky endured at the beginning of their takeover. However, what City have recognised is that the capture of Guardiola is a significant one. Pellegrini has, without doubt, been a success at City and could still end this season with four trophies. It would seem, at first glance certainly, that outing the Chilean is incredibly harsh and winning at least one of those trophies would back that fact up. However, Guardiola is worth taking that risk. United, and Woodward in particular, have once again failed by failing to act quickly.

Pellegrini has won two trophies in two seasons at City, whilst over at Old Trafford Louis Van Gaal can’t get a win over Bournemouth. The truth of the matter is that, with Louis Van Gaal in charge, United cannot expect to get anywhere near a Manchester City side with Guardiola at the helm. In truth, with Van Gaal in charge, United can’t get anywhere near a Leicester side with Claudio Ranieri in charge.

The way I see it is that United are now left with no choice. United now need to follow their neighbours lead and chase the next best thing…Jose Mourinho. I get the reasons not to appoint him, I really do. His lack of use of youth players is a real worry, and the one reason I would have picked Guardiola over him. The other reason, the one many United fans have voiced concern over, is one that I cannot get my head around. Negative football. Ok, yes, Mourinho plays a brand of football that is not particularly pleasing on the eye. However, is it any worse than what we are witnessing right now? The answer is of course no. The difference is that it is effective. LVG currently plays negative football, we all know that by now, but the end result is not one that Mourinho will achieve.

And then there is the one big fact, the one that cannot be ignored under any circumstance. Who is the only manager to stop Pep Guardiola winning a league title? You guessed it…Jose Mourinho.

Pep Guardiola Announcement Should Act As Wake Up Call

This afternoon saw confirmation of the world’s worst footballing secret as outgoing Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola stated his intention to move to England, and the Premier League, once his contract ends with the German champions this summer. The news immediately sent Twitter into a frenzy as the world debated the Spaniards next destination, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and, of course, United the front runners.

With cross-city rivals Manchester City viewed as the early favourites for Guardiola’s signature, Sky Bet make them odds on, it must surely be seen as another gaffe if United were to let this opportunity pass them by once again (remember Guardiola was available at the time of David Moyes’ appointment). Immediately, this comment will draw criticism from some quarters as being negative. In fact, it is quite the opposite, and here’s why:

Whilst many claim that it is the ‘The United Way’ to give managers time to achieve success, it is worth noting that Louis Van Gaal was never in it for the long haul. By his own admission, his intention was, and more than likely still is, to retire at the end of his contract in the summer of 2017. Three years was always going to be the most United were going to get out of their preferred choice to succeed David Moyes.

Cutting short this three year tenure to poach arguably the best club coach in the world cannot, in whichever way one spins it, be viewed upon as negative. Imagine Guardiola in charge of City, or Chelsea, with a blank cheque book at his disposal…scary isn’t it? Now imagine Guardiola in charge of United with that same blank cheque book…get it?

Guardiola is a coach which fits in with the profile of ‘The United Way’. Attacking, exciting football? Check. Promotes and believes in bringing in youth? Check. Proven track record of winning trophies at the highest level? Check.

Yes, Louis Van Gaal at least ticks two of them boxes, but it is plain to see that his best days are now behind him. Let’s think of this from a players perspective for example. Hypothetically, Lionel Messi is available and potentially wanting to join the club but it must be at the expense of a 36-year-old club legend. Would you stick or twist?

Claiming that replacing LVG with Guardiola (who, let’s not forget, has at least shown signs in the past that Old Trafford is one of his favoured future destinations) is not intended to promote any kind of hostility. No, quite the opposite. It is the sensible thing, and the right thing, to do and, if the opportunity is there, it is one that must be grasped with both hands.

Mourinho: why “the special one” is the only one

With 2015 coming to an end, it would seem that the long awaited prophecy that Jose Mourinho would one day be appointed as Manchester United manager will be fulfilled. Ever since his Porto side won at Old Trafford knocking Manchester United out of Europe in 2004, the charismatic Portuguese has looked destined to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor.

With the Red Devils struggling for form and identity under the rigid Louis Van Gaal, the personality and more importantly the track record in both England and abroad of the Special One may be exactly what Manchester United are crying out for.

With Jurgen Klopp now at Liverpool and Carlo Ancelotti going to Bayern Munich next summer the managerial merry-go-round at Europe’s leading powers has cleared up as we go into the Christmas period. Should Manchester United choose to sack Louis Van Gaal, their options are running out quickly. Why the move has not happened already is a mystery to many with the problems piling up at Manchester United like the presents under a Christmas tree – should you be so lucky.

It is true that Manchester United have the most clean sheets in the Premier League and that stat has been thrown out a lot in defence of LVG but ever since that faithful night in Wolfsburg the so called unbeatable defence has been beaten again and again. Sadly this sacrifice has not come with the award of more attacking football and goals for Manchester United fans to feast on. The feeling summed up by the fact that captain Wayne Rooney has averaged a mere 0.3 goals per game under the Dutchman. And to add insult to injury Manchester United’s brightest attacking spark this season, Anthony Martial, spent more time tracking Norwich left back Martin Olsson, than he did in the oppositions box, despite scoring a goal.

United manager Louis van Gaal's job is in danger (Source: The Guardian)
United manager Louis van Gaal’s job is in danger (Source: The Guardian)

For LVG, many of the problems have gone beyond the 90 minutes themselves and most noticeably involve team selections. From the constant switching of positions of players like Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Anthony Martial to leaving certain players out altogether, in particular Spanish speaking players, like Victor Valdes and Ander Herrera, very few would feel settled under the former Barcelona manager.

Players such as Angel Di Maria and Javier Hernandez who are now doing well at their respected clubs have made their negative feelings very clear towards Van Gaal. The other main concern many have with Van Gaal is the constant selection of Marouane Fellaini and in particular Wayne Rooney. Both have been consistently selected despite a string of poor performances in comparison to fan favourite Ander Herrera and Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin.

On the eve of Christmas and possibly Van Gaal’s most important game during his reign at Old Trafford, captain Wayne Rooney has come out in support of the manager saying “We are working hard, we are fighting with the manager to try and get the results and turn this season around.” It is clear that at least some parts of the dressing room are behind the manager. Ironically it was been widely reported that Jose Mourinho had lost the dressing room at Chelsea in recent months. So why is it a perfect fit?

Well it’s not. No manager that is still in the game can say that they, like Sir Alex, have won the Premier League, Champions League, plays attacking football and promotes youth. The one near exception being a certain, Arsene Wenger. But Jose does tick many of the boxes, most importantly a winning mentality. He has won league titles in Portugal, Spain, Italy and England. Unlike Van Gaal he has achieved this in recent years and not in the 90’s.

It has been said that Jose does not play attacking football. This is not entirely true. It is not the swash buckling football we have seen down the years at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ but it is a style based on power, pace and moving the ball up the pitch quickly. Sides like Leicester have shown this season that tika-taka, for all its worth, is not the only way of doing things in
the modern game. In fact in the season Real Madrid won La Liga under Mourinho, Real Madrid outscored Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side when they were arguably at their strongest.

Jose Mourinho celebrated winning the Premier League with Chelsea in 2015 (Source: Eurosport.com)
Jose Mourinho celebrated winning the Premier League with Chelsea in 2015 (Source: Eurosport.com)

When Mourinho is at a club that demands attacking football he can deliver. While his style at Chelsea has shown that with no pressure to play in a particular manner, he will play a defensive game, but his time at Madrid has shown that the ‘Special One’ will adapt his natural defensive philosophy. It goes without saying this is a far cry from the man he may potentially replace. Fans can only hope that Mourinho would also be willing to adapt to the idea of bringing through youth in the same way Van Gaal has. Fingers crossed the club will receive the rewards of Van Gaal giving players like McNair, Valera, Periera and many more chances in the first team. Whoever the manager may be next week, month and season.

Like Van Gaal (to a point) and Sir Alex before him, Mourinho would bring a personality to everything he does from shouting on the touch line to finding new ways of making other managers lives a misery. Mourinho is one of the villains of football but, maybe that is exactly what the red devils need to regain their fear factor. A game against Manchester United has become an opportunity that many feel they can take advantage of. As Thierry Henry recently said on Sky Sports, the big teams in England need to stand up for themselves and take control of the league. And for this, Mourinho is perfect.

If he could bring the mentality he had at his previous title winning sides to Manchester United from now to the end of the season it may actually be enough to win the league with nobody in the league currently showing any sort of consistency. The big question is will the board take that plunge?

By Diarmuid Gillingham
Follow me on Twitter: @Diarmuid_MUFC

GUEST BLOG: It’s “Glazers out” that should be trending

Back in 2005 Manchester United were a sitting duck. The ‘richest club in the world’ was snapped up by a murky opportunistic businessman known as Malcolm Glazer.

Malcolm Glazer had made a career of corporate takeovers and buying a football club from a few wealthy businessmen who were in it for the profit was as easy as pie. His world record £790m buyout was about 300p a share, a whopping 10 times more than the trading value of around 30p. An eye watering amount in the sporting world at the time but common place amongst the leverage buyout scene. Fans taking up a stake was mooted however, the amounts involved made it prohibitive.

The financing behind the deal was engineered by one Mr Edward Gareth Woodward, who was with JP Morgan. Malcolm Glazer utilised the same shock and awe tactics with his successful $192m bid for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – a record for a sports franchise at the time. Following which he put his three children in charge and they promptly saw to recouping their investment. A new stadium was constructed – paid by the taxpayers – to ensure a steady stream of cash to the Glazers.

The venture reached its zenith with the Super Bowl success in 2002. From then onwards it has been a yo-yo season, one after another for the Buccaneers with insignificant success. If the Glazer family are unable to dominate a sport familiar to them through a club in their home state how do you expect them to replicate success across the Atlantic with the biggest sporting team on the planet?

The investment made to purchase Manchester United PLC was more than the total wealth of the Glazer family at the time. The loans taken by the Glazers were to be transferred to and repaid by Manchester United. WTF right? Such is the world of Investment Banking; where money talks, while morals and ethics are unusual.

Promptly after the takeover we went from signing the best young talent in England for a record price to signing Park Ji Sung and Edwin van der Sar for peanuts. Although interestingly, these thrifty signings along with Evra and Vidic in January were perhaps the most astute signings under Fergie and Gill. They were the cornerstone of the successes to come. Fast forward to the final few years of the Fergie era.

Young talent after young talent were snapped up by the nouveau riche and other better managed clubs. We failed to identify needs of certain attributes which were lacking in the squad. Most fans were aware of the dearth of quality in the midfield department yet we persisted. This poor squad management was made obscure by Fergie’s mastery epitomised by the signing of a hungry Robin van Persie to fire him to his swansong title.

The departure of Gill meant the investment banker (Woodward), who in an interview at the start of the season, came across as someone who knows little about football let alone being passionate about Manchester United would be in charge. From securing signings, hiring management, managing the club except on the pitch, youth set up, the commercial side, everything really. He is the overlord at MUFC. The Glazers were indebted to him for his scheming during the buyout. The Glazers have exclusively dealt with him even when David Gill was in charge.

The appointment of David Moyes was commonly attributed as a goodbye gift to SAF, however in a company the CEO would have the final say and that man is Ed Woodward. After handing the reigns to him any chance of continued success diminished when he removed Rene Meulensteen and Mike Phelan and replaced them with his own people. Manchester United should not have allowed that. It was equivalent to culling that Goose in Aesop’s Fables. These men were crucial to on field tactics and training ground work.

Rene Meulensteen was relieved of his duties when David Moyes took charge (Source: 101goals.com)
Rene Meulensteen was relieved of his duties when David Moyes took charge (Source: 101goals.com)

Compounding this was the atrocious transfer market activity. One of the first things done by David Moyes was to tweak the scouting system. Years of lackadaisical work and Fergie power had probably led to a limp team involved in identifying talent, yet Ed has his team were clueless to it. This culminated in the signings of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata. In a squad that lacked a proper midfield, pace and had an aging defence. We sign two players who solve nothing.

What about the botched signing of Ander Herrera? Dealing with a club that is known to only sell their players when their buyout clause is met. Clearly illustrated by the well-publicised sale of Javi Martinez! Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani getting exorbitant new contracts. The fruitless pursuit of the best players in the world seem to characterise Ed Woodward.

Enter Louis van Gaal. One of the best coaches in world football. Perhaps on the decline but his fundamental work almost ensures an easier job for his successor. Probably the best thing Ed Woodward has done for the club football wise. Woodward pushed through the signing of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw and communicated it to LVG prior to sealing the deal. LVG is a coach more than anything. His time at Ajax Amsterdam, FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich meant he didn’t have Fergie like power in making signings. He had an influence perhaps but these are these are three of the best managed clubs around. They do their homework and have excellent youth and scouting systems in place.

Manchester United meanwhile has a stuttering youth development program and a scouting and deal execution team which signed two unnecessary players at exorbitant rates. LVG goes on to sign Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and controversially, Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao. The latter both having an agent who has healthily enriched himself from MUFC since the Cristiano Ronaldo deal – Jorge Mendes. You put super-agent Mendes and clueless Ed Woodward on the negotiation table you know who is coming out on top. Falcao wanted out of A.S. Monaco and a move to Real and Jorge granted him his wish. PSG and di Maria wanted each other and Mendes used MUFC and naive Ed to get the deal done. This is a man on the top of his game.

It would seem that LVG had ordered signings of Blind and Rojo based on the World Cup in Brazil. Both players shone however Rojo was not too sparkly outside the World Cup. That is the job of the scouting team to gauge compatibility of the players to the team. On the field RVP still seemed bemused and Chicharito was not involved in the game enough for LVG and both players were rightly gone by the end of the season. Performances were mixed but demolition jobs on Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool F.C. seemed to be a hopeful sign of things to come. I would like to include Trasfermarkt.co.uk stats on spending as well. It shows £136.75m spent and £34.76m recouped, giving a net spend of £101.99m. A whole lot of dough for fourth place in the league.

Season 2 under LVG. The previous campaign showed us among other things that the squad needed pace upfront, Rooney a fast fading force, Smalling and Jones as injury prone as they have been throughout their tenures, de Gea not signing a contract extension, Falcao and Di Maria huge flops on the pitch, the midfield needing steel, a lack of physicality on the field through the lack of speed, athleticism and power being noticeable. LVG probably handed Ed a list of players he felt the squad would be better off without.

Angel Di Maria struggled with life at United and was sold to PSG (Source: caughtoffside.com)
Angel Di Maria struggled with life at United and was sold to PSG (Source: caughtoffside.com)
MUFC makes prompt signings of Depay, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, and Darmian. All great signings on paper, Midfield steel, check. Winning mentality in Bastian and Depay who also brought with him pace, shooting ability as well as being a set piece threat. Darmian is Italy’s first choice fullback and is equally comfortable at right back and left back. Then after a decent pre-season, the club decides to get rid of the excess players. Selling prior to buying is like showing your hand in poker. Deals to purchase replacements were clearly not in place. Then we go on another round of Ed Woodward’s hapless pursuit of unlikely signings such as Sergio Ramos and Thomas Muller.

The consensus was that we still needed another striker, a pacey winger who hugs the touchline and definitely a solid centre back or two. The transfer market closed with the ‘expected’ failure for MUFC to sign any of those ‘unsignable’ players Ed craves but, we were somewhat placated by signing the young talent that is Anthony Martial albeit for an absurd amount of money. There were ample young talent out there to fill gaps however we seemed only interested in those superstars of world football. Fergie once said the best signings are those under 24 and rightly so. They can grow in the club ethos and improve. We seem to have strayed from that.

We made a decent start to the season although the first two defeats were the first time I have seen LVG outfoxed tactically both by Gary Monk through Ayew exploiting the space in the left channel left vacant by Shaw and by Santi Carzola luring Bastian out of position. The Arsenal game was an omen of what was to come. One chance one goal.

When the two CMs are not protecting our defence they seem to be not able to stop anything. As much as he has improved, Smalling is still not a dominant defender. A proper CB needs to boss his duels. For someone 194cm tall he still lost 35% of his aerial duels and is often overpowered by forwards most recently by Cameron Jerome down United’s left which led to him scoring a goal. Winning duels is chief to winning games. Dominating the air ala Vidic shreds the confidence of opponents. The same with winning tackles and dribbling past defenders. It breeds doubt in opponents and creates confidence in our team. That is something that we lack in our squad right now. The Fergie legacy players – Rooney, Carrick, Young and Valencia – supposedly able to continue the assiduity of dominance have failed us and the Ed Woodward-Moyes signings are proving a hindrance to LVG.

The bottom line is a lot of the blame for what is happening on the pitch is down to the club and how it is run. The Glazers who are only interested to profit from the club are well represented in the sense that we are more than decent in increasing revenue, disinterested in investing in Stadia and our youth set up, little interest in clearing the debt, raising funds on the stock market which go straight into Glazer pockets.

MUFC is a cash cow and that’s how the Glazers would like to keep it. Top four and a few games in the cups are sufficient for the Glazers. They are not bothered about the legacy of Manchester United only the flow of funds into their pockets. The worst thing I’ve heard from MUFC fans is that the Glazers need to open their cheque book to sign players. Hello? We make money, enough to sign Gareth Bale every season and a few duds. Look at our balance sheets. We make money, pay the Glazers to sit on our board, pay the Glazers loans and pay the interest on those loans. It’s all funds generated by Manchester United. Ed Woodward himself said selling the ‘United’ brand is like selling diamonds.

Replacing LVG is not going to lead to success when the fundamentals of the club are wrong. A new manager is going to face the same hurdles faced by LVG, Moyes and Fergie. The moment the Glazers came in they’ve shaken things up negatively. A winning team needs to be ahead of the curb, always looking to improve and to innovate. Young players, the best sports science is sport, the best scouting, the best people to seal the deal, the best commercial arm, the most socially responsible club. That should be the hallmarks of this great club. We are dithering and that is causing our rivals to streak ahead.

The Glazers are building a castle on sand. They couldn’t be bothered. Realistically we can’t boot them out and they won’t be going anytime soon. Nonetheless, we cannot be ignorant to these facts. We need to let these people know that we are aware of their exploitation of our beloved club. We need some sort of civilised disobedience – #GlazersOUT trending instead of #LVGOut, banners and online chatter ridiculing these opportunistic thieves, effigies of the Glazers and their banker boy pawn Ed Woodward in and around Old Trafford.

What for you might ask? They need to know that we know their deceptive tricks. Focusing hate on LVG doesn’t change that. Focusing hate on Rooney, Fellaini, Memphis et al. doesn’t do anything apart from erode what little confidence that they have left. Continuous hate on the Glazers could possibly lead to them giving in to more serious involvement to the footballing side of the football club.

United fans show their feelings toward the Glazers (Source: BBC.co.uk)
United fans show their feelings toward the Glazers (Source: BBC.co.uk)

Running a club is not rocket science, if you allocate the right amount of funds to the right sections of the club we can easily regain our place at the zenith of football. There is so much money in football that I see it as impossible for us not to return to dominance and line the Glazers pockets at the same time. The Glazers are imperturbable because most fans don’t care and don’t know the real reason behind our decline which began as a club on March 2003, when Malcolm Glazer bought 2.9% of MUFC Plc. Since then he has done nothing except shackle the club while our competition takes to the skies. Remember Love United, Hate the Glazers.

– By Casey Baumer

Stoke City 2-0 Man United | Match report

Man United suffer their fourth consecutive defeat as they slump to a 2-0 loss away at Stoke City.

It was all Stoke in the first half as they dominated possession and played with intent, continuously playing the ball into the forwards and putting Man United on the back foot.

Stoke’s Bojan opened the scoring in the 19th minute after a poor back pass from Memphis fell to Glen Johnson. The former Liverpool right back pulled a cross back to Bojan near the penalty spot who slotted the ball past David de Gea.

The Potters doubled their lead just 7 minutes later. A Bojan free kick was deflected by the Man United wall and the loose ball fell to Arnautovic who drilled the ball into the United goal from outside the box.

In the 36th minute, Arnautovic had a golden chance to put Stoke 3-0 up when he found himself one-on-one with David de Gea but he dragged his shot just wide of the post.

The half time break saw the introduction of Man United’s Wayne Rooney. The substitution seemed to lift United and give them a little more bite but they could only manage one real goal scoring opportunity.

In the 64th minute, Fellaini had a chance to pull a goal back for the visitors. From the right hand side of the Stoke box, Wayne Rooney hit a ball across the 6 yard box which fell to the Belgian’s feet. With only the keeper to beat, his first time shot was too weak and Jack Butland was able to get down and gather the ball easily.

United manager Louis van Gaal cannot watch as his team are beaten 2-0 by Stoke (Source: The Guardian)
United manager Louis van Gaal cannot watch as his team are beaten 2-0 by Stoke (Source: The Guardian)

Man United are now without a win in 5 Premier League games and the loss against Stoke means that the red devils slip down to 6th in the league. They could end the day in 7th if Watford win away at Chelsea this afternoon.

Man United slip to 6th in the Premier League (Source: BBC Football)
Man United slip to 6th in the Premier League (Source: BBC Football)

What did you think about the game? Did the players give all they had to relieve the pressure on Louis van Gaal? Were Stoke simply too good? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments sections below.

You can also watch the Man United V West Ham match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Stoke City Team Sheet

01 Butland
08 Johnson
17 Shawcross
26 Wollscheid
03 Pieters
20 Cameron (Adam – 75′)
06 Whelan (Van Ginkel – 45′)
22 Shaqiri (Diouf – 65′)
14 Afellay
10 Arnautovic
27 Krkic

Substitutes

11 Joselu
12 Wilson
15 Van Ginkel
16 Adam
18 Diouf
19 Walters
29 Haugaard

Man United Team Sheet

01 de Gea
18 Young
04 Jones
12 Smalling
17 Blind
16 Carrick
21 Herrera (Pereira – 82′)
08 Mata
27 Fellaini
07 Depay (Rooney – 45′)
09 Martial

Substitutes

10 Rooney
20 Romero
28 Schneiderlin
30 Varela
33 McNair
43 Borthwick-Jackson
44 Pereira

Louis van Gaal bows to player pressure

Louis van Gaal bows to player pressure in a bid to save his job as Man United manager.

At the start of this week a meeting was held between United boss, Louis van Gaal and senior players such as club captain Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata.

Although the boss still has the full support of his players, he has realised that a change is desperately needed after a string of poor performances and results have led to him being in danger of losing his job.

In an attempt to turn things around, Louis van Gaal had allowed the players to set their own Christmas training schedule. Instead of the players attending the Carrington training base between 1pm and 5pm as planned, the players trained in the morning and spent the afternoon with their families.

Strict meal conditions and meal times have also been relaxed, allowing players to sit where they like and eat at times that suit them.

It is also understood that the players are not about to throw the towel in against Stoke in a bid to have the manager sacked, something we have seen recently at Chelsea. The players are thought to be impressed with the way van Gaal has handled himself amidst all the talk in the media regarding his future.

The players were also impressed with van Gaal’s Christmas speech and admired his decision to leave the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

It’s a different story with the fans though with the majority not happy with the manager and desperately seeking a replacement.

If you would like to read the full article, please visit the Daily Mail website here.

It’s all good relaxing a few rules at the training ground to raise a little morale, but will these changes have any affect on how the players perform on the pitch? After all, it is on the pitch that games are won and points obtained. We would love to hear what you think. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Van Gaal is a Dead Man Walking

Van Gaal is a Dead Man Walking

Amongst the boos and jeers at Old Trafford following the shambolic defeat to Norwich, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This was the day that Louis van Gaal lost the majority of supporters who are still baffled as to what his famous “philosophy” actually is.

The body language the Dutchman displayed as he made his exit from the pitch suggests he knows he’s a dead man walking.

To grant him more time to turn things around would be ludicrous, simply because there have been no signs of a big improvement since the days that David Moyes was sat at the helm with his Manchester United mouse mat, and he didn’t spend £250m.

Out of the top 4, out of the Champions League, out of the Capital One cup, why continue to let the rot set in? It makes no sense at all? Some climb above their high horse and claim he needs time?

Others say we’re not a sacking club and point to the time it took for Sir Alex to turn things around. The wonky nosed Dutchman is halfway through a 3 year contract that he has no intention of extending, thankfully! So why back him financially again when he’ll be gone after next season?

Some spout about us requiring a manager with longevity, someone to build a dynasty, basically, another Sir Alex Ferguson. Stop living in the past, football has changed. All the top European sides change their manager to freshen up the ideas of team. We were lucky that we had a manager who spoilt us for 26 years. Ultimately it’s a results industry, and if you’re not succeeding, you’re gone, that’s just the nature of the beast that is modern day football.

Louis van Gaal’s is a dinosaur, his methods and brand of football is outdated, he has failed miserably at Old Trafford after blowing £250m on new recruits. No other manager would get away with this in top flight football.

The timing of this disastrous and embarrassing run of results couldn’t have come at a better time, following the Russian crooks decision to hand Jose Mourinho his P45. Mourinho has already stated he has no intention of taking a break from football, a wounded Jose could be just the tonic.

Mourinho’s obsession with Old Trafford could be the key. The fact he would bring confidence, an ego, and a CV showing he wins trophies makes it a match made in heaven.

Questions will be asked about his failure to promote youth from within, but you get the impression that given the job, he’d adapt to this, he’d know what the club and supporters would expect of him and I believe he would respect and honour this tradition.

He could be the closest thing to Sir Alex Ferguson, the way he deals with the press, that “it’s us against the world” mentality, that ability to piss off every other rival manager and get under their skin. Mourinho would make us hated again, but never ignored.

A criticism of Lois van Gaal has been his inability to get off his arse during games, he doesn’t lead the team from the sidelines or bark instructions, you’d get the complete opposite with Mourinho. I recall the time he put his finger to his lips against Liverpool celebrating a goal that Chelsea had scored, what’s not to like about that kind of carry on?

Stick with Louis van Gaal and run the risk of finishing outside the top 4? No thanks. Appoint Mourinho and with the players actually playing for him and willing to impress, we could get ourselves back into a title charge. That’s the Mourinho effect, he would relish the job and the supporters would take to him. Rival fans see him as a bit of a twat, but he’d be our twat.

@KevinAshford7

Man United 1-2 Norwich | Match report

Man United slip out of top four after suffering second consecutive league defeat at the hands of Norwich City.

Despite a positive start from Man United, controlling the game, attacking; they were once again unable to come away with three points thanks to goals from Norwich’s Cameron Jerome and Alex Tettey, either side of the break.

The first goal came in the 37th minute following a Norwich counter attack. Jerome shook off advances from Michael Carrick in the United box and fired home past David de Gea to put the Canaries 1-0 up.

Shortly after the break, following a mix-up in the United midfield, Tettey doubled the visitor’s lead after driving the ball into the bottom left corner leaving David de Gea stood rooted to the ground.

Alex Tettey strikes to double the visitors lead against Man United (Source: Mirror)
Alex Tettey strikes to double the visitors lead against Man United (Source: Mirror)

Man United fought back and found their way back into the game on the 65th minute when an Ashley Young cross fell to Anthony Martial in the box. The French international battled past two Norwich defenders to power the ball into the roof of the net. But the goal wasn’t enough to inspire Man United to stage a fantastic come back.

During the first half, United had several attempts at taking the lead. However, none of them really caused Norwich any problems.

Captain Wayne Rooney did, however, have a goal disallowed in the 9th minute due to the flag being raised signalling that Fellaini, who played the ball to Rooney, was offside.

In the 23rd minute, Rooney played a one-two with Juan Mata and on the return pass the Man United veteran fired a shot at the Norwich goal but it was deflected out for a corner.

Anthony Martial pulls one back for Man United (Source: Mirror)
Anthony Martial pulls one back for Man United (Source: Mirror)

Late on in the second half both teams had chances to score. Man United could have equalised in the 78th minute if not for a Mata free kick being saved by Rudd and in the 83rd minute Norwich had a shot at goal bringing a save out of de Gea who was at full stretch.

Man United have now only won two out of their last eight league games allowing the teams above them to pull away and teams below to catch up.

These are worrying times not just for the fans but also for the club. If thing’s don’t improve, Man United may not only miss out on a title challenge, but also on a top four Champions League spot.

The loss means that Man United slip down to fifth with Tottenham Hotspur moving up into fourth.

Man United drop to 5th after loss at home to Norwich (Source: BBC Football)
Man United drop to 5th after loss at home to Norwich (Source: BBC Football)

What did you think of the game? Do you feel it’s time for the manager to move on? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

You can also watch the Man United V West Ham match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Man United Team Sheet

01 de Gea
18 Young
04 Jones
12 Smalling
17 Blind
16 Carrick
27 Fellaini (Herrera – 60′)
09 Martial
08 Mata
07 Depay
10 Rooney

Substitutes

20 Romero
21 Herrera
28 Schneiderlin
30 Varela
33 McNair
43 Borthwick-Jackson
44 Pereira

Norwich City Team Sheet

13 Rudd
05 Martin
24 R Bennett
06 Bassong
23 Olsson
28 O’Neil (Mulumbu – 82′)
27 Tettey
22 Redmond
14 Hoolahan (Howson – 66′)
12 Brady
10 Jerome (Mbokani Bezua – 82′)

Substitutes

01 Ruddy
02 Whittaker
08 Howson
09 Mbokani Bezua
18 Dorrans
21 Mulumbu
32 Odjidja-Ofoe