Tag Archives: Manchester United

Guardiola Above The Law While Mourinho Suffers

Pep Guardiola is the media’s darling. Exciting football, calm persona, managed some of the biggest clubs in the world and has been kind enough of to come and manage in England. What’s not to like?

Jose Mourinho on the other hand? Arrogant, rude, negative and someone the media thrive on antagonising and demeaning.

Is it right? Is it fair? Of course it isn’t. And Manchester City’s loss to Wigan in the FA Cup just emphasises that fact. Guardiola was petulant at best, acting aggressively on the touchline after Fabian Delph was quite rightly red carded, then continuing that aggression in the tunnel afterwards as he attempted to goad the Wigan manager. Will the FA take any action? It’s doubtful. Would they if it had been Jose Mourinho acting like that? Too right they would.

Mourinho has already been dealt with twice by the authorities in recent times. Once for kicking a water bottle, and twice for literally stepping out of line, as he encroached on the pitch from his technical area. So Mourinho could be forgiven for thinking he is treated differently to Guardiola. The issue is will it change?

Well in defence of Guardiola, whether he’s banned or the media are biased towards him or not it doesn’t change the fact that his team are 16 points clear of Manchester United and it’s only the middle of February. Guardiola, armed with an open chequebook it has to be said because the media won’t, has swept all before him in the league this season and as controller of that chequebook he deserves some credit.

The constant Pep lovein has reached nauseating levels throughout the last few months though. From as early as October we’ve had the media and pundits telling anyone who’s listened that this City side is the best the Premier League has ever produced, which is funny because in previous years we’ve all been well drilled in the saying that the best sides are judged in the runin between Christmas and May….

Of course anyone with a brain always knew this Man City side wasn’t close to being compared to the best of years gone by, and the prove has been in the pudding. This City won’t be “Invicibles” and they won’t be “Treble Winners”. And even if they do go on to win the Champions League, Premier League and League Cup, they’re still not as good as United’s 08 side – who would have been treble winners if it wasn’t for a dodgy referee in the FA Cup match against Bournemouth.

Man City are a decent side and Pep has done a good job. But the way the media hold him up like some sort of miracle worker is becoming tiresome and biased. Miracles happen when water is turned in to wine, miracles don’t happen when a manager is given an unlimited funds and wins the league. And it’s about time the media in general started acting a little bit more fairly with other clubs and viewers.

Why Ander Herrera is Man United’s Forgotten Man

Voted Manchester United’s player of the year last season, the fall from grace of Ander Herrera this season has been one that some Man United fans have found hard to fathom? Herrera has endured a mixed career at United, criminally underused by Van Gaal, to first name on the sheet for Mourinho last season, to forgotten man this season. So what’s gone wrong with Herrera? And why is he suddenly such a divisive figure amongst United fans?

The big positive with Herrera is he gets the importance of wearing a Manchester United shirt. In a sentence he gets what Manchester United is all about. Passion, intensity, drive and an appetite to win and play fast football. Herrera at his best is quick across the ground, hard in to the tackle, and has an eye for a defence splitting pass from deep. Not to mention a very good cross when he finds himself out wide on the right. Reading that back, he’s exactly what Manchester United currently need to complete a balanced midfield three with Pogba and Matic.

Jose Mourinho has been reluctant to use Herrera this season though. An ever present last season many predicted that the arrival of Matic would see United move to a more dynamic midfield three, with Pogba free to express his game on the left hand side, Matic holding things centrally from deep, and Herrera the tenacious box to box midfielder on the right with a bit of everything to his game. It’s a combination, that sat here in mid February with Mourinho’s midfield a laughing stock, makes total sense. The question is why has Mourinho ignored it for six months? Or more to the point, why has he ignored Herrera?

Amazingly, Herrera didn’t make his first Premier league start until mid September. Benched throughout the start of the campaign in August, Herrera went from Mourinho’s most trusted player to a bit part bench player. Mourinho wanted to utilise the now exposed and defunct 4231 formation and Matic and Pogba were the 2 Mourinho wanted to use. By the time Mourinho did turn to Herrera it was evident to everyone that Herrera was no longer the player of last season. The dynamism had given way to sluggishness and an odd reluctance to play a forward pass. In short Ander Herrera was no longer the player United fans loved.

With that came the usual, but somewhat unexpected and shortsighted, criticism of Herrera. “Sell him” “He’s useless” were just some of the comments flying around the United fan community, and a player that only a few short months ago had been fundamental to United’s season was suddenly on the scrapheap.

The question still remains why? What has caused Herrera to go from that exciting wears his heart on the sleeve player to one that looks lost on a football pitch? When you look back over the season, even when Pogba was out injured Mourinho regularly opted for Fellaini over Herrera. Limited Fellaini over Herrera who at his best optimises what United should be about! With Mourinho ignoring Herrera’s talents so consistently there can only be one conclusion. Over the summer something happened between Mourinho and Herrera that destroyed their great relationship of last season.

Some say Herrera wanted a move and Mourinho refused it. Others say it’s because Herrera won’t commit to a long term contract and is running it down so he can go for nothing. Both points would lean towards Mourinho being right and refusing to use a player who isn’t committed to the club. The only issue with that is that whenever Herrera has played for United it’s very clear that he loves the place and is totally committed. So what else could be the issue? Could it be as simple as Mourinho decided he wanted to go down a different direction? That he didn’t like the speed and dynamism of Herrera’s midfield play and he wanted taller more simple players like Matic and Fellaini in there? His selections over the season and introduction of another of those types of players in McTominay would add credence to that theory.

Whatever the reason, Herrera is no longer the player he was and that’s a big shame for Manchester United. A midfield three of Pogba, Matic and Herrera at his best would provide United with the perfect balance as they approach the most important part of their season.

Mourinho’s BIG Obsession Continues To Fail

Jose Mourinho has an obsession with height. In Matic, Fellaini and McTominay he boasts the three tallest midfielders in the Premier League at 6 foot 4. And it doesn’t end there. Paul Pogba is 6 foot three, Michael Carrick 6 foot 2, and Ander Herrera is no shrinking violet at 6 foot. So why is Mourinho so obsessed with height and is it one of his biggest – pardon the pun – weaknesses?

The short answer – done it again – is yes. Such a strange height obsession is a weakness when the tactics implemented are for a club with the traditions of Manchester United. Manchester United are a club intrinsically linked with fast attacking football and whilst it may be stereotypical, tall players tend to be slow and not as good on the ball as their smaller counterparts.

In fairness, Paul Pogba is an exception to that rule. At 6 foot 3 he’s fast, athletic and displays brilliant close ball control that allows him to dribble and move the ball very quickly. In Paul Pogba, Mourinho has the perfect example of height and the required ability to implement whatever system he’s trying to inflict on Manchester United at the moment. A system that is still up for debate and confusion.

However, in Fellaini, Matic and McTominay, the three tallest midfielders in the league, Mourinho doesn’t have players who are fast or good on the ball. Good players in their own right, they don’t obviously fit the mantra of fast flowing football United fans want to see. Time and time again this season they are bypassed by smaller quicker players who can move the ball, and themselves, quickly between the midfield lines. Time and time again the ball from midfield to attack has been so pedestrian that by the time flair players like Martial and Sanchez get the ball they’re facing an opposition that isn’t stretched and has themselves well organised.

So why does Mourinho stick with this approach? What is the advantage of playing giant midfielders who slow down the play?

Physicality for one. Mourinho likes his team to be physical and there can be no doubting that Fellaini and Matic especially are more than capable of facing up to a physical contest. But what else do they bring? Aerial dominance? You’d think being the tallest midfielders in the league this would be their biggest asset and the sole reason Mourinho loves height so much. Weirdly it’s a false dawn.

Aerial dominance is what Mourinho appears to be going for with his midfielders but the areas this is utilised isn’t where Manchester United fans would even consider warming to this long ball approach – the oppositions penalty box. Manchester United rarely score from corners for one. So this height advantage Fellaini and Matic bring is redundant. Not to mention Pogba, Lukaku at 6 foot 3 and Chris Smalling at 6 foot 4. It’s bordering on inept that Manchester United have such a massive – done it again – height advantage yet they’re so poor at scoring headers.

So if Mourinho is picking all this height and it’s not for scoring goals what’s it for? You got it! Defence.

Mourinho loves the defensive side of football. And with tall midfielders stood in front of his tall centre backs he knows that any team that wants to throw longs balls in to his box is going to struggle to make an impact. Which in theory totally nullifies a way the opposition can attack his team. Of course it totally blunts Manchester United’s midfield as a fast dynamic midfield but when your focus is on not conceding goals fast attacking footballing isn’t the priority.

So there you have it! Mourinho’s height obsession explained. Is it one you agree with? Is it actually that effective? Join the discussion on our YouTube channel where we discuss more about United’s current style of play and whether Mourinho will ever change

Pogba Unhappy at Manchester United!

Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United and is contemplating his future after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, according to many reports this morning.

Pogba’s issues allegedly lie around being forced to play in a midfield two and the lack of freedom he now has due to Sanchez being given a free role ahead of him. There’s also mention of Pogba being disgruntled because he feels the team should be built round him and not Sanchez.

Of course the likelihood is that all, or most, of the above is paper talk. Any chance the press get to undermine Manchester United and Jose Mourinho they’ll take it and this Pogba story certainly has that feel to it.

Pogba does operate better on the left side of a midfield three but the fact is Manchester United don’t currently have the players to fit that system. Matic and Pogba are head an shoulders United’s best two midfield options at the moment and until Mourinho strengthens his midfield in the summer Pogba will have to do his bit for the team and work in a midfield two. He certainly has the attributes to do it and as a player who’s been handed the captaincy on occasion this season, he needs to take on that leadership responsibility and work for the team not himself.

As for Alexis Sanchez’s arrival. Pogba will know bringing Sanchez to Manchester United massively increases his chances of playing in a successful side and displaying his true talent. There’s a world of difference in passing the ball and working with Sanchez than there is with a Lingard or Fellaini and Pogba won’t be petty enough to let wages and vanity get in the way of that.

Sanchez is a player with a winning mentality who visibly puts 100% in to every game and that’s been evidenced in the games he’s played for United so far. If Pogba is looking for ways to improve his current poor form a quick look at how Sanchez applies himself every game and keeps his head up even when things are going wrong wouldn’t be a bad start for Pogba.

These players need to remember, it’s not about the name on the back of the shirt, it’s about the badge on the front.

Get More on the Pogba Situation here

Mourinho Pressure Increases After Champions League Nightmare

The pressure on Jose Mourinho to bring a more entertaining brand of football to Manchester United has increased dramatically over the last few days, despite Mourinho’s Man United not even playing.

Impressive results from Tottenham against Turin, Man City against Basel and Liverpool vs Porto, wouldn’t normally be anything more than a minor annoyance to Manchester United fans. However, the method in which those three sides obtained those results has left many Man United fans frustrated. Seeing your rivals win is one thing, seeing them win and playing infinitely better than your side is another.

The reality is, like last season, Manchester United have hit the business end of the season and the football has suddenly become lethargic, slow and results orientated. There has been glimpses of fast flowing football under Mourinho this season but all that seems a distant memory as Mourinho bunkers down to grind out the results in the way only Mourinho can.

As stated above, this should not come as a surprise to those who have monitored Jose Mourinho’s career. More progressive football up until Christmas traditionally makes way for a defensive focused second half of the season where Mourinho looks to conserve energy and grind out those one nil wins. Exactly the same thing happened in the second half of the season Mourinho’s Chelsea won the league and it’s happened numerous times throughout his illustrious career.

The question is can Manchester United fans stomach that sort of playing style when their big rivals Liverpool and Man City are playing such an entertaining and fast brand of football? The answer is an emphatic no!

It’s one thing to be grinding out boring results when you’re challenging for the Premier League title but when you’re 16 points adrift of the scintillating football Man City are playing Mourinho’s dogged football becomes even more irritating. Can he change it? Yes. Will he change it? Probably not. One of Mourinho’s great strengths and weaknesses is his stubbornness in the face of popular opinion. And in the past it was the success he had by going against the grain that afforded him the well earned title of “The Special One”. But in recent times those controversial decisions have gone a little wayward but the stubbornness remains.

Manchester United fans may well demand more entertaining football, the press may continue to undermine Mourinho and say his brand of football belongs in the past, the pressure may increase on Mourinho. But he won’t change. Because Mourinho is the man who motivates himself by proving people wrong.

Can he do it? If the results improve and he wins more trophies he can.

Whatever happens it’s going to be an interesting few months between now and May finding out.

Mauro Icardi to Manchester United?

Mauro Icardi could sign for Manchester United this summer according to the Guardian.

Inter Milan are desperately trying to pin Icardi down to a new contract but fear the spending power of a Manchester United or Real Madrid could be too much for Icardi to resist. Added in to that Icardi also has a 90 million Euro release clause that comes in to play in July. When that clause was originally set it was seen as massively prohibitive to any club who came looking at Icardi. But with prices escalating as they have over the last 18 months, 90 million Euro for one of the world’s best forwards would be a bargain.

Turning 25 in the next few days, Icardi is at the peak of his powers and is about to enter his prime years.  Already this season he has 18 goals in 24 games and his speed, intelligence and tenacity would be a perfect fit for the Premier League.

Icardi’s wife acts as his agent but the Guardian report that Mino Raiola, the agent who has brought Zlatan, Pogba, Mkhitaryan and Lukaku to Manchester United in the last 18 months alone, is looking to broker the deal. If that is the case then Icardi could be wearing a United shirt sooner than anyone expected.

Fellaini to Leave Manchester United This Summer?

Marouane Fellaini has agreed to join Besiktas this summer according to reports from Turkey. The BBC Gossip page reports that “Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has agreed a deal to join Besiktas at the end of the season. The Belgium international, 30, is out of contract at the end of the season and could leave on a free transfer.”

Whether Fellaini’s departure would be celebrated by Manchester United fans remains to be seen? Fellaini was David Moyes first signing and to many fans Fellaini is seen as a symbol of what Manchester United have become since the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson – slow, unimaginative, and ultimately not good enough for a side that should be winning titles.

Regardless of what United fans think though, Jose Mourinho is a huge fan of Fellaini – Not once in his tenure has Fellaini been the victim of one of Mourinho’s famous outbursts – and Mourinho will take Fellaini’s departure hard. Which in itself makes Fellaini’s leaving even more remarkable. To walk away from the biggest club in the world with a manager that’s spent months begging you to stay is quite a statement.

So why would Fellaini leave United? Well maybe that was his plan all along? If rumours are to believed an offer of a new contract has been on the table for months and Mourinho has been eager for Fellaini to sign. But at 30 years of age and out of contract the financial packages on offer to Fellaini from abroad are probably way more than United can offer.

If he does go it will be a huge kick in the teeth for Mourinho. For Fellaini to turn his back on Mourinho and United for money abroad after Mourinho has gone against many fans wishes and begged Fellaini to stay will be a big defeat for Jose.

Mourinho Wants Toby Alderweireld Deal

Manchester United want Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld according to latest reports. But is Alderweireld what United really need?

A tall, strong, combatitive centre back who is good on the ball is exactly what United need and Toby Alderweireld certainly fits that billing and more. Arguably the best centre back in the Premier League currently it would be a very naive Manchester United fan to say they’d be happier with Jones, Smalling and Lindelof. Plus the prospect of an Eric Bailly and Alderweireld centre back pairing has the look of something that could easily develop in to the next Bruce and Pallister or Ferdinand and Vidic.

But there is a big downside to any Alderweireld deal that makes it highly unlikely to happen.

For one, Spurs have been reluctant to do any business with Manchester United since they sold us Berbatov nearly ten years ago. Admittedly at some point that stance will have to change but as of now it’s a big obstacle.

More important is Alderweireld’s contract situation. His contract expires in the summer of 2019, however it does have a year extension option for Tottenham that would take the deal to 2020, two and a half years away. Interestingly there is a rumoured clause in the contract that allows Alderweireld to leave Tottenham in the summer of 2019 if an offer of 25 million comes in though. And 25 million for a player of his quality is a huge bargain.

The issue United have is two fold. To secure that bargain they’d have to wait 18 months. 18 months is too long in football. So there only other option is to try and deal with Spurs this summer. Which for the reasons stated above would be extremely difficult. Liverpool paying 75 million for Van Dijk won’t have helped the situation either so if United want Alderweireld they’ll be lucky to get any change out of 80 million. And here’s the killer. Alderweireld is 29 next month. As good as he is, is he really worth 80 million at 29? And if United wait 18 months to get him for 25 million he’ll be 30.

It’s an interesting one and I certainly wouldn’t rule out Toby Alderweireld signing for Manchester United. But when all the above is taken in to account it may not be the best deal for United right now.

Man Utd battling with rivals for Christian Pulisic

Manchester United are monitoring the situation of Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic as manager Jose Mourinho ponders a move for the American in the summer, according to a report on the Daily Mail.

Pulisic has made a name for himself in the German Bundesliga by putting in some phenomenal performances which have seen his value increase drastically.

United are willing to challenge fellow Premier League club Liverpool for the youngster as well as Bayern Munich, who are also interested in securing his services.

Christian Pulisic is wanted by a number of clubs. (picture: goal.com)
Christian Pulisic is wanted by a number of clubs. (picture: goal.com)

If United are to submit an offer, it is likely to be in the region of £40m but Dortmund are keen to keep hold of the 19-year-old.

However, with the signing of Alexis Sanchez, United have incredible depth in attack so it may be difficult to fit Pulisic into the team. Pulisic currently has a contract with Dortmund until 2020 and the German club are eager to get him to extend his deal.

Pulisic has played 81 times for the German club and has managed to find the back of the net 11 times. He is well-known for his ball control and dribbling, as well as his lightning pace on the counter-attack.

Should United submit a bid for him?

Would you like to see him at United?

Let us know in the comments below and on social media!

 

Mourinho Too Harsh on Pogba and Martial

Manchester United fans felt Jose Mourinho was too harsh on Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial after the win over Huddersfield.

Mourinho decided to drop Pogba and Martial amongst others for the Huddersfield game after the disappointing Wembley loss to Tottenham on Wednesday night. And whilst many Manchester United fans felt the dropping of Phil Jones and Ashley Young was justified, leaving out Pogba and Martial was seen as a step too far and led to some unhappy opinions outside the ground after the game.

See what the fans outside Old Trafford had to say here