Tag Archives: Premier League

It’s only Fulham…

“It’s only Fulham”

It was inevitable really. Lose and further fuel would’ve been added to the rumblings to remove Mourinho from the post of Manchester United manager. A draw would’ve returned the same result. Scrape a win and it would’ve been unacceptable. Batter them and ‘it’s only Fulham’. Continue reading It’s only Fulham…

What is going on??

Those of you that follow me (not many I know) will know that I have been very much in the ‘Mourinho-In’ camp for some time. Whilst many, including our very own Mark Goldbridge, have pitched up tents over in the ‘out’ camp, I have remained across in my field, like an old man at Glastonbury a week after the festival has finished. Continue reading What is going on??

Mourinho out? Here we go again…

Immediately following last night’s defeat to Sevilla I turned my phone off. Not because I was a sore loser. Not because I was sulking. I knew we got what we deserved. The two legs were terrible, devoid of anything resembling the so-called United way. No, I turned my phone off because I knew I would be tempted to go on Twitter, see the usual ‘Mourinho out’ brigade and end up in an argument I didn’t want to be in.

Even after watching that performance last night, the thought of Mourinho leaving Old Trafford is one that wasn’t even close to entering my mind. To jump on that bandwagon would see me as a hypocrite, as a man who has constantly backed our manager. Unless things drastically change, you will not see me calling for Mourinho’s head. Why? Because I’m a realist.

My thoughts on those calling for his head are simple. Are their memories so short-sighted that they do not remember the dross that was served up under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal? Do they not remember that LVG famously stated how he had guided us back into the Champions League after Moyes’ failure, only to see us crash out of the competition at the group stage? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Mourinho inherited the worst Manchester United squad of recent times.

Fixing this squad was never going to be a quick fix. Before anyone jumps on the hundreds of millions that have been spent, it was always going to take more. In a market where strikers now cost £150 million and defenders cost £75 million, the amount of money spent is almost irrelevant. £80 million for a player these days is what £30 million would have bought you less than five years ago.

The Manchester City comparison is always going to be at the forefront, particularly because of the dominant nature in which they will storm to the Premier League title this season. Guardiola has also spent an astronomical amount of money but it is true that he inherited a better squad than what Mourinho did at United. However, what scrutinises Mourinho’s position further is that, whether we care to admit it or not, Guardiola has City playing in the way in which us fans want to see our club play.

 

 

Whichever way Mourinho is criticised, there is no getting away from the fact that United under him have improved. Sixth last season, five points clear in second this. Try and disguise it all you want, but progress is progress. The former Chelsea manager stated he wanted to win the Premier League within three seasons. That target is still more than achievable, and his record at other clubs, for me, confirms that he is still the best man in the job to do this.

Some are saying that his comments after the defeat last night were unacceptable. Listen to them back now that the adrenaline has subsided. Was it that bad? What he said was factual. United are used to crashing out of the Champions League. Fergie ‘only’ won it twice. The great man himself will be the first to admit that he should have won it many more times. Mourinho did knock us out twice, and losing to that Porto side was unacceptable, whether they went on to win the competition or not.

Last night was horrific, but it was under Fergie at times. Many will point to those classic nights in Barcelona and Moscow but who remembers going out at the Group Stage in a group that contained Benfica, FC Basel and Otelul Galati in 2011. Did we call for his head then? Of course we didn’t.

Guardiola represented our chance to grab a manager who would play in the way the fans want to see. We didn’t take it, opting instead for blind faith in LVG. Mourinho was the next best option, still perhaps the best option given his track record in the Premier League with Chelsea.

Ashley Young watches on as Sevilla take the lead (pic: gettyimages)

My response to the Mourinho out comments every time I see them is always the same. If not Mourinho, who?

Usually this argument lands at the feet of either Mauricio Pochettino or Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti I can kind of understand. Premier League winning experience, various trophy-laden seasons across the continent, including three unrivalled Champions League wins, and currently out of work. However, would it be anymore of an upgrade to a manager that also has Premier League winning experience and multiple trophies across Europe.

The Pochettino argument I really struggle with. Yes, he is a manager which plays an exciting brand of football, but at what cost? Mourinho is being rightly chastised for his team selection against Sevilla and how wrong he got it tactically. Rewind one week when the exact same scenario panned out at Wembley. Tottenham 3-2 up on aggregate three quarters of the way through a two-legged tie against Juventus. Instead of shutting shop, the Argentine manager pressed for a fourth, instead conceded two and lost the tie.

Mourinho gets it wrong and crashes out of Europe…sack him. Pochettino does the same…hire him. Get your heads around that one. And, remember, Pochittino famously guided Spurs to a third place Premier League position when they were in a two horse race for the title.

My suggestion for the Mourinho out brigade, be very careful what you wish for. Slowly but surely, he is starting to rebuild our club. It isn’t pretty, but rebuilding it he is. 65 points last season at this stage would have had us in a title race, and then who would be complaining?

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.

Mata reveals he is fully committed to United

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has revealed that he is fully committed to the club and has rubbished talks about him potentially leaving the Red Devils, according to a report on GOAL.

With the addition of Alexis Sanchez to the United squad, it looks like Mata will be the one to be dropped to the bench by manager Jose Mourinho for the remainder of the season.

Juan Mata's contract is expiring at the end of the season. (picture: manutd.com)
Juan Mata’s contract is expiring at the end of the season. (picture: manutd.com)

However, the Spaniard can still expect to be heavily involved with United still challenging in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup and he himself is remaining positive about the remainder of the season.

He said:

Being part of this club is something very special and I can assure you that I keep enjoying every single game like I did with my debut against Cardiff. I’ll never stop thanking you for your support day after day. Thanks to you, being part of this club is really special.

Mata has been linked with a move back to the Spanish La Liga and with his contract expiring in the summer, his future seems uncertain.

United are yet to offer him a 12-month extension option which is in his contract and could lose him for free but the player himself is eager to continue playing for the club.

Mata has hit form in recent months and has been linking up well alongside Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, which has been pleasing to see for the United fans.

Moreover, Mata will be itching to play as much as possible to ensure he plays a role for the Spain national team in the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

Jose Mourinho set to make shock move for Mesut Ozil!

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants to sign Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window, with the German international set to leave the Emirates, according to a report on the Independent.

Ozil’s contract with Arsenal expires in the summer but Arsenal would rather sell Ozil for money in January than lose him for free at the end of the season.

Mourinho is reportedly interested in a reunion with Ozil following their time working together in Spain at Real Madrid.

If the Red Devils fail to secure his signing in January, then it is understood that Mourinho will make a move in the summer where Ozil will have the freedom of choice to decide his next destination.

Manchester United are being strongly linked with a move for the German. (picture: independent.co.uk)
Manchester United are being strongly linked with a move for the German. (picture: independent.co.uk)

Arsenal have been working tirelessly to persuade the German to sign a contract extension with the North London club but so far, their efforts have failed.

Mourinho and Ozil had a healthy relationship during their spell at Real Madrid and the Portuguese manager has always been on good terms with the attacking midfielder.

Mourinho is a fan of Ozil’s tactical ability but the interest in Ozil has raised questions over the futures of current united attackers Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Personally, I’m not in favour of a move for Ozil as I feel that we have achieved the perfect balance between our midfield and attack. Also, Mata and Mkhitaryan have been hugely impressive at the start of this season and have been creating numerous amounts of chances for our forwards.

The addition of Ozil may take away the flow away from our attacking play, however, their is no doubt that he is a class player but I not so sure he can replicate his form for United that he had at Real Madrid.

What do you think?

Get in touch below or on Twitter, @AbzMulla6

 

Manchester United reveal Old Trafford expansion plans

Manchester United officials are currently looking at plans for an extension to Old Trafford, which would see an extra tier added to the Sir Bobby Charlton stand, making the Theatre of Dreams’ capacity 88,000, according to a report on the Daily Mail.

The Red Devils currently have a capacity of 75,643, but should the plans go ahead then they will boast the third largest stadium in Europe, behind Barcelona’s Nou Camp and Wembley stadium.

Previously, United have been reluctant to look at plans for expanding the stadium because of concerns regarding the train line, which is directly behind the stand.

Manchester United are considering the expansion of Old Trafford. (image: express.co.uk)
Manchester United are considering the expansion of Old Trafford. (image: express.co.uk)

However, due to advancements in technology, the club can now look at extension plans without fear of causing disruption to houses or the railway line.

Should the plans be given the green light, Old Trafford will surpass the San Siro, Bernabeu, Stade de France and Westfalenstadion in Europe in terms of maximum capacity.

 

Why Jose Mourinho Is More Dangerous Than Ever!

Jose Mourinho suddenly finds himself master of all he conveys at Manchester United. Top of the league with maximum points, no goals conceded and a favourable goal difference, his start to the season has been flawless. Add in to that a relatively straightforward set of fixtures to start the season, rivals failing spectacularly in their efforts to land key signings on transfer deadline day, and a good Champions League draw, and it’s easy to see why Mourinho seems to have his mojo back.

Which is exactly why rivals, the press, and even Manchester United fans should beware. History shows us that Jose Mourinho in total control of what he’s trying to achieve only leads to one thing. Success.

History also shows us that whilst riding that wave of success Mourinho has a tendency to believe his own hype and fall off. Will Mourinho learn from the mistakes of the past, is it too early to predict he’s back to his enigmatic best? Watch and join the discussion on The United Stand YouTube debate.

Marouane Fellaini – It’s Not All Bad, Is It?

Marouane Fellaini – now there’s a player that divides opinion. By divide opinion, I mean that Manchester United fans normally debate on whether he is simply just not a Manchester United player, or he is downright terrible. Myself included.

A quick look through my Tweets which include our Belgian maestro’s name since he signed back in 2013 read something like this…

 

 

 

 

It’s fair to say that I’ve been pretty scathing over the years, as I am sure have most of you. But, here’s the thing. Something strange has happened. It’s painful, so I’ll just come out with it. And here it is…

My name is Jamie Ward, and I have warmed to Marouane Fellaini

When Jose Mourinho was appointed manager in May 2016 we all thought Fellaini’s days as a Manchester United player were done. As every second during the transfer window last summer, again in January and then the current one, we all prayed that this was the one player that would be let go. But he didn’t. Morurinho constantly claimed that he was happy with the 29-year-old.

“But why, Jose?” we all screamed.

But now I’m beginning to see it. Fellaini has not started a single game this season, and nor do I expect him too either. However, what he has proven during the early stages of this season was that he has now become a valuable squad player. Mourinho sees this. He offers us something different. In a squad that now oozes flair and pace, Fellaini is the type of player that does the messy things, and actually does them reasonably well. He is never going to be a footballer that gives us that wow factor, but he does have his uses…trust me.

A lot of us couldn’t see the logic in bringing Fellaini on against Leicester, with the game finely balanced at 1-0, whilst Ander Herrera continued to warm the bench. And this is why we’re not the manager. What Fellaini did during his 20 or so minutes on the pitch was add a different dimension. Leicester were producing the type of football that they have perfected over the last three or so seasons. Sit back, soak up the pressure and hope to capatalise on any mistakes made by the opposition. We needed something different. The 2015-16 Premier League champions had to chase for the equaliser, and Mahrez was beginning to show glimpses of his obvious class. Fellaini gave us that something different.

The former Everton midfielder complimented Matic well in the middle of the park, bullied Leicester into making mistakes, offered us some height up top and was eventually rewarded with a goal. Yes, it was a messy goal, probably the type of goal that some might say suits his end product.

His performance against Swansea was perhaps a little more understated but the end result was similar. Fellaini entered the fray at 1-0, put in a shift similar to that against Leicester and United eventually ran out 4-0 winners. No, I’m not saying that this was down to the Belgian, but I’m perhaps beginning to realise that Fellaini changes our style when he comes on which perhaps unsettles the opposition.

It’s fair to say now that Fellaini is perhaps a victim of what can now be referred to the dark era, the Moyes era. Fellaini was indeed a panic buy once Moyes realised that taking over Manchester United in real life is nothing like taking over Manchester United on Football Manager. Once it became apparent that he couldn’t attract the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and Sami Khedira, he turned his attentions back to Fellaini. After being teased with big names all summer, we were disappointed to end up with just the big, bullying midfielder from Everton.

In hindsight, we never forgave him for that. It wasn’t Fellaini’s fault, but he was on the back foot from the moment he stepped into Old Trafford. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending all of his performances over the last 3 or so seasons. What I am saying is that it is now perhaps time to take off our blinkers, maybe appreciate the fact the he adds something different to the squad, something that may be extremely useful as the season drags on.

So, in response to one of my above, aged Tweets, I say this….Marouane Fellaini, in Manchester United hearts since 2017.

Anthony Martial set to finally secure a regular starting spot?

When Jose Mourinho became manager of Manchester United, many predicted that Anthony Martial would flourish under his guidance. However, after a stunning first season which saw the French striker score 11 league goals and a last-minute winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, Martial has struggled to become a regular starter for Mourinho.

There seemed to be more indication that the 21 year old wouldn’t be in Jose’s plans when he was left out of the starting line-up on United’s first game of the Premier League season. With Manchester United 2-0 up thanks Lukaku’s debut brace, Martial was subbed on. The young forward just had little over ten minutes to try and impress Mourinho, but he only needed eight. Played through by Mkhitaryan, Martial slotted the ball past Hart. Then, a few moments later, Martial provides an assist for Pogba’s goal.

Over the course of pre-season the player has finally been showing signs of consistency. The only way he can truly show Jose that he can help build towards Premier League glory for United, is if he is picked to start by Mourinho. This is the only way that he can now prove he can provide quality consistently.

If Manchester United’s Frenchman can provide consistency on the pitch, along with other players, then United should have a real chance of securing the Premier League title this season. Fans will be hoping the forward will start the Swansea game this weekend and that he has impressed Mourinho with his latest chance.

Do you think Martial can replicate his debut season for Manchester United? Will he be a regular starter throughout the season? Leave you thoughts in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!