It’s confirmed! Jose Mourinho is no longer the manager of Manchester United! We’re saved! Title challenge is back on! The world is all good again! Continue reading Mourinho Sacked: What Next?
Some people like fast cars. Others enjoy fine dining while some like nothing more than settling down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and an episode of Eastenders. As for me, I get excited when I unearth a new statistic article.
I know, I know, it’s pretty depressing right? I don’t know why, but something feels pretty damn good about being able to pull out another useless piece of information as a trump card in yet another football related argument. So imagine my delight when I woke up this morning to a fantastic piece comparing United’s start to this campaign to that of last season under LVG, courtesy of Sky Sports.
It is worth noting at this point that, at the same stage last season, United were top of the table and three points better off than they currently stand today, a statistic that has been pointed out to myself, as I am sure it has many a United fan, several times since Sunday afternoon. However, that statistic alone doesn’t begin to tell even half the tale.
Perhaps the most compelling statistic of the piece is the percentile gem which lists United as top of the pile when it comes to shots on goal this season, with 92, compared to 54 last season, which was placed as the 17th best in the Premier League.
As we are well aware, United last season became almost a chore to watch. Sideways and backwards passing became the norm, whilst attacks on goal were just a mere rose-tinted memory of the Sir Alex Ferguson days. Mourinho seems to have altered the mentality of the squad in his short stint as manager, cutting the amount of passes down to 3623 from 4053. Interestingly, 31.5% of these passes have come within the final third, a near 2% jump on last season.
David Moyes was famously criticised during his tenure as Manchester United boss for throwing cross after cross into the opposition box, with LVG opting to play patient passing football in order to create the killer chance. Mourinho has opted with a mixture of the two to try and recreate the attacking fluidity of that seen during United’s stellar years, seeing his side launch 179 crosses, the 2nd best in the Premier League, compared to only 123 last term.
Mourinho also seems content with allowing the opposition to do all the running, with United currently sitting bottom of the pile when it comes to distance covered, with 735.6km. This could be key when it comes to the latter parts of the season when it comes to the fitness of key players. Under LVG, the team had covered almost 70km more than that seen by Mourinho’s men. Interestingly, United have completed over 150 more sprints than at the same stage as last season, with 3524, with that evidence pointing to the fact that Mourinho is trying to insert a more counter-attacking feel to his side.
See, hasn’t that made you feel better? We may have felt smug when we sat at the top of the tree in early October 2015 but lest us forget how quickly that smugness faded. Whilst we may be in sixth, the stats don’t lie. This is a United team that creates chances and that is giving us reason to enjoy life at Old Trafford once again.
Forget your fast cars, your fine dining, wine and Eastenders…give me a statistic piece to digest any day!
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Manchester United youngster Andreas Pereira has revealed that Head Coach Louis Van Gaal broke a promise to him about first team football and prevented a potential loan move away for him from the club.
The highly rated 20 year old is still seen as a future star at Old Trafford, but has seen his route into the first team blocked by the Dutchman.
Despite the broken promise and lack of first team chances, Pereira is remaining calm about his chances of progressing at Old Trafford.
Speaking to Goal he said “I wanted to be loaned out in January in order to play more football and to keep developing myself, but Van Gaal told me that he did not want me to be loaned out. He told me to stay in Manchester because he would use me and that I would play.”
“I told him that was fine and that if I could stay and play then I would. He did not let me leave. I took the decision and now I am training, doing my job and waiting for him to fulfil his word.”
“Of course I expected to play more, I think that I deserved the chance. I did well in the games that I had the opportunity to play, but football can be like that. My manager has not given me this opportunity yet and I will keep working hard, waiting for the chances.”
By Larry Taylor (@larrytee0)
After Manchester United lost for the second time to Arsenal in 2006, the great Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Only true champions come out and show their worth after defeat- and I expect us to do that”.
This time, Arsenal provided the keys to the top 4 and put them in Manchester United’s hands. Win your final two games and secure Champions League football. It appears a foregone conclusion that the Red Devils would have all the motivation they need to put their best foot forward and obtain this goal.
But it didn’t happen. In case you hadn’t heard (you’ve heard), this was the final game at Upton Park, and the West Ham fans made sure the Manchester United players knew it. From the kick-off, United were off the pace. West Ham were not brilliant by any means; they simply out-enthused Manchester United. Every header, every loose-ball, West Ham were a step closer than United.
United found themselves down 1-0 after 10 minutes and failed to create any rhythm or continuity to their play through-out the first half.
The 2nd half saw United start fast, and like many other occasions, it took brilliance from 20 year-old Anthony Martial who scored a brace of goals in the space of 25 minutes, and put Manchester United in the lead. It was there. Right in this moment, Manchester United are in the top 4. 10 minutes later, it was all over.
A few set-pieces and horrible defending later, United found themselves losing 3-2. The wait for the kitchen-sink to be thrown in search for much needed goals was evident in the heart beat of every Manchester United fan – but it never came. Not a single shot. United lose the game and again, give the advantage back to Manchester City.
The situation Manchester United find themselves in sits solely on Louis Van Gaal’s shoulders. Granted, players performed horribly; but it is the manager’s responsibility to prepare his team to perform to the best of their potential.
Marcus Rojo has been out of form for the best part of a month, yet fails to get dropped. United needed a goal, so the Dutchman brings on Adnan Januzaj who has had an appalling season. These are the moments where you have to question why Danny Welbeck, Chichartio and Robin Van Persie have been allowed to leave the club when the bench had no strikers available.
United were only in this fortuitous position due to Manchester City’s inconsistent form since the announcement of Pep Guardiola’s imminent arrival. In 2 seasons, Louis Van Gaal has diminished everything that Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby took years to build.
After being handed the keys, Louis Van Gaal handed them right back to City without a fight. One level of praise towards the much-maligned manager is the signing of Anthony Martial; but the fact that United’s go-to man is a 20 year old in his first season at the club, says everything this wrong with the current state of the squad.
All season, United legends, pundits and fans have criticised the manner of which the Red Devils play their football, but it never changes. Louis Van Gaal was a great manager, but his inability to adapt to modern football will be his downfall and should cost him his job.
Thank you for bringing through some promising players, but it is time to go. The club is a rabble; creative players have lost their confidence to express themselves; new signings have been misused and as a result, affected and most importantly, the club has lost their identity.
Good bye, Louis. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
Will Jose Mourinho become Manchester United manager this summer? Some fans are certain that whether Van Gaal scrapes 4th place or not Mourinho will be taking the Old Trafford reigns this June and United will begin the resurrection to greatness we all crave.
The confidence of these fans is to be admired – although I suspect they’re staking their reputation on a 50/50 outcome and hoping for the best – because simple business sense suggests Van Gaal will be sat on his rear end for another 38 games next season.
Why? Because the numbers are stacked firmly in his favour and ridicule the notion that a deal has already been agreed with Mourinho. No agreement will be made until United’s top 4 status is determined.
And it’s that top 4 position that will decide whether we become the next Liverpool and fall in to oblivion over the next few years, or we get back on the top table where we belong. The worst case scenario for Woodward and Van Gaal, not necessarily the fans, is a failure to secure 4th place. The loss in gate receipts, prize money and commercial deals would see a revenue drop of at least 30 million pounds. In addition to that Woodward would also be forced to release his friend Van Gaal to save his own skin, who with a year left on his contract would cost a further 3-5 million if reports on his contract are to be believed.
35 million pounds down and with no Champions League football it’s only at this juncture we’d expect Woodward to go cap in hand to Mourinho. Whether Jose would relish the opportunity of taking over a club absent from the world’s top football competition that will struggle to attract the world’s best players is another matter. However, the offer of a 10 million pounds a year contract over three years and a 150 million pounds transfer fund should persuade him. And we the fans would get the appointment many of us crave.
But what if Van Gaal does manage to salvage 4th place? Suddenly Ed Woodward’s wallet isn’t feeling so light. No 30 million loss for missing out on the Champions league, no need to pay 5 million to fire his great friend Louis, and no need to spend 10 million a year on the fans choice Mourinho. 4th place from Van Gaal saves Woodward at least 45 million straight away. So why at that point would a shrewd businessmen like Woodward and the Glazer’s decide to sack the man who’s just saved them so much money for a man who will demand they spend a whole lot more? Not forgetting Van Gaal will have also delivered them a nice end of season trophy in the FA Cup.
The short answer is they won’t. Jose Mourinho may be the overwhelming fans choice and 30 years ago that may have counted for something but today football is 100% about money. And that money talks a lot louder than you or me. The harsh truth is Mourinho is highly unlikely to become Manchester United manager if Van Gaal secures Champions league football.
Which leaves the true victims in all of this, you the fans, suffering again. Do you choose Champions league football and another season of Van Gaal, or do you sacrifice it and hope the club are forced to sign Mourinho?
Personally, I go for the latter option. Short term pain for long term gain.
Just beware the so called “In The Know’s” spouting the dream of Top 4, an FA Cup and Mourinho coming in June. It’s not happening.
By Mark Goldbridge
By Larry Taylor
Attack! Attack! Attack! United came out of the blocks, displaying offensive intent as they hosted Leicester, who with a win, would secure the Premier League title.
The Red Devils’ were rewarded in the 8th minute when Anthony Martial was on the receiving end of an Antonio Valencia cross, placing the ball under Leicester ‘keeper Schmichael, giving United a 1-0 lead.
The Reds’ were in the ascendency and had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead in the 14th minute when Jesse Lingard had a shot thudded away by Schmichael, maintaining the pressure and having the United faithful applauding the antics.
To their credit, Leicester fought back and got a goal back when Morgan out-muscled Marcus Rojo and head the ball in to bring the game level. Unfortunately for United, they never recovered and outside of a header by Chris Smalling in the closing moments of the game, Manchester United never looked like scoring the goal they needed.
With Leicester needing a mere two points to win the league pre-game, the Foxes were happy to sit back while counter attack where ever they could. Leicester came for a draw and given United’s struggles to break teams down, it was no surprise they got the result they came for.
But this meant more for United. Considering a top 4 spot was touching distance and Manchester City had lost against Southampton later in the day, fans sat in anticipation of the proverbial kitchen sink to be thrown.
Sir Alex on the touch-line pulls off a defensive midfielder for a striker, tells Rio Ferdinand to push forward and give the opposition nightmares until we got the desired result. That’s Manchester United; that is what that emblem represents – or at least, represented.
Now, with 7 minutes remaining, Blind and Smalling interchange in passes while Herrera and Memphis are given 16 and 8 minutes respectively to make an impact. It is illogical and is the type of complacency that should see Louis Van Gaal lose his job at season’s end.
The Dutchman’s team selections were again maligned. Fellaini has played well in the last few weeks and probably deserved his spot; but he was ineffective; slowed play down and was an elbow graze away from a red card.
You also have to question why Argentinian international Marcus Rojo continues to be picked. The defender was at fault for the goal and struggled against PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. He packs the composure and pace to be a consistent left back at Manchester United and is terribly out of form. Considering his bright performances and great crossing ability, it is surprising Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has not been afforded an opportunity as of late.
As it stands, Manchester United still have a mathematical chance to make the top 4. Realistically, Manchester United would need Arsenal to beat Manchester City with the hope they will drop points in their last two games. Even so, given Van Gaal’s 50% win rate and the inconsistencies, I sadly cannot see it happening.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf have suggested that United boss Louis van Gaal has been assured that he will remain in charge beyond this season.
It’s reported that the Dutchman will also be granted spending money in the region of £80m with Everton’s Romelu Lukaku a prime target, and he will not come cheap.
As with 90% of reports, or rumours out there, we should take them all with a pinch of salt. Especially this one.
For a start, this news comes off the back of reports that Van Gaal has had a big say in the China tour preparations and that Jose Mourinho is considering Valencia as another option; so the timing would be right for an article like this to surface. Reports like these tend to get published in batches, if you will.
For example, as soon as Jose Mourinho was sacked he was immediately linked with the United job. Shortly after there were rumours about big money contracts being ‘pre-agreed’ between him and United. Then as soon as United put a couple of good results together we saw news that Van Gaal would be staying and following those reports we saw news coming out of Jose considering other options. You see the pattern, right? The same is happening here. News comes out that Van Gaal is involved in tour prep and then shortly after… this.
One important thing to note about all these rumours is that all the information comes from “sources” who can never be named. Or if they can be named, they can’t be backed up with any quotes. It’s all, highly likely, false rumours.
Aside from that, United will need at least double the amount suggested to turn them into title contenders again. £80m would buy them one player with a bit of change or two average players (when considering the inflating transfer fees) at best. There are several positions in which United need to strengthen and £80m just wouldn’t be enough.
So I strongly believe this is yet another rumour we can brush aside and not get worked up about.
Despite the international break, there was still plenty of news circulating around Manchester United. Such as United considering Pochettino and Mourinho agreeing a deal with Valencia should he not be employed by United.
The pick of the bunch for me though, was news relating to comments made by former United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, regarding Louis van Gaal.
On March 31st, The Manchester Evening News had put out an article claiming that Sir Alex had defended van Gaal and called for ‘patience’.
This post went out on Twitter and caused quite a stir among the United faithful. See some responses the news other sources below:
— Martyn Green (@matbe7) March 31, 2016
— edwin farrugia (@edwinfarrugia) March 31, 2016
Others considered Sir Alex’s words before posting their tweet:
— Mykola Sobko (@sobkoNick) April 1, 2016
I opened up Twitter that day while at work and all I saw on my timeline were United fans slating Fergie. Some being quite nasty. At first I thought “what the hell is going on?” I didn’t think for one second that he would come out and publicly defend Louis van Gaal. Not in so many words, at least. So I opened the article by MEN and read it for myself. Here is what they quote Ferguson as saying:
“It is dead easy to be critical,
“You have to be realistic about some things – the number of injuries he has had: Phil Jones has played only seven games this season, Ashley Young, (Antonio) Valencia, (Luke) Shaw, these are big losses.
“The other aspect which is always easy to forget there are also five new players in their first season at United, and two are young players in (Anthony) Martial and Memphis (Depay) and their promise is good.
“You have to have some patience being a Manchester United fan and they have shown that over the years; in Matt Busby’s time, in my time.
“For 150 years of history it is worth having a couple of years on the quiet side of success because they will always come back and come back strong.”
Now when I read the article all I took from it is that he has stated a few facts. Yes there are injuries to players who are important. Ashley Young being one of them. He has been excellent over the last couple of seasons. And yes there are new players who are young and settling in. He also, and rightly so says that patience is needed from time to time, like himself and Sir Matt Busby were afforded.
What he didn’t say is that Louis van Gaal should be afforded MORE time than he has already been given. He also didn’t say that he is ‘defending’ Louis van Gaal.
I am confident that in his head he is thinking that we should be in a much better position than we are given the time and money Louis van Gaal has had. I’m not claiming to know what Fergie is thinking, I just seriously believe he also thinks we should be in a much better position that we are. We see Ferguson many times in the stands shaking his head, looking discontented and at times yawning! So you can’t tell me that he is backing or defending LVG.
In the interview, he is being recorded and he is representing the club. He simply cannot come out and criticise van Gaal and say that he thinks the club need to change manager. Imagine the frenzy that would create within the club and how embarrassing it would be for the club.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe people have read far too much into this and the reason for that is the headline that was used by various media outlets – “Sir Alex Ferguson defends Manchester United manager Van Gaal”. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people didn’t even read the article and instead reacted to the headline alone. Imagine the headline had read something like, “Sir Alex Ferguson says it’s not uncommon for United to have a quiet spell”; if it did, you can bet your bottom dollar we would not have seen the same reaction, or abuse aimed at Fergie.
Moving on from the Sir Alex comments, another big topic of discussion was the news from the Daily Mail that Louis van Gaal has a huge part in planning the pre-season China tour in the summer. This also sparked a reaction on Twitter with many people worried that it would mean Van Gaal is set to see out his contract. See a couple of responses to the news below:
lvg not happy with china tour thought jose was coming haha this cunt is staying thats the truth
— LVGOUT (@mancdave72) April 4, 2016
— SoccerLimey (@SoccerLimey) April 3, 2016
I think it’s a little naive to think that Louis van Gaal will be staying because he is involved in preparations for the China tour. You could argue that it was the headline and word “lifeline” being used that got people worried.
As far as I am aware, it’s normal for the manager to be involved in pre-season tour preparation, so it does not surprise me to hear that he is involved. No one knows what his situation at the club is. No one knows if he will be in charge next season. It’s most likely going to depend on how he finishes the season with the main aim being Champions League qualification. For all we know, the decision may already be made.
One we can be sure of though is that if we finish the season poorly and don’t make the top four, the fact he was involved in tour preparations will not be enough to save his job. To think it is enough would be ludicrous. Let’s just hope that Ed Woodward doesn’t think like that!
Can you remember the last time you got excited to watch Manchester United?
I know I can’t.
Do you remember the days when you knew, no matter what, United would put on an entertaining performance for the fans? The pride you would feel in knowing your club would always fight to the end. And the manager lived and breathed for the team as much as we did?
Now look at us. A shell of our former selves. Our former glory. ‘They always score.’ Not any more. ‘They never give up.’ We do now.
In all my time supporting Manchester United, through the happy times and sad moments, I’ve never been as fed up. Or felt as let down. This season I’ve been close to falling asleep at Old Trafford. The theatre of dreams. Where dreams are usually made, nightmares have been created.
Louis van Gaal proclaimed that we’re happy to be in the Europa League’ and being champions is in the past. You don’t speak for me. Or the majority of fiercely loyal fans. Your excuses will not wash with us. We will not accept what we have become because you tell us to. Like our team used to do, we will fight until the very end. Until we finally see a team that resembles the one we fell in love with.
Okay. It was never going to be easy replacing Sir Alex Ferguson. As David Moyes found out. It was never going to be simple to replicate the impossible dream Fergie created. I’m not expecting miracles here. And I understand patience is key. But in two years now, I see no improvement, ridiculous comments coming from the managers mouth and a shadow of the team we once were. This isn’t, and never will be acceptable.
We simply can’t settle for this anymore. Players out of position, arrogance with no merit and out of date tactics that have no place in modern football.
I respect that Louis has experienced success in the past. But it simply isn’t working anymore. He doesn’t get Manchester United. What the team means to us. Our pride in everything we’ve achieved. The football we expect to see.
I can’t excuse the players because, currently, on a Thursday night, I’m watching a truly dismal performance. The board clearly only care about the money that lines their pockets because our voices don’t hold the same importance to them as our cash.
So, I’m not saying Louis van Gaal is the sole reason we’re in the position we’re in. But he’s certainly played a big part in it.
Ultimately, anyone who accepts what we’ve become are the ones living in the past. We want to create our future. Not conform to rigid ways and a manager who believes his way is the only way and change doesn’t exist.
We are Manchester United. We are better than this!
I can only hope by May the stubborn one shuts the door on his way out. Another year of this is simply unthinkable.
Follow Nicole on Twitter: @UnitedSheStands