13 Feb 2019 16:32:10
Masterclass from Tuchel and PSG last night. They played us perfectly. Di Maria and Mbappe were superb, as was Marquinhos.

Lots of work to do with our team, that has not changed, but one defeat in 12 to an excellent side does not mean OGS is out of his depth and that we are crap again. We are a top 4-6 side, and came up against a better side on the night with better players.

1.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 17:18:00
Serious question, does anyone feel that a different manager in the same situation would have got a better result last night?

They would have the same players available, would lose two key players before the start of the second half, and would have just as awful a performance from the officials.

What could have been done differently?

For me last night was more about exposing the limitations of the squad of players we have than the limitations of the manager.

Sure Ole could have put Lukaku on instead of Mata, but would he have made that much difference?

I said before Christmas that Lingard is the most important player in this team. He is often over looked and obviously so as there are more talented players in our side. Yet his versatility, work rate, and intelligent movement are what greases the wheels and enables the others to play to their best.

Once Lingard went off it was always going to be a hard night. Pair that with the fact we were playing one of the top sides, with a very clever and tactical manager it was always going to be tough.

The difference is we went into this game with hope and genuine belief we could beat them. We came up short. Yet most of us probably still carry a gimmer of a hope that we could over turn last nights result in Paris, even if it isn't a big hope. Under the last few managers none of us would even have that.

We all said when Mourinho was under pressure that there was more wrong at the club than just the manager. Ed Woodward is still clueless in terms of football, the squad is still a rag tag bunch from four different managers. These things can't be fix by a manager over night. We still need a DoF, and we still need to move on 10-12 players who either are not good enough or aren't able to adapt to how the club should be looking to play moving forward.

Personally I think we are two years away from genuinely challenging. Too many players need to be moved on and too many recruited, while the best of our current squad are still young (Shaw, Lindelof, Bailly, Dalot, Pogba, Lingard, Martial, Rashford) and developing. Give them two years developing and learning to play together in an offensive way. While supplementing them with quality additions and promoting promising youth players (Tuanzebe, Garner, Chong, Gomes and Greenwood), then blending them all together in a cohesive way to challenge for the biggest honors.

That won't happen over night, is Ole the right man? Maybe, we will know more after the Chelsea game. He certainly has the team moving in the right direction. Would it be sensible to rip up any foundations he lays this season for a new manager? They would have to be a serious step up to make that worthwhile. If Ole can get a response against Chelsea then he might just be the right candidate.

{Ed025's Note - im sick of saying this....but another fine post shappy..

2.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 17:55:59
Two things that could have been done differently are-
1. Man mark Verrati out of the game. Put herrera to man mark him, similar to Marquinhos on Pogba.
2. Change Pogba's position thereby pulling Marquinhos out of position.

Putting Lukaku on the right would have pushed their fullback back and with Lukaku's pace and strength, could have seen another yellow for his troubles.

Just a few things to be done differently by a tactically astute manager.

Chelsea are all over the place so judging Ole after that game isn't a true picture. Probably the Liverpool game is a more realistic test.

Agree about Lingard though. Probably should have used a similar setup as we did against Spurs with Lingard as false 9.

3.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 18:17:00
Good post Shappy, it's always easier to comment with hindsight. I fully agree about Lingard and my only slight criticism of Ole is he must have known that we'd struggle with Sanchez and Mata out wide.

I think he could have played Sanchez as a false 9 and split the strikers like we saw against Arsenal and Spurs. He maybe should have introduced Lukaku instead of Mata at HT. Could he have played 3-5-2?! It was obvious we regressed badly in the second half yet he didn't try to change it as our game crumbled before his eyes. It's all ifs, buts and maybe's now but I think if we'd have retained more of a threat on the counter we might have seen a different second half.

The top managers have the ability to analyse the game and make tactical alterations. That's not me being critical just giving my honest opinion and in fairness Ole has to give players a chance and trust them to perform. Mata and Sanchez are probably two of the most experienced players in our squad after all. It didn't work and we paid the price. What will be fascinating to see now is how Ole adapts if he's without Lingard and Martial for any length of time.

4.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 18:37:48
Ole is showing us where we really are, we were better than our showings earlier in the season with a squad well capable of seeing off a big percentage of premiere league teams but we have a way to go to join Europe's elite sides .
The good news is the potential to upgrade the side in maybe 4 or 5 positions is pretty large and the jump in improvement should be easier than say city who would have to remove a pretty good player to add one .
We have some exciting players who will always give us a punchers chance against pretty much anyone but improvements are needed to bridge the gap to the very top end sides.

5.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 18:56:53
To be fair to Ole, he accepted he would have to find a different way of playing if he lost our two first-choice wide men. He's still finding his way with the squad.

6.) 13 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 20:55:32
We should make DGS Manager or at least ask Ole to take him on as a Consultant.

Lukaku has been dire for a long time, he set up 2 goals and suddenly we should play him on the right? Sanchez has also been dire and surely Ole’s patience will wear thin, at what point do we simply look to move on?

We have a strong first team and that was shown in a pretty even first half, but we don’t have squad depth so any injuries (or suspensions) hurt us.

7.) 14 Feb 2019
13 Feb 2019 23:27:24
Honestly I am as passionate a Utd supporter as most but let's face reality here. How many of our players would get into the teams of Madrid Barcelona Liverpool PSG Spurs and City. The answer is very few and therein lies our problem. Our sqaud is good but not good enough. We need world class players to compete with the world's best teams.

8.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 06:08:00
Thanks AJH. I am truly honoured. 😁😁. I am sure you meant that as a compliment (sarcasm) .

I am sure putting Lukaku there instead of Mata would have been a lot better. Lukaku has pace and he can run in behind which Mata lacks so might have been worth a punt. Ole missed a trick there because the way he sets up to counter, i do not see how putting Mata there helped in any manner given that Lingard was already off.

9.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 06:12:16

I agree with most of what you said, in fact have said most of it previously. I do think a more tactically astute manager may do better in such games. Ole follows SAF principles but often he and we were found out in Europe because we didn’t change or adapt our tactics. A more tactically astute manager may have done better, people will pile on and disagree but that is what Mourinho was canny at.

One result should not decide Ole’s future but we may know more about him after both Liverpool and Chelsea games.

Still I remain concerned that Woodward will remain in charge of recruitment with no DOF and Ole will be expected to perform under Glazernomics.

10.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 07:21:28
Maybe your right Red man, but even in hindsight I struggle to come up with a fool proof solution for what we could have done differently.

Maybe playing Lukaku instead of Mata could have worked. Yet when against a team which are so good in possession you want people on the pitch who won't give it away easily with a poor touch or bad decision. To that end I can see the logic of playing Mata over Lukaku. Yeah Rom has more pace, but if he loses the ball it could leave us open to being countered. Also he has hardly been in scintillating form. He had a couple of good moments against Arsenal but that really is it since Ole took charge. Sanchez has been awful no matter who is in charge. So what other changes were available?

We have seen what happens to our side when we sit deep and park the bus against average EPL teams. We lose, can we really consider that an option against a very good PSG side? Could you imagine how much worse it would have been if we just allowed Di Maria, Draxler, Verratti and Mbappe to have the ball just outside out penalty box and just said go on break through? The tie really would have been dead.

We have a good first 11, not great. We have a poor squad. I don't think there is much any other manager no matter how clever that could have got a significantly different result. If Tuchel was in charge of us and Ole in charge of PSG then Ole would have won that game.

Our best hope was to play to our strengths and hope that was enough. It wasn't, we didn't get the rub of the green with injuries and decisions during the game. It happens.

11.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 08:36:13
But Shappy, that is what we did. we sat in. allowed Verrati and co all the room to play. Pogba was bypassed by them and we only played with 2 MFs in Matic and Herrera. Honestly they opened us up twice in the first half, luckily they were caught offside. And that is at OT, not even an away game.

To be fair, our next manager has to be a crossover between a tactician like Jose and a happy go lucky Ole.

12.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 08:40:05

In games like that it would be better to be pragmatic, get a home draw nil nil, don’t concede. I watched PSG play Liverpool and they expertly beat the press through Veratti so we should see that. One of the points I have consistently made for years is that to win in Europe you have to be able to tighten up midfield. It isn’t good enough to close down opponents, you have to be able to play in triangles in and around each other, manoeuvre the ball but we have never learnt it. SAF said after the first Barcelona final defeat in 09 that he had learned, but he hadn’t. The new manager has to be able to play in a different way and be able to vary tactics, learn to control midfield in tight games or we won’t go anywhere. It isn’t just the players it is the way they are trained. We don’t seem to have ever preached midfield is the key and have too often paid the price in tight games. SAF is old school methods and we have to find a way forward from it or Europe will be the continuing frustration it always has been. We won the two SAF finals in the last minute and on penalties. Yes we entertain but to really stamp a mark in Europe and against major opponents we have to control midfield. It is why we sit with only 3 EC’s.

Why has no decision been made on a DOF? A DOF must report to the board and not Woodward or we will have more of the same.

This leads to recruitment, I keep reading we are interested in Douglas Costa, why? I may be off the mark but are agents whispering what a bargain, and our Exec VC is going for it? Is he the cheaper alternative to the real deal? This is what we have been doing, too often. There is a young exciting talent in Sancho but instead will we buy a cheap alternative that doesn’t hurt the Glazer pockets as much? . The whole situation concerns me and the Happy sounds of Ole doing nicely may be hiding reality and delaying or even preventing the changes that are really needed.

13.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 08:40:24
Great posts shappy!

14.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 09:32:24
Has anyone been watching Lukaku play lately?

15.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 09:42:14
Smashin post that Redman.

16.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 11:14:54
Excellent post Shappy.

DSG, Lukaku cannot do build up play. His touch is poor to play those intricate 1 touch passes.
Moreover, his record against top teams is unbelievably poor.

The match just showed our lack of strength in depth.

Just look at City, Jesus as backup for Aguero. Sane for Sterling. Mahrez for Bernardo etc, .
We are still a work in progress.
Atleast now we have an identity in our playing style.

Both the goals conceded by us were defensive lapses for which we cannot blame Ole much.

17.) 14 Feb 2019
14 Feb 2019 13:36:39
DSG, That's not what we did. We tried to push up, but without pace up front our players just couldn't play that way. What happened was more about the quality of PSG and what they could do to us after we lost two key players to injury rather than poor tactical choices made by our manager.

They were able to man mark Pogba because he was our only creative threat. If we man marked Verratti then Draxler or Di Maria would have created something. If we man mark all of them then they control the midfield and dictate where our players go and we still likely lose. They had too many great players for us to cope. While we didn't have enough great players to ask more questions of them.

Red man, Ole can only work with what he has. If a carpenter only has pine to work with he can't make you an oak table, no matter how clever or "tactical" he is. With the squad available he has few options and in my opinion is extracting the maximum out of the players available.

Yeah, we need to be cleverer in Europe, we need to play more triangles and move the ball quicker, we need to be braver and more patient, and we need to be calmer under pressure. All these things require footballers of a certain level. Jose wasn't wrong when he said the squad lacked quality. He probably shouldn't have said it to the press or as often as he did, But he was right in his assessment. What he did fail to say or take responsibility for was that he spent nearly half a billion pounds on players to improve the squad. Most of his signings wouldn't have been given a mark higher than 6 out of 10 under Jose. So he was to blame to a certain extent about the lack of quality available to him due to his poor signings.

Yes we need a DoF, some sources are stating that Jose himself was a problem in finding the right man. Ed002 has stated that one of the things holding up appointing the right man was finding someone who could work with Jose. So there might well be some truth in that. Either way that is behind us now, we need to find a DoF asap, but more importantly we need to find the right DoF. As hiring the wrong person could mean they do a worse job than Woodward has managed. Hard to imagine I know, but not impossible.

The club is moving forward on the pitch, but there is a lot of building required off the pitch. How well that happens will be key in determining how well we move forward and what we can achieve.