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12 Dec 2017 13:54:02
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12 Dec 2017 13:53:03
Lots of emotion after the game but let’s take a step back and consider if we have made progress.

Last year we struggled to put teams away, particularly teams that we would expect to beat at home. That hurt us badly and other than a brief spell we didn’t look like getting into the top 4. However, we won 2 Cups, including the Europa to give us the full set and also get us into this year’s Champions League. The football was better than under LVG but still not what we have come to expect. LVG finished 6th and won the FA Cup, Jose followed that by finishing 5th and winning the League and Europa Cups. So, progress but not as much as we wanted in the League.

And so to this year. Currently nobody has conceded fewer and only one team has scored more. We are a very solid second and won our Champions League group, we are also still in the League Cup with the FA Cup to come. Once again, progress it would seem.

On the positive side, we have scored a lot of goals and continually look a threat going forward. Our defence has been much more solid and when needed we have put the ‘lesser’ teams away (other than Huddersfield 🤢) . Matic has been a very very good signing, Rashford continues to get picked, as does Jesse who whilst hot and cold is starting to have a real impact. Pogba has kicked on and whilst he can be careless in possession in silly positions he is growing into a pivotal role for us.

From a less positive perspective, after a promising start Lukaku is looking a little lumpy and needs to get his confidence back quickly. I know people think Martial has improved and based on last year he has but he is still very inconsistent and often goes missing. Last year’s player of the year hasn’t had a run and when he has been picked hasn’t looked good and we’ve re-signed Ibra which still worries me in terms of how that will impact others. Ashley Young has been a revelation, Phil Jones has been very solid when fit (which is only occasionally) and DDG continues to show he is probably the world’s best.

Everyone talks about full backs and wingers but for me it is in midfield where we are losing games. We can’t seem to keep possession against better teams and we are lacking another quality CM to support PP. If we buy we’ll, and let’s be honest we haven’t always, then we should hope to continue to progress. The issue of course is that City are setting the place on fire with their start and hard as it is, we need to look at our own progress and not get hung up on their form.

As for Jose, I maintain he doesn’t seem very happy, he still wants to pick arguments all the time, and as for his reputation for improving players, it seems to be very directive and if you don’t respond then you are either dropped (Miki) or pointed to the door (Shaw) . That seems a somewhat old fashioned approach to me and as I have said before, I worry that Jose is now sat next to Arsene on the yesterday’s men couch.

There’s a long way to go and what will be will be, the stats say I should be delighted with our progress but for some reason I am not feeling great about things. Out of the top 6 I think the other 5 all play better football than us, when was the last time we could say that? Hey ho, I am sure Jose has a plan (please God, tell me he has a plan) .

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12 Dec 2017 11:05:36
Maybe we are now using the word pragmatic instead of defensive. I don't mind counter attacking and the arsenal game was thrilling, but by the end we had been under siege for large parts of the game and it took the best GK in the world to have one of his best ever games . When we defended in numbers last year people thought a new CB and a good defensive midfielder will mean we don't need attackers back so much . We get lindlehof and the excellent matic but has it really given more freedom to others in big games or do we still have the everyone back approach. When infront of our eyes we can see the amount of possession the opponent's are having is becoming an issue we need to be a bit braver or get a player who can stem the tide, offer some control and help give the opponent's problems getting the ball . Kroos comes to my mind lots of passes rarely give the ball away . I know the ed says savic and soler are the preferred options, I haven't seen to much of them does anyone know the style of players these are .

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Premier League Match Preview Tuesday 12th December 2017

12 Dec 2017 06:56:17
{Ed's Note - we have posted a new article entitled, Premier League Match Preview Tuesday 12th December 2017

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12 Dec 2017 11:28:25
Picture of Jose in the office Monday morning.

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12 Dec 2017 05:53:29
Rashford would have done better as a number 9 in that game lukaku almost did same thing against arsenal if not for De gea heroics he has so much work to do on himself I am one of his fans but he didn't help himself on Sunday first goal he allowed otamendi bully him second goal that was just heart breaking city had so much position but their goals were opportunistic and c'mon that miss by lukaku I have studied him and he hardly plays with is brain that's wat makes morata a little better than him he gave that ball straight to the keeper we won again arsenal because we were clinical I still wanna believe in lukaku but he has so much ground to make.

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12 Dec 2017 08:31:32
The meltdown is unreal on here when we lose.

This is why other teams give us a lot of stick.

The keeper made 2 outstanding saves for lukaku shots which Dave did the week b4 for us and was lauded for.

As for Rashford doing better than lukaku up top.

We created absolute nothing for lukaku to feed on. what do u expect him to do run on to 50 yard passes against 4 defenders and somehow perform miricals.

Maybe if we pushed higher and tried to attack in numbers we may have been able to give him the chances.

City's goals were stuffy but that happens unfortunately for lukaku he was that player that it happened to.

It's clear to see without pogba we lack any kind of balls in midfield. But we have progressed from last season and there is another 3 competitions we can win.

The title may be city's to loose but a mirical happened for the foxes.

Agree5 1Disagree

12 Dec 2017 02:40:40
Well after a bit of reflection.

It was a game we needed to win but a draw wouldn't have been the end of the world. I think most of us would have been satisfied with 1-1. We lost to a goal that has caused me to break a few PlayStation controllers over the years while playing FIFA.

We just have to be pragmatic. Man City, at the moment are probably the best club side in Europe. They are playing ridiculously good football. Peps got the Barcelona 09 team regens. At that time we had Fergie and Ronaldo and co and we still couldn't get near them then. 5 years before that it was the invincibles and 5 before that was the 99 team. Every now and then a team clicks and you just have to hold up your hand and say they are the best and we couldn't get near their level. Just like after the Rome and Wembley finals.

Im not sure what more Jose could have done with the players at his disposal and the form of some players. If we went gung ho we could have been embarrassed again at Old Trafford. Not because we are so poor but city could do that to anyone on their day. 11 points should be too much but it's still December. We need to plug away and see if we can make the match at the Etihad mean something.

We have a decent draw in Europe and it's all about momentum. Anyone can win a cup competition. Chin up lads. Still plenty to play for.

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12 Dec 2017 05:42:22
James they did not open us up like they did to Liverpool or play us off park like they did to Chelsea, they dominated possession and created an odd chance beyond that nothing much, mourinho shot himself in the foot by his team selection and tactics, in 2nd half we were chasing the game all he did was bring on zlatan to play 4 forwards because starting 3 were not enough while everyone could see we were getting dominated in midfield and our long ball stuff was just embarrassing thanks to the pass mastery of likes of rojo and the holdup skills of the great 75mn forward mourinho brought, they did not beat us because they were better they beat us because mourinho messed up.

Agree5 2Disagree

12 Dec 2017 08:08:21
James, I think Mou could have done much much better with the players he had at his disposal. Maybe, just maybe, City had a couple of players who are better when you head to head, but I don't think they have a squad which light years ahead of ours.

The point that CSM makes is correct, City did not scare us through open play, they didn't create a single one on one chance that opened up our defence, instead, two really shabby attempts at clearing a ball cost us.

We could have done much better. Our team was not just in our own half, we were in our final 3rd, not what you expect when you play at OT. Maybe, Mou needs to let go of the fact that he doesn't have the 'players he can trust' because trust me, a lot of managers can and will play better with the squad that United have.

I think he needs to take a hard look at himself and his tactics and understand that his 'pragmatic approach' is kind of costing us valuable points and maybe, in this case, the title.

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{Ed025's Note - i could not agree more raghay..

12 Dec 2017 09:49:23
I agree. Jose takes the blame for me this week as he got his tactics wrong and City played us like a banjo.

Too deep, too negative and not sure why we didn’t stick with the 3 at the back that’s been working?

His cautious and pragmatic approach is not a natural fit for us. It is when we win, when we lose it’s meltdown. Jose gets paid the big bucks to make these calls, so on this occasion he merits criticism as he got it wrong. As above though, this nonsense on not being able to trust players. Maybe give them some confidence and they might surprise us. On paper, our teams were pretty well matched bar Pogba’s absence.

We are making progress and with a few tweaks at full back and midfield I think we are not far off.

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12 Dec 2017 10:44:44
Good post, Raghav, mate.

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11 Dec 2017 22:05:38
The team is not complete and City's is and that was a difference. People compare what Jose and Pep spent whilst forgetting Pep inherited a far better set of players than Jose, including the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne.

Yesterday we played in a way that people didn't like. However, it was pragmatic, based on what we have. We are not the finished article, yet. I recall being 3 nil down to Arsenal under Louis and the players looking shell shocked, now they compete. Add key players, key top players and it will improve

However, I maintain the point that we haven't planned well for years and City have. Now is the time we should all watch what our owners and what Woodward does. Buying players, supporting the manager is only one thing. What are they doing about the stadium, the youth, their aims on putting the club back at the top, they need to communicate to us and about far more than the latest bootlace sponsor. Sadly I suspect more of the same from the owners. They, however, are the ones we should be putting under pressure to see improvement.

Agree5 7Disagree

12 Dec 2017 01:55:19
Redman funny of you to mention lvg, I also remember a few lvg matches like 4-2 vs city or beating Liverpool at Anfield, don't see Mourinho even attempting that, must be Woodward, Glazer and of course Saf's fault.

Do we also blame them for changing a formation that was working well, or do we them for the genius decision to bench our only cb who actually knows how to pass while asking the cb's to play long balls or let's blame them for playing a donkey who has aerial strength of a little girl and hold up skills of a little rabbit and has been rubbish against all big teams.

Agree6 2Disagree

12 Dec 2017 06:36:25
CSM

Is seem to recall a goal drought under LVG and some of the dullest football akin to Sextons era. Seems like rose tinted glasses have now moved on to LvG. To help eyesight the City and Liverpool teams are also somewhat better than they were at the time of lvg.

We won two trophies last season and are sat in second. It’s about time some realised we have no Devine right to be the best, it needs a plan, a great team with a top manager. It is tough to go from 6th to 1st but we are on a path that has seen improvements, we have world class fans but unfortunately some are world class moaners, I guess it’s the social media era. Jose had my support but I do see problems with the owners.

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12 Dec 2017 07:00:33
Did i say the football was wonderful or anything such, you talked about being 3-0 down at arsenal and not competing i just showed how we actually competed and not only competed but attacked and won against big teams especially away unlike Mourinho.

World Class moaners more like Pot Kettle Black, i remember you and kloot posting during fergie's time and then under both moyes and lvg, it was all doom and gloom and criticism be it of manager, team, owners. Now you post valid criticism of manager you get called moaners, how times change.

Agree3 2Disagree

11 Dec 2017 21:18:37
Got to admit city were the better team but we could have got a result if we had taken our chances, regarding big rom I think he gets a rough deal, no service no chances no goals, let's hold off all the praise for city until they have actually won something apart from the premiership a few times before we hail them as the best prem team ever.

Agree1 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 21:52:25
City have looked a class above all season to be fair, above everyone not just us. Aguero, Mendy and Stones missing, players like Bernardo Silva getting 2 minutes, he would be one of the first names on the team sheet for us! We need to change the type of players we are signing, the way we play and the mindset of the manager and players - everything seems to be too happy for just turning up, it isn't good enough.

We could have gotten a result of course, but I think Arsenal would be screaming the same last week, I think we used up all of our luck against them wouldn't you say?

In terms of Lukaku he is proving to be exactly as I thought and why I was so against signing him. Very hit and miss, also when he was getting goals he wasn't doing much else beside that (a bit like Zlatan last season) you need more from a central striker than just goals. So when he is missing easy chances it compounds the problems because he is unable to link properly handicapping our wide players and on the rare occasion a midfielder "dares" to risk a run forward, they are inevitable out of position when the ball is lost within 2 seconds. We also continue to hoof the ball far too much handing over possession against any half decent team.

You can win things like the CL relying on luck and the best team not always being at their best, but I'd rather go down trying to be better than them, not luckier. We were very very lucky during last seasons Europa League campaign beating teams that played much better than us on the day as well. We have been almost too lucky, which has masked a lot of frailties.

Agree2 3Disagree

11 Dec 2017 22:18:23
Lukaku's linkup and holdup play against Arsenal was very good. He was involved in all 3 goals.

In the other big games, namely Chelsea, Liverpool and City he has been feeding off scraps and has had no service since we've lost the midfield battle. We need to fix our midfield to get the best oit of Lukaku.

I thought the team was a bit top heavy against City and we could have done without one of the front 4 and having a midfield 3 instead.

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12 Dec 2017 01:59:56
Red faith his linkup play early on was good but what happened after the first 10-15 mins cannot be called as good holdup play, he was bullied in the air, his first touch could not have been worse. He is a bad signing especially for mourinho's football which requires strikers to be good at linking up play and holding the ball until support arrives.

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11 Dec 2017 19:58:16
Why aren't we focussing on the positives and how far the team has come since Jose took over?

Lingard looks a good player, Martial has started to settle in and so has Lindelof, Rashford is playing well too. It looks like we might keep De Gea now and Lukaku's linkup play has improved a lot since his Everton days. We're 2nd in the league and I can see us making the UCL semis.

That's great progress by Jose from where he found the team. He's addressing each problem area one by one.

Agree5 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 20:23:42
We also have a good defense now with Bailly and Lindelof both comfortable on the ball. We know Jose wants to bring in a new left back with Sandro and Danny Rose being linked. He also wants a midfielder or two. Milinkovic Savic and Carlos Soler, both highly rated young players are the ones we seem to be targeting. He has clearly identified that we need a winger too as the interest in Perisic shows. The ed has suggested that we might replace Zlatan with Lewandowski at the end of the season.

I'd be happy with those 4-5 signings. We need to look at the malaise Moyes and LVG left us in while we evaluate progress. People keep bleating on about defensive football, yet this team is much better than last year and way better than LVG's 70% possession 0 chances created borefest. I quite like the counter attacking style and most people before the City game would have said we've played well this season.

Its going to take a few more signings for Jose to have the squad he needs to perform at a high level consistently and not be overly dependent on Pogba in midfield.

Agree5 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 21:22:20
You see the glass as half full, some see it as half empty. Take Sterling as an example. He is currently in the form of his life and we can only surmise that is down to his Manager. You name some of our players playing well although Lukaku is stretching it a bit. As for Martial, Shaw, Miki, is it not up to Jose to get the best out of them? Martial has been very inconsistent, Jesse has had bright moments but not a run of them. Herrera has regressed, Lukaku currently looks out of his depth. The feel of the club isn’t great and that’s because bolshy Jose seems to want to find an argument all the time.

Last year we were 6th and struggled against ‘lower’ teams. This year we are comfortably second so that is clear progress but it doesn’t always feel like it. I guess the stats speak for themselves, 2nd highest scorers and nobody has conceded fewer. The next window or two will be critical but I don’t see that Rose or Perisic take us to the next level.

There has clearly been some over reacting to Sunday’s defeat but take a step back, like it or not, City are setting the standard right now both on and off the pitch.

Agree3 3Disagree

11 Dec 2017 22:16:15
AJH,

Jose has made Martial a better player imo. His positioning and timing has improved and he also works harder defensively now.

Lingard whenever he plays CAM plays well imo.

Lukaku's linkup play is much better than at Everton. Everyone is talking of Sterling but it took pep a year and a half to get the beat out of him. Surely Jose deserves that much with Lukaku?

City's defense is not better than ours. We have the better keeper. And you can argue that we have the better strikers or its evens.

Where they beat us hands down is midfield quality. De Bruyne, Silva, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Sterling and Sane coming in centrally are all better than what we have. Only Pogba can make a case to get into their midfield.

But since midfield is where games are controlled from it seems as though they are way better than us, when in fact we have the better keeper, the better defense and probably a better attack too.

If we buy a couple of midfielders, maybe a winger and a stable left back I'm sure we can go toe to toe with them.

Agree2 2Disagree

11 Dec 2017 23:32:22
I’d rather have Aguero and Jesus than Lukaku and ibra.

Ibra was a waste of sub every game so far.

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12 Dec 2017 09:55:07
Martial, Jones, Pogba, Fellaini, Young, Valencia, Lingard, Rojo, Herrera (last season) all massively improved under Jose.

Shaw is a busted flush and needs to be sold. Lukaku will come good and Rashford is young and inconsistent. Others don’t seem to either have the right attitude or just aren’t good enough. Miki, Darmian etc.

Agree0 1Disagree

12 Dec 2017 10:55:32
Eric, I'll give you Lingard and Young, but the others?

Martial improved on his first season? I still think he'll turn out to be a class player, but I wouldn't say he's improved since his first season, though I do expect him to improve no matter what manager comes in. Jones and Rojo are good players, who haven't been able to show their true worth, due to injuries and/ or being played out of position. Fellaini has been played all over the place since he was bought, limiting his effectiveness at times, together with the ridiculous way he was treated by some so-called fans. Valencia has been a good, solid player for years, but improving in the last one and a half seasons? And by your own admission, Herrera has gone backwards this season.

Just think you're stretching José's powers of improvement a wee bit there, mate. I also still believe Shaw is going to be a top left back, either with us or another club.

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11 Dec 2017 16:53:59
Some of the "Balance of power has shifted" posts seem a bit over the top and a bit embarrassing to me. City are simply a year further along in their project than we are imo. We need a midfielder or two, a winger and maybe a full back but the rest of the team IS solid.

We have the wingers and strikers to hurt any team out there, its just a matter of having a midfield that can get the ball to them. Our defense is solid too and we have the best keeper in the world.

The last 3 years have produced 3 different winners in the League. We're the closest to City right now and with a couple of additions in midfield and maybe a winger we will be just as good. We will address those areas in the next couple of windows.

The team is showing inconsistency right now without Pogba and we are too reliant on him in midfield.

Some of the posts about Lukaku too are getting embarrassing. What was he supposed to do feeding on all those scraps? His linkup play was excellent against Arsenal.

Agree9 3Disagree

11 Dec 2017 17:42:46
The first half we were too defensive but once City had scored I thought we were the equal of them. All 3 goals were the result of blunders, and, unfortunately for Lukaku both of the ones we conceded were pretty much down to him. He was beaten to the header for the first and it was his clearance that led to the second. Besides that there was no better build up or chance than the one he missed from point blank range. So, I really don't think anyone can argue against the idea that much of the blame for yesterday's loss, if it has to be assigned, would be fairly put at Lukaku's feet. I'm sure he will be thinking the same. And if top players are judged by their performances in top games then Lukaku didn't stake his claim yesterday.

At the moment he seems to be so intent to blast the ball that he's sacrificing the awareness and finesse that's sometimes needed in front of goal. He's probably trying too hard. Like Pogba I expect him to have a better second season than first.

Looking at the penalty claim, I don't think it was stone cold, but it certainly could have been given.

Overall 0-0 or 1-1 would have reflected the game fairly based on the number of golden chances created, rather than conceded, by the two sides,

Agree2 2Disagree

11 Dec 2017 18:49:07
Redfaith. City came to old Trafford and played us off the park. They had 75% possession. These stats are what United get when we're playing some 3rd division side in the FA cup. Are you seriously suggesting that we're close to them. They're 11 points ahead of us and it's the 11th of December for God's sake.
They play controlled football while our lot just boot it up there and hope for the best. You say we're short of a winger a left back and two midfielders. I'll add a tricky striker to that. And that's 5 players which is half an outfield team. They started planning this in 2012 while we've been messing around for the past 5 years.
Like every great empire, we got complacent. We thought we can bring in Moyes, a humble man who can be ruled by Woodward and the owners and everything will be fine as we'll finish in top4. The stupid and arrogant plan misfired spectacularly in their yank faces. They then panicked into getting lvg when everyone knew is past his best. After a boringly predictable outcome he got sacked. And now we have Jose, intent on playing outdated football with ultra defensive tactics that have only resulted in 3 wins against our top rivals in 13 attempts.
Are you seriously trying to tell us that by this time next year, we would have improved sufficiently to compete with the top teams? I don't share your optimism.
I do agree that the criticism of Lukaku is over the top. The supply to him is non existent.

Agree3 3Disagree

11 Dec 2017 18:49:29
Sorry Shawthing but you were watching a different match to me and most unbiased fans, football journalists and pundits. I speak as a passionate Utd fan but have to say well done City. They were by far the better team yesterday on chances created possession and the way they played.

Agree1 2Disagree

11 Dec 2017 19:56:19
They had 65% possession and yet how many clear chances did they create? Our downfall was poor defending at set pieces, not City's supposedly amazing football which produced precious little even though they had so much possession.

The reason they had so much possession? They had a better midfield! Hence we need to buy a midfielder or two to help us get control of the game.

Had we had Pogba in the team and gone with a 4-3-3 they would not have had the spaces to play in that they got.

When City's wingers tuck in along with a 3 man midfield it makes it very difficult for a midfield 2 of Herrera and Matic to control the game. It was obvious they dominated possession. It doesn't concern me that they did.

What concerned me was that we didn't transition into counters quick enough. Smalling and Rojo aren't good on the ball and that makes it difficult along with a just two man midfield to being the ball out hence the clearances rather than patiently building the game.

Agree5 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 20:53:11
It saddens me a little, that we depend so much on one midfielder.

Agree0 0Disagree

12 Dec 2017 06:53:56
One midfielder that is just as likely to have a poor game as a good game - sums us up, we've built a house of cards and the key card is a massive gamble every game.

He has had more poor games for us than good ones as well, so who knows which Pogba would have turned up had he been available! It's no excuse, they had 3 very important players not playing we had one!

Agree0 0Disagree

11 Dec 2017 16:39:06
I think the league is gone now.

The game was purely and simply lost in midfield. We had too many players furtherforward waiting to counter but nobody in midfield to start it off. A priority for the January window should be a midfielder. We look completely hopeless without Pogba.

After looking at the UCL draw I have a feeling that Jose can pull something special off for us in the Champions League. He's beaten better teams with a worse Inter Milan before and he can do it again with a much better United squad. We need a little bit of midfield padding for sure. There is nobody better than Jose in one off knockout games. One of Real and PSG will be out, Chelsea are deadly on the counter with Hazard and they always do well against Barcelona. Bayern aren't the force they once were.

It could be a repeat of last season's European campaign for us where we knew we couldn't do much in the league and focussed on Europe and won. We might just sail through with the likes of PSG, Real, City, Barcelona having to face each other while we just have to win that one big tie.

Agree6 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 18:51:41
Yesterday was a one off game in that it was one by common consent we had to win. We didn't and our midfield was nowhere to be seen creatively wise. We need to do more than just pad out our midfield. We need a top left back and at least one top class winger too.

Agree0 1Disagree

11 Dec 2017 18:52:49
Redfaith. Agreed that we need one if not two midfielders but January is not a good time to buy them.
I think we'll progress past sevilla and I think we're a good cup team. But I don't think we're capable of beating psg real Barcelona Bayern juve or even city over two legs. So I think quarter finals will be as far as we get.

Agree1 2Disagree

11 Dec 2017 20:05:39
Attack Attack Attack.

We're more than capable of beating half the teams in that draw. We are simply better than them on paper. I expect us to reach the semis and then it really comes to down to experience. Jose is the best in the business, still, at knockout games.

I would fancy our chances against a Bayern or a Juve for eg in the semis and I don't see PSG as a fully settled side either. I expect that City will have run away with the league, we will be firmly second and both the Manchester clubs will focus on Europe.

If we can get a midfielder in January I believe we have what it takes.

Agree1 0Disagree

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