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23 May 2018 03:59:58
Liverpool fan here, i’d heard enough about the bickering on here regarding Mourinho, toxic fans etc from Ed002 so thought i would have a gander. And without trying to open a can of worms, will try to throw my most likely unwanted opinion on it into the mix.

I think the notion that the style of football being the problem is a bit of a stretch. Everyone would like to see great football but take it from me, I would have given an arm and a leg to have won the trophies you did last season, and it is why I am so nervous going into Saturday.

The real crux of this bizarre debate is that there have been plenty of successful, pragmatic teams and you won’t hear their fans moaning about style of play. Atletico, Chelsea, almost every Italian team ever, even some of the united sides have been very defensively compact and won the league without scoring a shed tonne of goals. And nobody complains about them, right? There is nothing wrong with going 1 or 2 nil up and then confidently seeing out a result.

That’s not to say I don’t think there is a massive problem here, I just think that’s it isn’t necessarily the style of play as such. I’d say that rather it’s because the whole situation is a totally unorganised mess.

League position aside, you can always tell when a side is progressing or when the manager is doing a decent job, regarding the success/ suitability of players signed, improvement of players currently in the squad, and generally a clear vision of what he is trying to achieve and the creases that they are aiming to iron out. And although many are quick to point out that the league doesn’t lie and yes, United finished second above Liverpool and and spurs, there is a very real sense that this does not equate to a side with direction and making progress.

All of these things do not apply to United at the moment; José has a wealth of talent in a variety of positions and he is almost certainly not getting the best out of anyone. Rashford, martial, mata, Pogba, all players with fantastic ability who are all going gradually backwards. Even the players who are not doing a great job, the likes of Smalling, Jones etc a manager who is doing well will surely work with what he has and improve them somewhat, something Klopp, pochettino and even Guardiola have managed in spades, keeping squad harmony together, as opposed to Mourinho who effectively seems to bully them and be at constant war with half his players. The reason the negative football is a problem isn’t because it is negative, its because a club with the amount of talent at its disposal such as Manchester United should not be going into games against rivals seemingly playing for draws, or going out or the champions league on a whimper because the players looked almost terrified of attacking, for fear of being told off. Clubs of the size of United, the Bayern’s, Madrid’s and Barcelonas of this world would not accept this. So why should united accept a manager who will seemingly never stop moaning or playing in such a pathetic style until he has replaced every player in the squad 5 times over?

This somewhat leads into my second point, which I will try to make without causing offence. A club of the size and resources of Manchester United should accepting such a ridiculous proposition that some seem to portray, that united are some kind of underdog fallen on hard times looking to get back on their feet. As much as it pains me to say it Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world, rivalled only by Barcelona and Madrid, and have the ability to effectively go out and buy whoever they want. Make no mistake, United have been the envy of the league since Fergie left and almost every one of your signings since then has left me quaking, left me feeling that it will see a return to the United of old, only for all of them to be horribly mismanaged or flat out disappoint. Mata, Depay, Di Maria, falcao, martial, Matic, Herrera, Lukaku, Bailly, lindelof, sanchez, hell I even remember a load of Liverpool fans fuming that we hadn’t moved for Rojo or blind, and what a distant memory that now seems. These are some very good, even great players, and you have been signing them in spades, with the ability to go out and get more in the summer as is likely. If Liverpool had beaten you to the signing of Alexis Sanchez, we would probably have had an open top bus parade and released a dvd in celebration, yet for united fans it did not even take you by surprise, almost as if it was Groundhog Day and sanchez’ failure to perform was almost imminent. Make no mistake, with the signings you have made and are capable of making, there is no excuse for any manager to be dissatisfied, whether it is Van Gaal, Mourinho or whoever comes next, and this veil of deceit that Mourinho has created that he is somehow not underperforming and is hard done by with a long road ahead, is embarrassing and total BS.

Now lastly onto big Jose himself, and this is what I think really sets apart any notion that he needs time and toxics are ruining United. I personally thought that the way Van Gaal was treated was disgusting, but if Mourinho is hounded out of the club by a toxic atmosphere then he only has himself to blame. Let’s take his his goals as a manager somewhat out of the equation, and look at his actual conduct as Manchester United manager, because it is, in a word, indefensible. The guy is so arrogant, so self obsessed, I am genuinely convinced he would pick a certain team just to prove his critics wrong and not to win. His treatment of certain players, such as shaw, has been disgusting, and the likes of martial and Rashford are looking to potentially leave. Even if you are dividing the fans with results on the pitch, the least you can do is not bully the players and derail their careers. I’d even read that he had blamed Lukaku for being injured for the final and was thinking of selling Bailly because he has fallen out with him as well! He is legitimately now beginning to replace his own signings because he has fallen out with them too?! How many more will he be allowed to make before replacing them? Style of play aside, on a purely day to day basis of enjoying the job, who would want to join up with this united side right now? And I am sure there will be apologists on here saying it’s all the players fault and they all have bad attitudes, but the proof was in the pudding at Chelsea, where his behaviour was equally unacceptable and the players rightfully hounded him out.

The most successful managers will cultivate a sense of togetherness in a squad, will unite the fans with a clear vision and improve their team man for man. Can you honestly say Mourinho is achieving any of this at the moment? There is an awful lot of cracks being papered over and an awful lot of excuses being made for him. And although I’m sure I will get stick for this, De Gea is most definitely José mourinhos managerial duct tape. I’m almost certain that if Liverpool and united swapped goalkeepers, their league positions would be reversed. De Gea is covering up for mourinhos deficiencies in the same way Suarez covered up for Rodgers, and should he go to Madrid this summer, I would expect a significant points drop off next season. So, I ask for his apologists, if Mourinho is to be given time in the same vein of Ferguson, how many more mega money signings do you think it will take for him to achieve his vision, and if so, what is his vision? And that even if this vision is close to being realised, is it worth the cost of losing so many of your brightest talents due to unrest, or Mourinho causing discontent with both fans and players due to his behaviour?

Anonymous Woolback

1.) 23 May 2018 04:58:34
A well written post but I would like to point out some of your logical fallacies and how the narrative would look if the same logic was applied to Liverpool or Spurs who seem to be the media darlings atm and get a free ride.

1. De Gea is the "duct tape" over Mourinho's management. The same can be said for Salah and Klopp, and Pochetino and Kane. If Salah were to leave this summer for Real Madrid I would expect Liverpool to finish outside the top 4. If Spurs were to lose Harry Kane to Real Madrid I would expect them to finish outside the top 4.

Such arguments make no sense. Every team has their world class players that bail them out on off days.

2. "Cohesive atmosphere" and "a club of United's resources should be winning more". The atmosphere is dictated by expectations created by the media. Klopp has spent almost as much as Mourinho and till now has nothing to show for it. The fact is that Liverpool and Spurs aren't expected to win by the media and even slightly above mediocre is sung with praises. Poch's teams have time and again failed when it mattered and they don't play any more attractive football than Jose's United. For United 2nd place, round of 16 UCL and a FA cup final loss will be dressed as failure while no improvement in the league for either Spurs or Liverpool will still be considered a success even if Liverpool lose the final.

Its all about how the media portrays things and how that dictates fan mentality. Also United have to pay more for the same player than Spurs would. Klopp has embarrassed Liverpool by tapping players up. Ultimately, success is what breeds a good atmosphere.

3. You seem to completely ignore where Jose started from. A team that had no character, was devoid of confidence and out of the UCL. From there we have come to round of 16 in the UCL, FA cup final, 2nd place finish and two trophies won already. I can see the direction he is taking us in. Its that consistency that is lacking. We played some great stuff at the start of the season and the performances against the top 6 in the second half were excellent. We were let down by inconsistency and complacency by the players against lower opposition.

That is why Jose seems to talk about the character of the players and is trying to get a reaction out of them.

You seem to have seen a different United side of SAF from 06-09. That team didn't dominate the game against top 4 sides or UCL away at all. The approach was always to defend well and hit the opposition on the counter. That team was reliant on Vidic, Rio, Evra and Brown with Carrick sitting in front of them to defend well. The philosophy in Europe away was the same. Defend well and punish mistakes counter with pace and knick an away goal.

Its no different than what Jose is trying to do now. That team was just more clinical and ruthless and that's what Jose wants from his attackers and why he is so frustrated with Martial and Rashford and to an extent Lingard who aren't efficient and are very wasteful. I believe we are 1-2 players in midfield / attack away from getting there.

4. I would argue that Jose has gotten some good performances out of the likes of young, smalling, Jones, lingard. Lukaku's improvement in holdup play is clear to see. The signing of Matic brought much needed midfield stability. There's been lots of positives. We've started coming back to win games from losing positions again against tough opposition.

Klopp meanwhile still hasn't managed to fix the defense and goalkeeping issues although the attack is better. Pochetino has still not managed to address the choking when it matters of that Spurs team and gets tactically outclassed in big games.

5. Jose will sell the players who go hiding and rightly should. We're a much better squad now since Jose arrived. We have improved in all aspects of the game.

To conclude I would say that its a matter of perspective. I think we've significantly improved and are only going to get better.

2.) 23 May 2018 07:39:57
Well said Redfaith well said.
I’d reserve my comments till after the CL final. Let’s see.

3.) 23 May 2018 08:03:03
War and Peace anyone 😆😆.

4.) 23 May 2018 08:38:36
Redfaith - Well written rebuttle mate, but on your points:

1 - Agree completely every team has a star, ours happens to be the GK
2 - Totally disagree, expectations are note created by the media, they are created by comparing resources, prestige, football on show. Obviously the media will completely sway some sheep, but I think it's fair to say most fans will form their opinion and the media will either reinforce it or will become irrelevant.
3 - Jose inherited a problem, but he has time and resources to fix it. Does our team have any more character now? Do we look more like a team? We have performed better results wise, but wouldn't you expect that with a few hundred million to spend?
4 - LVG had our mediocre players playing well, Jose has done the same as him. Our star players on the otherhand have looked mediocre, exactly the same as under LVG. No improvement in that regard for me, just more cover for the defence and less possession.
5 - We are a better squad simply in terms of re-sale value because we have spent more money. We look just as devoid as ideas now as ever, our team is all over the place.

I think we have improved results wise, but that is expected with the money thrown at the problem. Our game has not improved performance wise, we look lost. We may improve under Jose, but only if he can spend his way to improvement, his coaching and ideas on the game need a lot to be desired in this day and age. I feel that there are a great many managers that would get more from this squad as is, Klopp is certainly one of them.

5.) 23 May 2018 08:42:16
Excellent post, very well written and insightful. It's very interesting to see out situation from the perspective of someone from the outside looking in.

The only thing I would slightly disagree with is that style isn't that important. I think is is vital to our club for far more than just the aesthetics. We have a proud history of giving young players a chance and maintaining having at least one homegrown player in our match day squad for over 80 years. I think the style of play is very important in creating an atmosphere where young players can express themselves without fear, where they can make mistakes and learn from them. Defensive pragmatic football doesn't really allow for this. That is why I feel style of play is so important at our club.

Other than that, there isn't anything I can disagree with. Thank you for taking the time to write that we'll written post.

6.) 23 May 2018 09:02:12
Very well written post woolback. Respect for coming on here and writing a well reasoned post instead of being immature. Always great to hear what opposition fans think. Don’t agree with all that you have said but I can definitely see where you are coming from. I’m not going to say good luck on Saturday because if you guys win I’m going offline till the beginning of next season 😂.

7.) 23 May 2018 09:07:45
Top post redfaith agree with all of that.

8.) 23 May 2018 15:16:29
Good post, Woolback. But I would have to add that our defensive style does not deserve to be compared to that of Atletico Madrid. They defend with some great pressing, have a fighting spirit that Simeone has instilled throughout the squad, and they look they love to fight tooth and nail on every last possession to win the ball back. In contrast, under Mourinho, we are far more passive defensively, until we are sitting deep in our final third. Otherwise, I agree with your analysis of Mourinho 100%.




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23 Apr 2019 12:34:20
GDS2 is right, it is all irrelevant, how foolish of us to forget that football began in 1992.

Anonymous Woolback



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18 Dec 2018 14:23:16
If Manchester United get Zidane in an effort to ‘get the best’ out of the glorified youtube freestyler that is Paul. Pogba because of instagram followers, and then your club is truly dead. You guys need to build from the ground up and Pogba has to be out the door. I personally also think you will go for Blanc as caretaker and the go for Poch, whether that will be successful as an approach is debatable. You need someone like Hiddink to raise the mood of the players and just get them to play with some freedom til the end of the season, maybe even someone with Champions League winning credentials, seeing as its the only thing left to play for.

Anonymous Woolback

{Ed002's Note - It is nothing to do with Pogba.}



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14 Oct 2018 15:35:51
It would seem that Michael Edwards has taken on that role for us Ed002; how would you say he has done since taking over from Ian Ayre?

Anonymous Woolback

{Ed002's Note - He is not a football person per se and neither was Ian Ayre, so you are not confirming like for like AW.}