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20 May 2018 18:46:29
Once the dust settles and the disappointment subsides we can reflect on the game in a more rational manner.

The game panned out more or less as I expected. A tense, cagey, unexciting spectacle which was always destined to be won by the odd goal or a penalty shoot out.

In terms of our defensive play I thought we handled them pretty well. I was surprised when they played an extra midfielder which effectively meant we only had Hazard to deal with. De Gea was a spectator for most of the game and they carried very little threat. Such games are often decided by the big players or mistakes and whilst Jones was culpable of some pretty awful defending I'd also have to question the shape of the team that allowed their only attacking treat to the receive the ball on the counter with acres of space to run into. Herrera's positioning must be questioned especially as he was tasked with the job of man marking Hazard or certainly being close to him in the transitions in order to stop the counter attack. Ultimately Hazard produced the games one moment of quality, leaving Jones for dead and expertly converting the penalty.

It's easy to label Jones as the fall guy but after returning from a long injury he didn't quite look match fit in either body or mind. The way Hazard effortlessly accelerated past him was embarrassing and he should never have been afforded so much space to run into. I think Jones is a decent defender but he's still prone to individual mistakes and I've never been convinced that the Jones/ Smalling axis is our best defensive partnership.

Since Sanchez arrived we have lacked penetration and he has played far too deep. He has often congested the midfield occupying Pogba's space and without runners in front of him he's been relatively anonymous. Yesterday was no exception.

What we desperately lack is width, somebody to make the pitch bigger, somebody that can dribble the ball with pace, commit and beat defenders and supply quality crosses into the box for Lukaku. To be honest Martial provides this threat and was our brightest attacking outlet when he came on but he's been marginalised, maligned and cast aside by a manager that seemingly has little patience for young players still learning the game and searching for consistency.

I've read press speculation linking us with a move for William but I think this would be a mistake. He's plays a very similar role to Sanchez, he likes to play inside, often dropping deep to receive the ball, this would congest the midfield even further and complicate Pogba's role in the team even more.

I'm not sure which direction Mourinho is taking us. I don't see an evolution in our style of play and whilst I think his signings have been good in terms of quality there appears to be no forward thinking about how they all fit together.

In hindsight I think Sanchez may turn out to be a poor acquisition, especially if it's at the expense of Martial. What we really needed is a right winger to complete our attack. That's been the problem position all season. If we'd have looked to recruit a really top class right winger, one capable of scoring goals and assisting Lukaku then that would have relieved the burden on the likes of Martial and Rashford, allowed them time to develop meaning their off days would less important as others take up the slack.

I expect more of the same next season. The only way we can judge Mourinho is by his results. We can be encouraged by a better league campaign but finishing 20 points behind City whilst playing some pretty dire stuff certainly isn't enough for the swelling anti Jose brigade to be placated. The success of our season ultimately came down to one game and the means didn't justify the ends. Jose failed to deliver and I think our season can be best described in these three words "must do better".

Wishing you all a great summer, hopefully England can provide us with some much need entertainment (although I won't hold my breath) and we'll see what the summer transfer window and next season brings. All the best.

DLIB

1.) 21 May 2018 06:12:26
DLIB - I agree, as a team we look lost with no obvious plan to our game, we have so much possession but it's all in safe positions.
For the goal I thought Jones's starting position was poor and once he was squared up it was no contest, Hazard was through.
I think your judgement on Jose's signings is spot on, how many of them can be classed as a success.
With José at the helm I think we can sum up next season now, 'more of the same'. Will it be enough to see him as our manager by the end of the season, only time will tell.


 

 

18 May 2018 19:30:18
On the eve of the FA Cup final I have a foreboding feeling of deja vu.

Just like last season we enter our final game wondering if the ends will justify the means. Our season once again balanced precariously on a single game.

Win and most will be happy with a other trophy to swell our cabinet. A win will go along way in masking a generally arduous, tedious and frustrating season. A win helps to forge a stronger mentality into the squad and provides more evidence to both the players and the fans that Jose methods are successful if not pretty. A win ends the season on a high, provides optimism for next year and we can look forward to the World Cup and summer transfer window safe in the knowledge that Jose has delivered success in consecutive seasons. The experience of winning big games can only bode well for the future and maybe we can dare to believe that if Jose actually gets it right we might just become a force to be reckoned with once again.

A defeat however would have the opposite effect. Nothing to show for a largely joyless campaign littered with sobering defeats and performances. Progress undoubtedly made in terms of points gained and goals scored but stagnant with regard to style or patterns of play. Star names under performing, humbling chastisements for players and fans alike, bizarre statements and self proclamation. It's been a funny old year.

So now our season hangs in the balance. Once last 90 minute examination. One final push for glory. Let's hope Jose does what Jose does best. Gets the job done one way or another.

DLIB

1.) 18 May 2018 19:42:36
David de gea said during the week, second isn't good enough for Manchester United, you don't win anything for trophy for that.
He said we have to win the fa cup.
I agree with you Dave.


2.) 18 May 2018 20:35:25
I remember from the 76 final, back then when you won the cup it was seen as a springboard to a title challenge the following season. It isn’t like that anymore and to be honest was never really true anyway.

Enjoy the day, win is great but a loss is not the end of the world in the great scheme of things. This is ultimately a one off, just relax and enjoy, I have seen us win and lose, FA Cups on TV and stood/ sat at Wembley. Don’t read too much into it.


3.) 18 May 2018 21:34:53
Very true Redman maybe I was being a touch dramatic.

Anyway I'll be down there tomorrow supporting the boys.


4.) 18 May 2018 22:25:29
I think it's very clear, a win and Jose gets another year, a loss and he should be sacked. Lol.


5.) 18 May 2018 23:09:41
Shappy - What if it's 0-0 and we win on pens does he still deserve another year then? 😉 Lol.


6.) 19 May 2018 00:03:00
Red Man, I would have thought as a man of a certain vintage, you would appreciate the importance of the FA Cup, rather than being quite blasé about it. Seems like someone's downplaying the importance just in case José comes up short. Personally, I think we'll stuff them. Worst Chelsea team in years, with obvious schisms in the team, and between the players and the manager. If we can't win tomorrow, there's something wrong. I can't wait. Love FA Cup Final day.

Good post by the way, DLIB.


7.) 19 May 2018 00:41:15
I would sack Jose win or lose.


8.) 19 May 2018 05:15:47
Nou

As a man of “certain vintage” as you put it (not been referred to like that before) I appreciate the FA Cup for the great competition it is. Make no mistake I want to win, winning is what it is all about and will be gutted if we lose, however over the many years of supporting it brings perspective. If the team comes up short it doesn’t mean the end of the club just we start aiming for next season. If we win it doesn’t automatically mean a title challenge, in case you forgot we have sacked two managers after winning it so why would I be “downplaying it” in case we lose?


9.) 19 May 2018 08:08:28
Good post redman and dilb.


10.) 19 May 2018 09:26:46
Great debate, I love the Cup but it does seem to have lost some lustre in recent years. Semi finals at Wembley doesn’t work for me either. Let’s hope it’s a great game and we play with freedom. If we do, I think we will do them.


 

 

16 May 2018 00:26:09
Fascinating MNF with G. Nev and Pep Guardiola absolutely loved getting an insight into the mind of our great adversary.

Forget the beautiful free flowing football or tactics the single most important factor I took away from that program was Pep said his players had to be humble and they had to run. They all play for each other and they all run. Nobody is good enough to think that the other players will do their work for them. If they don't run they don't play, they come and sit on the bench next to me.

I've always been a big advocate that the best teams always work the hardest. The best teams have desire and intensity to their game and understand that victory never comes without blood, sweat and tears. Pep used the word humble which I think is a brilliant word. If you can't even outwork the best teams then what chance do you have?

This is an area where I feel we've been sorely lacking since Fergi retired. We've lost our hunger, our desire, our commitment. How many times have we just let the game dangerously drift towards full time? How many times have we witnessed our team come sprinting out of the blocks, putting the opposition under pressure from minute one? Didn't we almost go a full season without scoring a first half goal under LVG?

We've become a team of entitled brats, players on inflated wages, unprofessional, hiding.

We all wanted the answer about how well Pogba, Martial or Shaw would perform in a Pep team well tonight I think we've got the answer. They'd all be sat next to him on the bench without a significant change in attitude.

This is why Sanchez plays ahead of Martial, why Pogba was dropped in favour of an inexperienced academy graduate and why Shaw can't displace a veteran converted winger from the team. This is why Miki was sold to Arsenal.

Match the opposition for effort and your quality will win the game. Sadly this wasn't the case against Huddersfield, Brighton, Newcastle, WBA to name but a few.

Jose is right there is an attitude problem at our Club and it's holding us back.

DLIB

1.) 16 May 2018 01:21:34
Great Post DLIB, some good points there. Do you think Mourinho can restore the necessary desire and work ethic?


2.) 16 May 2018 01:44:55
DLIB great post 👍.


3.) 16 May 2018 03:52:00
Yes. Agree with everything you just said. I think Pogba can get there, but he needs to grow up, he could even be a future captain, but not with his current attitude. Or fitness level.

Martial and Shaw, like Miki will not get there.

And for everyone who is angered by that, just watch David Silva, Sterling, Sane, Sanchez, Giggs, Beckham etc etc they know/ knew they had to earn the right to play football. It is the minimum requirement.


4.) 16 May 2018 05:33:25
DLIB - only one problem with your analysis about why Martial etc were dropped, Pogba has walked back into the team still showing no signs of working hard. Wait until Saturday and see if the hard working McTominay is playing or the 'name' Pogba who strolls through games plays.
Gary Nev summed Pogba up best when he said he plays as if the team is winning 3-0 when in fact the score is 0-0. José may well be right about the attitude at the club but his stellar signing Pogba is one of the worst offenders.
I get fed up with everything being the players fault, how many players have played to their capabilities this season, DeGea, Lukaku possibly. José is paid a vast amount of money to get the players to perform and the weekly dross that we have become accustomed to is as much his fault as the players.
Before we get the usual excuses for José about the poor squad he inherited, assess how all of his signings have performed, why are his players not performing.


 

 

12 May 2018 12:49:48
As the curtain closes on another Premier League season it's a frustratingly difficult one to assess.

The optimist's will point to progression, our highest league position since Sir Alex retired, win tomorrow and we'll break the 80 point barrier, 25 league wins, 18 clean sheets and finishing second above L'pool, Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal can be considered a decent campaign especially with an FA Cup final to look forward to and possibly more silverware to add to the cabinet, however many of us feel disappointed and disillusioned.

Some will argue that the football has been poor, disjointed, lacking rhythm, intensity and often overly cautions and boring. Supporting Utd this season has been a tough slog, joyless and unentertaining. Fall outs with players, harsh public criticism, self proclamation, a refusal to accept responsibility, constant team changes, no settled formation, sullen, fractious press conferences and flirtations with other Clubs have led some to question whether Jose is the correct man to take us forward.

I see merit in both arguments and have fell into both camps at various points throughout the season, Optimism often turning to despair and vice versa.

I think since Sir Alex retired we have lost our cavalier spirit and confidence. We often look consumed with doubt and paralysed by fear. Our football has lacked courage and belief and become almost robotic.

I am enthused by our results, I do see progress but I also see all the other stuff as well. I think at this time we need stability and despite the poor football I think the results should buy Jose more time.

Looking forward to next season I'd love to see a fresh approach. There is a time and a place for tactical, pragmatic stuff but football is a simple game. We have good players, sometimes all that's needed are simple words, encouragement and trust. Your better, go out and win the game. Be brave, be confident, trust in one another, express yourself, match their effort and your quality will win the game.

Come on Jose is doesn't always have to be a tactical slog. Cheer up you've got the best job in football. Meet us halfway and let us be entertained again.

DLIB

1.) 12 May 2018 14:02:04
Good post dlib. Sure we have improved plenty. This season in the league we have overtaken Liverpool Chelsea arsenal and spurs. Despite the lack if depth in the squad and poor options in a few positions.
Some players are doing very well others are good for a game bad the next game. I hope the football improves when we get in some proper full backs and strengthen in midfield.
Good positional improvement no real consistent football improvement. If we win the cup we will have had a good season. Lose the final it will have been an average season.
We beat every team In the league this season so we are not too far away. But we are not close to being entertainers yet.


2.) 12 May 2018 14:39:01
Yeah kind of how I feel Ken!

I just have a niggling feeling that it won't really matter who we sign if there isn't a slight change in approach.

I've nothing against tactical, pragmatic football in the big games but the rest of the time we must be braver, play with more intensity, work harder and not let games just drift by.

I'm still not convinced we're ready to mount a serious challenge next season and in reality I don't expect Jose to change. Having said that I think there was an impressive stat that I read recently that we've won every league game when we've took the lead. I think it was something like 20 games so in theory if we can start quicker and get in front I suppose it's possible.

I think the main problem is we don't really know what we're going to get. A slow start, more public spats, fallings out and implosion is almost as likely as us stringing a consistent run of games together.


3.) 12 May 2018 14:42:01
Dlib nice post, a well balanced view.

Despite positive results and a high placed finish, there were too many major lows this season, making things all too joyless. That's based on performances on the pitch as well as from Jose.

A mobile, intelligent central midfielder and two attacking full backs this summer, coupled with a more positive, energetic approach and we'll be happier fans all round.


4.) 12 May 2018 23:33:29
Wonderful post DLIB.


 

 

10 May 2018 22:11:23
Newsflash - I now get more excitement from eating a bag of Revels.

DLIB

1.) 10 May 2018 22:36:49
This is why I’m not renewing next year and took the decision back in December and very much stand by it. I know my protest will make zero difference, but no longer willing to part my cash for this tripe. I have more fun at work and that’s the truth. I love Utd, but not willing to pour my hard earned funds into the club in its current guise anymore.


2.) 10 May 2018 22:44:08
I knew we would draw today. I reckon it is the end of Martial don't think he would be staying. Rashford is a lucky boy because he is a local lad and will be given chances.

Like Ed004 says below there is going to be some big changes this year. The team needs a kick up the ass in attitude.

{Ed004's Note - Its the attitudes that's annoying me. We need to be building our team around the likes of Bailly, Herrera, Lukaku, Sanchez etc who get stuck in and leave it all on the pitch. I still don't think we are a team others fear playing against. Hopefully we see it next season. Push 10 yards further up the pitch and play with intensity from the offset. If we are leading then sit back and counter at pace}


3.) 10 May 2018 22:59:13
Thats exactly it Ed. A lot of these players are talented and even the ones on the bench have talent but thy obviously have issues with attitude or don't give a Sh**t about playing for UTD.

Now i don't know if that's to do with the manager or if they are like this a a human being. Something needs to change. Either get rid of these players and bring players who will give their all on the pitch or get rid of the manager.

If you get rid of Mourinho who is going to come in?

I personally would back Mourinho this year and give him what evrr he eants to fix this and go all guns blazing next year with th3 core of Bailly, Sanchez, Lukaku, Herera And De Gea . We also need a fully focused Pogba or he would again be in the spotlight next year and cause headache.

{Ed004's Note - The issue with sacking Jose is it sets a precedent. He's going to finish second this season. If we sack him;
a) who do we replace him with that's better? there's no Klopp or Pep on the market
b) what top mangers would risk us? we obviously have a poor winning mentality and sack a manager that's gotten second, even last manager got sacked the day he won the FA cup. Not sure we want to get a rep of sacking a manager at first sign of stuttering}


4.) 10 May 2018 23:02:01
True ed, attitude and a bit of heart goes a long way, there's as laid back attitude with the players, it's like we will get paid anyway.
The way we are playing isn't related to a United team.
I hope there's changes, big changes.


5.) 10 May 2018 23:42:40
Exactly Ed just stick with Mourinho and give him what he wants and we will win the season next year if the players play with their hearts. The team is carrying a lot of passengera and they need to be rid.


6.) 11 May 2018 06:20:23
I find it funny how everyone blames only the players for their precieved lack of passion.

The success we have seen under Sir Alex was created by the attitude he instilled into the players. He made them want to fight, he motivated them to give thier all. So why doesn't Jose get any of the blame for out players precieved poor attitude?

We have a manager who goes from sulking to gloating but is never happy. He is living in a hotel, has flirted with other teams and is generally unhappy with being our manager. Surely if the players can see any of that then it's likely to affect their attitude in a negative way?

Jose's teams have always been about fight and grit because Jose has always been about fight and grit. However, the Jose we have at United just looks tired, worn thin, lacking anger and fight and generally unhappy. And surprise surprise that's how our team looks.

We keep blaming the players, but these players have shown more fight under other managers. So why not under Jose?


7.) 11 May 2018 06:37:04
I agree with Ed004 and I have said this before, sacking another manager will not be attractive especially now . As to Shappys point I think the players, well some of them, have been found out by Mourinho and have an attitude. In those circumstances it’s them or the manager, if the manager delivers improvement, as he has, like it or not, then it’s stand by the manager or face a club where players get what they want. We can’t have that.


8.) 11 May 2018 07:55:14
We've shown plenty of fight in big games in the second half of the season. The fact we don't for the lesser teams suggests poor attitude on their part.


9.) 11 May 2018 08:07:50
Shappy, a very simple question. Which manager was that under whom these players showed more fight? Care to enlighten please.
On the players let's be honest and agree that most of these players are sub par either talent wise or attitude wise. The likes of Shaw, Martial, Darmian etc show that week in week out either in the match day squad or possibly in training.

Its for all to see that the past few games where there is nothing to play for have been more of a showcase for these players to be put up on the shop.

Dont you think for one moment that we have over achieved with this squad? Man for man can we compete with City? They have a complete squad while we are playing sulkers. We have sacked 2 managers while the players have stayed put and there lies the problem. You can keep playing musical chairs with the managers but they will all fall till those broken chairs are changed. City have Lay Z boy recliners while we have chairs with 3 legs limping around.


10.) 11 May 2018 08:22:28
It's not finishing second that's the problem, it's the boring dull football.

It's a problem in itself but also commercially for the club. In a post above Eric79 says he's not renewing his season ticket and I'm sure there are many more like him. Sure, there are plenty of people who will take their place but the fan base will shrink as young people are more attracted to supporting City or Liverpool or Madrid etc because they play more exciting football.

My opinion is to sack Jose and set a new precedent of only exciting attacking football allowed at Man Utd. That said, we also need a massive (and I mean massive) clear out of players.


11.) 11 May 2018 08:57:27
Redman, this is an issue that has followed Jose all his career. He isn't flexible enough to work with people who aren't exactly like him.

You say these players have been "found out" by Jose. Yet Sir Alex never "found out" players. Some players played well under Sir Alex and some played poorly, yet every single one tried their best and gave their all in every game.

Jose is unable to get a tune out of players I know for a fact Sir Alex could.

The Ed's have said Jose isn't completely happy at United, and his actions back that up (living in a hotel, flirting with PSG and his general demeanor) .

So that raises the question of just how long will Jose be here for?

One more season, two? So is it worth wasting more money selling good players to bring in expensive (often older) players to suit a manger who is unlikely to stick around for the long term?

I'll say it now, we will never win the title under Jose. He just isn't the same manager anymore. I think he need to look at international management, that suits him far better now. That way he can live with his family in London or wherever he wants. His grinding style suits cup competitions (as shown with three cup final appearances in two seasons, while not challenging for the title) . Plus I think it was Ed001 who said since his time at Real Madrid he hasn't shown an interest in helping players improve individually, which wouldn't be his remit at an international manager.

I know you really like Jose, I think he has been an amazing manager, and I liked the personality he had when he first came to England. However, the Jose we have now doesn't appear to have the same hunger and drive, he seems unhappy and sullen.

He is either sulking sat on the bench or gloating about his past glories in the press room.

We won't win the title like that, we will pick up cups here and there but never truly challenge for the title. Whatever happens this summer I expect us to finish lower next season than we have this one.

I can see the signs that Jose isn't going to succeed, that is why on this occasion I would be reluctant to back the manager and move on highly talented players to replace them with expensive 29 year olds.


12.) 11 May 2018 09:26:13
Sacking another manger is not ideal but are we really ready to waste another season of this garbage under Jose. We all know he cannot and will not change nor will his style of football. How can players like rash martial sanchez and pogba all look ineffective they cannot all be that bad consistently. Our style of football is nothing short of horrendous, even with nothing to play for and a dead game we play the same stale football no ambition or thought of entertaining anyone. Does it matter who we sign in the summer does anyone actually believe that we will not be watching the same bus parking tactics against rivals next season.


13.) 11 May 2018 13:04:25
Shappy

SAF had no problem with Ince Kanchelskis Hughes Beckham. It was his way or the highway no matter no much they tried.

Oh and I don’t “really like Mourinho”, my preference is recorded many times on here but there are issues that need fixing that require some cojones and sacking someone now to put (insert latest fancy football playing name) a nice football coach will end in tears again. I want good football but you have to build to it and Jose gets another year from me.


 

 

 

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18 May 2018 23:09:41
Shappy - What if it's 0-0 and we win on pens does he still deserve another year then? 😉 Lol.

DLIB

 

 

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18 May 2018 21:34:53
Very true Redman maybe I was being a touch dramatic.

Anyway I'll be down there tomorrow supporting the boys.

DLIB

 

 

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16 May 2018 20:37:53
Delete my last post Ed I don't want to carry anything on maybe I misunderstood your comments and didn't take the time to read them properly nevertheless it was never my intention for the post to come across as anti Liverpool. I certainly don't want to cause any animosity or Ill feeling. I respect the job all the Ed's do on this site. I hope we can just move on.

DLIB

{Ed0333's Note - it’s all forgotten about mate.


 

 

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16 May 2018 20:23:29
Sorry Ed no I didn't intend to pick an argument. I used Klopp and Pep just to illustrate a point about style. You referred to him as a footballing dinosaur the point I presumed you were making was that his style of play was outdated and no longer relevant. I was just trying to point out that Pep and Klopps style of football is nothing new and Jose has had sustained success over this period therefore I think it's premature to suggest he's lost touch and write his obituary just yet. I was just trying to add some context to your comment suggesting he may be past his best.

I apologise if my post came across as argumentative or hostile this was not my intention I was just trying to put some context to the old style over substance debate. Maybe I miss interpreted your comments for which I apologise.

What I will say is your comment about being an expensive Burnley is an example of the football snobbery I was talking about. I would imagine what's of paramount importance to most football lovers is seeing their team win. I certainly think Burnley fans will be ecstatic about the season they've just had.

Anyway it's all about opinions and I respect your point of view. I'm sorry if I started an argument that I didn't intend or caused any offence.

DLIB

{Ed0333's Note - No worries pal, let’s just put it behind us.


 

 

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16 May 2018 19:20:38
Another very good post Mumbles I'm with you all the way.

Ed 333 - I'm not sure we can pack Jose off to the prehistoric era just yet. I hear the clamour for Pep and Kloop but their style of football is nothing new. Both have been showcasing their particular brand of football since 2008. They haven't reinvented the game or suddenly manufactured a new style of football. Both their styles are now well established in fact Klopp's last German title was back in 2012.

Since 2008 Jose has won a treble at Inter, league titles at both Madrid and Chelsea, a Europa League with Utd and that's not to mention the several cups I've omitted from the list. It's a pretty incredible catalog of achievements to be honest. His last league title was less than 3 years ago. Not bad for a dinosaur.

Ok I get the argument about style but in my opinion he's get unduly harsh criticism. It's a fallacy to suggest he's been over taken by younger, more forward thinking and modern managers, the facts simply don't back this up. There are no new kids on the block, there isn't a new revolutionary style of football, it's just good old fashioned football snobbery and a stick used to beat him with.

What brand of football you chose to watch is open to debate and preference but there is no right or wrong way to play the game. The only way Jose knows is the winning way which is evidenced by his incredible list of achievements.

DLIB

{Ed0333's Note - I never mentioned anything about Klopp this was a Jose centric answer. What’s this got to do with Klopp? Did you not read the bit about me saying Jose is a serial winner and still could be in the future or do you want to make this into a Liverpool v Man Utd bitch fight because that’s what it seems like to me with your random redonculous arguments and left field examples. You can dress it up how you want but you play the lowest demonination of football possible, your style is turgid and mundane to watch, your a more expensive Burnley. One thing I will concur with you about is that football hasn’t changed you still have to score more goals than the opposition to win a game but how you put the ball into the net is of paramount importance to most football lovers.