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25 Feb 2021 08:46:19
So Pogba, Van de Beek and Cavani are all out injured as well as Hannibal Mejbri and out of the 2nd leg tonight.

But do you guys think Ole even notices Donny is out injured seeing that he doesn't even pick him lol :)

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25 Feb 2021 10:50:23
Who is Donny?

25 Feb 2021 10:50:52
I'm a huge fan of Donny and really wanted us to sign him in the summer and was over the moon when we did.

However, currently I'm not sure where he fits into the team. He definitely plays best in the No.10 role, but is more than capable in a free 8 role as well.

Yet in the system we play there is no free 8 role and the No.10 role is being filled by Bruno who isn't just our best player, but arguably the most in form player in the league. Only Salah has more goals and only Kane has more assist, no one has more combined goal involvements.

So there is no natural place for him in the side as a starter. If we had a true CDM such as Rice then we could switch to a 433 shape with Bruno and Donny as free 8's.

A lot is made about Donny not playing much but actually Pogba has been pushed out of central midfield by McFred and has started several games on the right wing.

Speaking of Fred he has been one of our most important players this season after initially struggling in his first season, playing his way into the team in his second season and really kicking on in his third. Fred is 4 years older than Donny, so Donny has plenty of time to adjust and play his way into the team.

25 Feb 2021 11:17:41
If Bruno was to leave at the end of the season and Ole identified VDB as his replacement i would be very worried. Even Juan Mata would be more affective than VDB in the 10 role. Lots of fans will disagree with me but in my opinion he's nothing more than a decent player who looked great in a dominant Ajax side in a tin pot league.

25 Feb 2021 12:27:30
sim01975 what makes you think Bruno is going to leave? He is by far the most influential and key player in the squad and if anyone has to leave it's Pogba and he's probably the reason why we got VDB as cover when he does leave.

VDB for me is a very gifted technical player and needs to have a run of games before we make any judgements about him. Although we are not going to see the best of him as long as Ole sticks with 2 CM's in front of the defense.

We need to sign a fast proper CB along with a DM which would allow both Bruno/ VDB to play further forward in attacking areas and can cause a lot of problems to the opposition. And both do work hard off the ball as well and would compliment each other very nicely.

25 Feb 2021 12:29:03
Donny and Bruno have very different interpretations of the No.10 role. Bruno will attempt every pass whether its on or not, whereas Donny is far more patient in his build up play. Both have a great shot and will get goals when played in the No.10 role.

With the players we have Bruno suits us much better, he will play quick balls through to our wide players who'll look to run through and shoot. Donny works better with more technically proficient and creative wide players.

On one hand having a player who can play in a different way gives you a different option and maybe stops you becoming too one-dimensional. The flip side to that is its a team game and changing one player won't change the style of the rest of the team. Meaning that it can take time for the new player and the rest of the team to adjust to how that player players.

I think at the moment the issue is that when Donny get the ball the rest of the team expect him to make the same passes as Bruno and they make runs accordingly. Until all the players are on the same wavelength that will continue to be a problem.

25 Feb 2021 12:54:31
Donny has shown nothing of the player that some one here seem to think he is. He finds good spaces and keeps the ball moving. He is like tom cleverly at the moment and needs to effect the game in a far more positive way to be considered a first team player.

I imagine he is working in strength conditioning in the background. Maybe then he could play the deeper role feeding passes into the front 4. But his range of passing seems very limited, which is why he seems more effective closer to everyone.

He is not good enough to be man utd 10. No way no how.

He is not strong enough to be an 8 in the EPL. Look at Bernardo Silva at city, much harder to knock off the ball - not size, but strength.

25 Feb 2021 13:06:09
DodgyBanter I don't think he is a player for the 8/ 10 position tbh especially in the EPL which is much faster and physical, although he can play in multiple positions. For me he is more of a box to box CM who can effect the play on both ends of the pitch and can become a key player for us if utilized properly.

25 Feb 2021 14:46:51
LPU, What I would like to see from us in the summer is to bring in a top class CDM like Rice or Ndidi. Then they along with Bruno are first choice, and the other three midfielders (McTominay, Donny and Fred) will fight it out to be the first choice option alongside them. Obviously depending on their skills different players will be more suitable for different games. Long term I could see Garner taking the role, but feel he needs another loan next season to get a couple of seasons at professional level under his belt before he is ready to push for the first team.

25 Feb 2021 16:29:31
Lets Play - Firstly i didn't say he was going to leave i said if he leaves, there is a difference. I was responding the Shappy's comment.
And by the way if VDB is Pogba's replacement i'm even more worried.
People keep going on about a run of games, every time he has probably been one if not the worse on the pitch. He looks completely lost like a rabbit caught in the head lights.
Stop blaming the rest of the team and the way we play and set up. The simple fact is VDB has been poor and hasn't contributed anything.

25 Feb 2021 18:18:01
sim01975 I hope VDB is Pogba's replacement at the very least we would have a player who would be willing to work hard. And what do you expect a player coming in from another league and given irregular starts and playing time to do.

The simple fact is VDB is an intelligent player with great technical ability and he has shown glimpses of what he can do in the limited time he got. If you are expecting him to be flashy and play those hollywood passes to impress you then he isn't that sort of player.

I would agree that he needs to do a lot more in games but you can't just judge him based on his limited irregular playing time.

And if you want to talk about how we setup and play it's pretty evident Ole's priority is safety first and more protection for his CB's. In fact more worried about the opposition than taking the game to them.

25 Feb 2021 19:33:27
It's a real shame that VDB has been injured as this run without Pogba would have been a chance to see what he could do or that OGS truelly does not fancy him.
Will be interesting to see if there is any interest in him come the summer and how we view that and his future next year especially wity Pogba likely to leave.

26 Feb 2021 05:37:14
Brad76 it would really be interesting for sure. We would look stupid if we decided to sell VDB in such a short time, first for buying him in the first place and second for not giving him opportunities and for having a manager who doesn't know how to use him.

26 Feb 2021 11:55:30
So far i haven't seen one bit of intelligence from VDB.
He has had time to settle in and he has played a number of games and shown absolutely nothing. He isn't a kid anymore, he will be 24 in April. By the way if Ole is setting up "safety first" then why have we scored more goals then every other team, what you say doesn't make sense.

25 Feb 2021 07:39:01
{Ed's Note - Ed001 has posted a new article entitled, Review Of The Day 25th February 2021

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24 Feb 2021 23:00:53
Really looking forward to the second leg. Like these games a lot as great opportunity to see some players we've been wanting to see get a chance get some minutes:

Henderson, Mata, Amad, Martial (needs a goal or two badly), James again, Tuanzebe, Bailly, Telles etc.

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25 Feb 2021 06:31:50
Looking forward as well Eric. I would love to see all of the newly promoted players get some minutes.

Martial has been offered enough chances this season and hasn't impressed. He's looking like one of those players who has all the talent but doesn't seem to have the mentality to become the best.

It was only last season that Martial/ Rashford were competing and going head to head to be the top goal scorer in the team and now they seem to have lost that competitive edge.

25 Feb 2021 07:15:06
Ditto. I’d like to see Mason play tonight. Like Martial he could do with a goal or two to lift his confidence. I think we’ll see one of Amad or Shola start (probably Amad) and hope to see Ethan Galbraith get some game time what with us currently being short of fit first team players in his position.

25 Feb 2021 10:53:47
I actually think Greenwood is in decent form. Last season he was just banging goals in but actually offered little else to the team. This season the number of goals has dropped but his team work is much better and he is a more rounded footballer.

He is still capable of scoring goals, and he is still out most natural finisher, but now he is helping the team score more goals with his positioning and team play.

24 Feb 2021 21:39:15
I have been watching City a lot trying to see how they could be stopped. / beaten. Seems to me not so many goals come from straight forward down the middle of the park attacks. They use the full width of the pitch even from goal kicks. maybe something we need to do more?

How would you set out to beat them?

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25 Feb 2021 01:27:18
I’d hire Villanelle to take out Dias, De Bruyne, Foden and Mahrez. Then I’d send my Petrie dish of a son into the camp to transmute his latest cold and finally I’d tell Pep there’s a boring person conference in Hawaii that runs until the season is over to get rid of him too.

{Ed077's Note - They've coped very well with any injuries that they have suffered this season , have Man City.

Figuring out how to score against them and cause their defense some issues will be a good starting place for any side thinking about beating Man Cut as they seem to concede very few goals.}

25 Feb 2021 09:12:46
Ruben Dias has transformed their team. Added the leadership void left by Kompany.
He never stops talking and organizing for the entire game.

Imagine Aguero coming back at the end of the season. They are right up there.

25 Feb 2021 10:14:07
I'd be tempted to risk keeping 2 players wide at all times, particularly on the side Cancelo plays.

Noting that Cancelo seems to drift inside and almost play in midfield, it does leave space for a wide forward to attack the defence.

Additionally given their high pressing I'd look to pay longer diagonal balls in behind the full backs rather than play out from the back.

25 Feb 2021 11:00:00
That's part of what makes City so good defensively, their fullbacks tuck in and basically play along side the midfield giving them a narrow 4 man shield with 2 CB's behind. Lots of teams have got around them wide, but then crossing the ball in becomes a problem as they have a packed central defence by the time you've got the ball wide and looked to play it centrally. Unless you have someone like Duncan Ferguson in the box to win the majority of headers you'll struggle to score many that way.

It might be cynical but the best way to score against them might be to run at them and draw fouls, either on the edge of the box or ideally in the box. The only other way is really quick transitions with lots of one touch pass and move football. I don't think we have the players for that personally.

25 Feb 2021 11:14:50
Diaz was my favourite back then and i wanted him . Ed002 told us that we wanted him and when we asked him who is the best option for the CB role he told us that Diaz is the one.
He is a very good player but their defencive form is not only Diaz to congratulate. I think the main reason is that their press works, the possesion is big and they give little to nothing at opponents. Defence don't have much pressure. Yesterday i think until 50-60 minute they didn't even gave Glandbax a single shoot and a single corner while the day before they gave 1 corner and one two shoots at Everton.

25 Feb 2021 14:28:18
I think for us is to play to our strengths which mainly is counter attacking football. It could be a good game for Dan James to start on the right and Rashford on the left. I'd also be tempted to start Matic as he does a good job of dropping as a 3rd CB and has a much better range of passing than Fred although the trade off is losing Fred's energy. We need to play with plenty of width and hopefully we can pin cancello back and nullify his effectiveness higher up the pitch. In Cavani we have an excellent target man who will occupy there CBs and his movement will give them plenty to think about but ultimately its all about how the team perform on the day and implement the plan.

25 Feb 2021 14:51:55
Cant argue with their quality and form, as for coping very well, they surly played the C.V. card smartly.

{Ed077's Note - bitter "fan" alert}

24 Feb 2021 15:45:41
Lot of rumours about Jules Kounde but is he really a good fit for us?

He looks more of an adventurous defender who could drift out of position every now and then and his headed clearances look weak. Plus he isn't too tall and could struggle against teams in the PL which are physical and good in the air. His tackling reminds me about AWB and seems to have good recovery pace but not sure about his all round game.

We probably are better off looking for someone who is tall, good with his positioning, composed, good in the air and who is physically imposing and Nikola Milenković looks like what we need.

What do you think?

{Ed077's Note - Maguire is tall but a poor defender overall. I have been impressed whenever I've seen Kounde play, which admittedly isn't a huge number of times, LPU but Milenkovic isn't a bad shout either if the club has some reservations about Kounde. Whether Kounde is a good fit for us or not is for the scouts go decide.}

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24 Feb 2021 16:07:00
Pau Torres looks like the second coming of Rio on you tube 🤔.

{Ed077's Note - YouTube can go either way. But there seems to be a lot admirers of Pau Torres.}

24 Feb 2021 17:21:09
Ed077 I agree with you. And I know youtube is not the best way to judge a player but probably you get a glimpse of what the player can offer.

Out of the three Pau Torres is probably the more composed defemder. Milenkovic is more like Vidic I feel and has that no nonsense approach and gets stuck into his opponents and I feel we need someone like that currently at the back who imposes himself and keeps the attackers under check.

And Ed what do you think of David Carmo as an option?

{Ed077's Note - never seen him play to say speak about Carmo. Isn't he at Sporting Braga? If we are going down the very young route than my first choice is going to be Badiashile at Monaco.}

24 Feb 2021 17:41:06
Ed077 yes Badiashile looks another good option. There seems to be a lot of options at the moment and it's upto us to get it right in the summer.

Hope we don't mess around.

{Ed077's Note - and we so desperately need to get it right if we are to kick on and build upon this season.}

24 Feb 2021 18:43:01
Ed077 I feel we need two CB's ideally. Everyone knows the weakness of Lindelof and Maguire, we're even seeing oppositions exploiting them.

Pau Torres possesses good height and composure.
Kounde seems to be a beast. Although not that tall, he has a good leap and pace.
It's all about getting the right combination.

{Ed077's Note - ideally two CBS might be needed but the club might not want to block the path for Mengi just yet and other young lads in the academy. Also Maguire cost 80m and will be hard to move him on. So kind of stuck with Harry as well.}

24 Feb 2021 19:30:33
Dias was the one they should have went for, very good defender. Mad we went for Maguire instead of someone like him, someone who can actually defend.

{Ed077's Note - Mourinho wanted him but the board didn't push hard to bring Dias to the club. Who knows if that move would have worked out for Dias as well as his move to man city has?}

24 Feb 2021 22:35:29
Harry may have cost 80m but he has been poor I would go for both kounde and Torres.

25 Feb 2021 01:27:16
Has mcguire ever played right side?

Pau is left footed and a rare thing as a very high quality left footed CB.

I only remember seeing McGuire play left now I think of it.

{Ed077's Note - yes he has. It's only at United that he has been played exclusively as a LCB. For Hull and Leicester he played RCB on many occasions.}

25 Feb 2021 10:11:12
Maguire always plays on the left of a two for us, with Lindelof always the right of the two. But then when we play 3 at the back, Maguire is central and Lindelof plays on the left, with Bailly on the right. I don't get how Lindelof can play left in a 3 but not in a 2. I'm not at all impressed with either of our first choice CBs, but Maguire is a little held back having to play on the left.

Speaking of which, I couldn't help notice against Newcastle how very one-footed our entire team is. Possible exception of Greenwood. What ever happened to working on your weaker foot? :)

25 Feb 2021 11:07:27
Maguire has more often than not played as the LCB despite being right footed. I don't think its as big a deal as most people make out. Most LCB's are right footed, and having a left footer there only really offers you a marginal gain when playing out from the back or when being pressed as you will have more of the pitch to easily pass into off your stronger foot. So being left footed is only really beneficial in certain circumstances.

Vidic was one of the best CB's in the EPl while playing LCB and being right footed, Ricardo Carvalho was another as is VvD currently.

Maguire's issues aren't based on him playing left or right CB, its that he ball watches and gets dragged out of position regardless of which side of the pairing he is supposed to be playing on.

He is unaware of where the opposition are and he is unaware of where his teammates are, hence on several occasions he has tackled, blocked and even hauled down teammates when trying to win the ball. He doesn't know who's where or which team they play for, he just blindly bumbles toward the ball in an attempt to stick his sizable frame in between the ball and the goal.

25 Feb 2021 12:35:45
Shappy your assessment of Maguire does raise the question on how Ole still chooses him as the captain and how come the coaching staff have not been able to make him more aware in games. Is it more fun and games in training rather than intense defensive drills to get it right?

25 Feb 2021 12:54:14
LPU, do you have a dog? I do and ideally I'd love it if he went to the loo in the toilet then I wouldn't have to take him out when it's raining.

Unfortunately that training is beyond him, he's a smart dog but not smart enough to use a toilet.

Harry Maguire is 27 years old, he has had 10 years training in a professional academy, he has had a further 7 years being coached at professional football clubs, at Sheffield United, Hull, Leicester and United, while he has also been coached by the England coaching staff both as youth and professional level.

In total 17 years of professional coaching from many different coaches, at what point do you just accept he's not bright enough to grasp the concepts the coaches are trying to teach him?

Because like you say it's clear and obvious to us what the issues are, the coaches would have definitely had seen it, and at least a few would have tried to correct it. Yet he still does it.

As for taking the captaincy away from him, he should have done so in the summer after all the stuff in Greece. That was a mistake. But at the same time taking it away would have undermined his confidence. While some might argue the role of captain in modern football is close to a ceremonial role. Maguire has said himself that Matic deals with the discipline, while clearly Bruno is the on pitch leader.

As for why Ole picks him, I'd probably pick Maguire if I was in Ole's position. Not because I rate Maguire but because there just really isn't many other options. Jones? Or maybe we get the gaffer tape out and hope it can hold Bailly together long enough to complete 5 games in a row. Or do we go with Tuanzebe, a player who has also suffered injuries. Scraping the barrel we could give the young and talented Mengi a run. But that would take big balls to drop an 80m signing for an 18 year old academy graduate with no experience at this level.

25 Feb 2021 13:19:07
Shappy so how much do you rate our coaching staff? Do you think they are excellent?

No matter how much professional training a player gets it's still a re-learning process when you move clubs and you play to different tactics, system and team mates. Factor in the different approach to training by the coaches it's not the same. What you do in training should reflect on the pitch most of the times if properly coached which doesn't seem to be the case.

By your assessment Maguire should be doing really great in training every time that he is undroppable except that his training doesn't translate onto the pitch.

25 Feb 2021 15:11:11
LPU, I haven't been coached by our current coaching staff so I have no idea how good they are or what they are doing in training. Which unless someone on here is a player at the club then we are all in the same boat as that one.

I never really rated Mike Phelan as a coach, when he was Sir Alex's assistant we played some very boring cautious football. Yet Sir Alex rates him highly, so who's opinion of the guy should carry more weight?

McKenna was very highly rated young coach when we poached him from Spurs, he did well with the youth set up and has been promoted to help bridge the gap between the youth set up and the first team. Judging by the number of academy graduates who have been given a debut (14 so far) under Ole then it seems to be going well.

Carrick was praised by both LvG and Jose as a future top coach for the way he understands the game.

So these guys have had some pretty big recommendations, and by people who have seen them work close up.

Are they any good at their job? I dunno.

As for Maguire's terrible ball watching and more reading of the game, this is stuff I coached ten year olds to not do. Some pick it up fairly quickly, some take a little while to get it, and some just don't have the capacity to learn it. They play without thought and just do, play on instinct. Some do okay with that, others are just headless chickens.

If at the age of 27 having had 17 years of professional coaching from people far better and more qualified than me coaching him and he still doesn't get it, I doubt he ever will.

My assessment doesn't suggest Maguire is doing great in training, just that of our 5 first team CB's he is one of only 2 who you can rely on to be fit most weeks.

If you have 5 fat unhealthy men and you make them race the one who finishes first isn't necessarily a great sprinter, he's just the best of a bad bunch. Put him up against the best at the Olympics and he'll embarrass himself.

Training no matter who does it has its limitations, its not possible to coach a bad player into a world class player. If it was then we wouldn't bother having transfers, you'd just pick 11 average guys off the street and make them world class players with great coaches.

The reason most of us aren't getting 200k a week playing for United isn't because we didn't have world class coaches as kids, but because the ceiling of our ability wasn't high enough.

Maguire has probably has 50-60 professional coaches at least work with him since the age of 7 or 8 in the Sheffield United youth team right the way through his career to now. At what point do we say stop saying it the coaches fault that Maguire is a poor player and just accept that he isn't that good.

25 Feb 2021 16:06:28
Shappy you still need to train properly to keep your instincts sharp no matter how long you have been training and you need the proper coaches to do that. Do you see any sort of defensive organization at the back? I don't and that itself suggests our defensive coaching is not that great.

Maguire may not be a top player but a proper coach would be able to get the best out of him. What I am saying is Maguire/ Lindelof are just part of the problem that also includes our coaching. You just cannot absolve the responsibility of Ole and the coaching staff and just blame the players for consistent mistakes at the back.

25 Feb 2021 17:00:00
LPU, I suppose it all comes down to what you see. I have worked at youth level coaching, and I specialised in defensive set up.

I don't see a great deal wrong with how we set up, bar the fact that our players make too many individual errors.

Our full backs tuck in to make a narrow back four, with only one full back pushing forward at a time and the other staying back. This could be considered defensive or cautious, yet with two CB's who aren't the quickest having once full back alongside them makes sense. Often the full back who pushes further forward is Shaw, but his starting position just like AWB's on the other side is more on the inside channel rather than the outside channel. Its a narrower position, the full back will then look to play a one two with the winger and move from inside to outside taking the wide position looking for the return ball. Doing so forces the opposition full back to go with the runner which can open up space for the winger/ wide player. If they leave the runner then a quick pass and we are in behind.

Our midfield is interesting, neither Fred or McTominay are natural holding players, yet both start deep and sit covering the centre of defence. Often a one two will be played with Maguire to allow him to break the press as he steps forward. The issue with playing two more natural box to box/ shuttler players in a double pivot is that often they forget to pick up the midfield runner. We often concede goals to opposition midfielders making late unmarked runs into the box. That is down to not having a natural CDM. This happens much less when Matic plays, but he doesn't have the legs to play every game.

Our defensive shape tends to be deep and narrow, mostly due to a lack of pace and mobility in our back line. If we played higher then a simple over the top ball could undo us fairly easily.

We don't actually concede many goals from open play and when we do it tends to be either from an individual error or from our midfield not tracking runners.

Where we struggle is at set pieces, now there is two reasons for this. Firstly, we have no one taking charge of the situation. DDG isn't very vocal, nor is he comfortable coming out to collect high balls hit in the danger alley around the 6 yard box. So with DDG not coming out, or communicating there is a lack of command of the box. The next issue is that Maguire is very poor in these situations, too often he watches the ball and even gets dragged towards it. He isn't aware of who is where and charges around like a bull in a china shop. The way he headed the ball back into the danger area then chased after it and hauled Luke Shaw to the ground as he was about to clear it allowing Spurs to score might have been the most calamitous piece of defending I have ever seen at a professional level. The sad thing is that it is not an isolated incident.

Some people want to blame the zonal marking, but in truth zonal marking is the better of the two. And in our case it would make little to no difference. The problem we have with zonal marking is that Harry gets drawn out of his zone because he is watching the ball. Leaving a huge space un marked, play the ball in there and someone can shoot unopposed.

However, if you decided to man mark then Harry will still get drawn to the ball and leave his player unmarked and the same situation occurs. While man marking systems work both ways. If you are man marking the opposition then they by design are marking you. Meaning if you win the ball then your player is marked as is all their passing options. Meaning your best bet is to just boot it out, which nearly always means you lose possession and the opposition can launch another attack. Zonal marking means that once you win the ball you are more likely to a an unmarked player to pass to and maybe launch a counter attack yourself.

So we have a clear shape, and tactical plan. While for the most part it works and we limit the opposition to limited chances from open play, while we are also the top scorers.

We concede goals from two main avenues, midfield runners not being tracked, and from individual mistakes of which Harry Maguire is the biggest culprit.

25 Feb 2021 18:33:25
Shappy so when individual errors happen consistently who takes the responsibility? What do you think the coaching staff are seeing and doing in training? Are they not aware of a player's abilities, weakness and how they perform in training and just let them get away in training?

If the coaching staff can't improve the players but are intent on playing them for whatever reason then the team needs to be coached to at least be more organized and play as a unit. I am really not seeing that especially defensively.

{Ed014's Note - well done you for reading those replies!

25 Feb 2021 18:54:14
LPU, who takes responsibility for individual errors? I'd imagine the individual.

I don't for one second think that our coaches are seeing these errors and thinking "sod it, we'll leave that as it is".

However, it's not easy to improve players who make fundamental mistakes over and over again. They just don't learn.

I mean you could just play 10 men behind the ball to cover for those errors, but I suspect if they did that you'd complain about that.

26 Feb 2021 05:03:33
Ed014 thanks but you probably need to appreciate Shappy's persistence to keep going with his replies.

Shappy individual errors on a regular basis isn't just down to the individual alone. There is no chance that the coaches don't see whether a player is prone to mistakes or not during training unless they are not good enough to notice that.

It's even more criminal if you know the player is not upto par and you still keep playing him even though both Bailly/ Tuanzebe are available on the bench and you play him because of his price tag or for whatever reason it maybe. And he's the captain as well when Bruno has been the best player on the pitch and leads by example.

The manager and coaching staff need to take responsibility for our defensive showing which has been shambolic at times.

24 Feb 2021 15:43:05
Per Ole's press conference, he expects Mata to leave in the summer.

He also admitted the club is still following Erling Haaland.

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24 Feb 2021 16:04:52
Id love Haaland at the club. Having Cavani play shows you how we missed having a proper striker in the team.
But let's be honest, he turned us down 12 months ago. He'll have his pick of any team he wants, it won't be United.

{Ed077's Note - And don't discount Mino so easily, he is bound to play a key role in Haaland's transfer.}

24 Feb 2021 16:35:01
Mino already talking numbers, he will go to who ever can afford him.

24 Feb 2021 17:16:07
Money talks, and we usually have lots of it. Let’s assume Pogba goes but his departure and maybe a couple of others funds his replacement. We need to go all out for a top top CB and striker, they will make all the difference.

24 Feb 2021 17:17:33
I think we would have no problem paying his fee and wages jred. I could see City and maybe even Liverpool needing a striker soon too. Plus there's always Bayern and Madrid who could pull the trigger.

The heir to Lewandowski maybe?

24 Feb 2021 17:18:15
Don't expect Haaland to be turning up at Old Trafford anytime soon, unless he is on the oppenents bus.

24 Feb 2021 17:26:46
Andre Silva looks better overall and a great alternative to Haaland. Haaland though is very clinical in front of goal and his finishing is top notch.

And like jred says Mino is going to be the deal breaker and something we wouldn't be comfortable with.

{Ed077's Note - I am all aboard the DCL hype train and starting to be very impressed by Watkins as well. I am a little bit skeptical about buying any attackers from Frankfurt going by their recent record. Maybe their attackers aren't brilliant on their own and Adi Hutter is the real reason for their success. The relative failures of Haller, Jovic and to a lesser extent Paciencao makes me unsure.
And don't forget that Andre Silva wasnt much impressive at Milan or even Seville before.

But if comes to Man It's than full support to him}

24 Feb 2021 17:38:14
Honestly think we got to do whatever we can to get haaland. If we have serious ambition he’d be the type of statement signing to show it.

{Ed077's Note - what is a statement signing? And who is the statement being made to?

Pogba was probably a "statement" signing right? And he hasn't lived up to the expectation. Whereas Bruno who wasn't necessarily a "marquee" signing has transformed the team.}

24 Feb 2021 17:43:10
Haaland as Aguero's replacement just seems like the perfect storm.

It's never easy replacing a club legend and the timing of a top class replacement being available at that time is highly unlikely, but that could be the case for City this summer.

I doubt we'll get Haaland due to the Leeds/ City links, he didn't come last time he was available, and throw Mino into the mix it seems highly unlikely, plus Ed002 saying don't hold your breath, so I think we can forget about that transfer.

DCL looks like a good option if we are interested and he can step up a level. I'm not sure if Everton need to raise funds for their new stadium but if that's the case then they may listen to offers.

{Ed077's Note - Kane is more suited to Man City/Guardians currently and that might be a deal City can pull off.}

24 Feb 2021 17:47:57
Ed077 you could probably be right about Andre Silva given his previous stints at Milan/ Seville but we never know.

I really can't see Haaland coming to us unless we are ready to compromise with his agent and throw away insane money in the process. Ed do you really see Haaland as a possibility in the summer?

{Ed077's Note - I don't see Haaland moving to United this summer even if he moves in the summer and its only a pipedream and not happening. But I have no inside info EU}

24 Feb 2021 18:54:43
I've said previously that someone practically possible to strike a deal is Lautaro Martinez.
Another one I like is Odsonne Edouard.

{Ed077's Note - I don't think Lautaro is moving anytime soon. He was about to sign a new deal at Inter last I heard.}

24 Feb 2021 21:02:45
Why would Haarland come to us if he has City or Bayern or Liverpool and even money is no object for Chelski?

They all have better managers and more likely to be trophy winners than us.

I think City will go all out to sign him. He is young and is the type of forward they don't have. In all other positions City two quality players competing.

Harry Kane is not old but he always seems to get injured once or twice a season. He is not old but is unlikely to get much better. Haarland is amazing for his age and with Pep coaching him and with the bullets supplied by De Bruyne and the rest he would get bucket fulls of goals.

25 Feb 2021 09:23:28
Ed what I mean is more that if United are serious about winning premier leagues and champions leagues then signing haaland would show that intent.

{Ed077's Note - but keeping Ole at the helm doesn't "show that intent" so to say. I am not calling for OGS to get sacked but he hasn't shown enough to suggest that he can win the league or the UCL as manager.}

25 Feb 2021 13:37:55
I agree on that Ed, but if he’s who the powers that be want in charge, you should provide him with the tools for the job as they say.

{Ed077's Note - Haaland isnt the be all and end all in Striking options that Man Utd can pursue Caolan. In reality he is a very good young player who is still more of a diamond in the rough and needs fine tuning in many of his raw attributes. So he should only be signed if the club trusts that he can fit in and the coaching staff can help improve his game in line with improving the team.

I will just point out to you that SAF's worst trophy run in the PL era came with the same timeframe in which RVN led the line impeccably for Man Utd. He is probably the best out and out Striker SAF had at his disposal throughout his reign and RVN scored goals at a rate very rarely seen in the PL. Yet the team as a whole didn't perform to the levels seen before or after RVN's tenure.Sometimes it's better to sign players who fit in more easily than just signing "marquee names" just to make a statement.

And Haaland is going to join Man Utd by the looks of it anyways.}

25 Feb 2021 14:30:56
I get that Ed, but don’t forget I think Haaland has more to his all round game than RvN for me. We need a top striker and he’s the best that’s going to be available if you ask me? I’m all for greenwood moving down the middle but I still think he’s a couple of years off that happening.

{Ed077's Note - Caolan I am not trying to compare Haaland to RVN, just saying that having great players doesn't necessarily make the team better if the player doesn't fit in with the team or the system. The best option doesn't always mean the right option Caolan.

I am not saying I would be against signing Haaland but my point is he isn't the only good player that might become available.}

25 Feb 2021 14:33:15
I will add Ed that the type of striker I think we need is more of a van Persie, as there was nothing he couldn’t do and he was so prolific. I just think there’s a shortage out there of top top strikers and I’d love United to go and get the best in the world, or one of the very best in that position. RvP was probably the best number 9 at the time when we signed him.

25 Feb 2021 16:32:38
Haaland would be fantastic for our team if we manage to sign him however I am not sure how long he would stick around as he looks a very ambitious guy and in a few years time he would probably look for a move to RM/ Barca I feel.

24 Feb 2021 10:39:48
A few weeks ago I asked everyone which 3 players they would bring back from their prime to play in our current squad.

The general consensus as it has been on the site for a while is that we need a CB, CDM and Striker yet some of us (including myself) went for 2 strikers and a CB.

Would you rather just have an all out attack team that will lose games they shouldn't but always play on the front foot or would you prefer a more balanced team that has a lot more 1-0 victories?

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24 Feb 2021 11:57:43
All great teams no matter how offensive they are need a solid defence. Look at Liverpool last season compared to this. Liverpool were an entertaining side under Klopp ever since he first took over, but they weren't a winning side until they signed Alisson and VvD to give them that balance in defence meaning they didn't drop silly points.

City will likely win the league this season and they have conceded 15 goals to our 32 with us sitting in second place.

The proof is in the pudding we are to the top scorers in the league and City have the meanest defence, yet it is them sitting in first place with a 10 point lead.

The old adage is attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.

While there are definitely cases for us needing a first choice creative player for the right wing, or whether we need to replace Martial. The reality is if we sign a CB and CDM who can effectively hold the midfield then we will be challengers next season.

This season we have lost to Villa, Palace, Spurs and Sheffield United in the league. While we have drawn too many games due to conceding silly goals. We scored 3 times against Everton and only got a point, we drew 2-2 with Leicester and gave away a silly goal in the 1-1 draw with West Brom. A tighter defence in all three of those games we drew would have turned 3 points into 9 leaving us a point behind City. While that doesn't even take into account the games against Palace and Sheffield United that we should have won not lost. Villa have been very good this season and we just didn't turn up against Spurs.

But changing Sheffield United and Palace into wins and the draws against Everton, Leicester and West Brom into wins would give us a 5 point lead at the top of the table without actually playing great football. All of that just from not leaking silly goals.

All if's and but's, yet our inability to challenge is based off of giving away weak goals. Bring in a top CB and CDM and you stop that instantly next season. Would a new striker or winger get enough goals to over come the calamity of a defence we have? Unlikely in my opinion.

24 Feb 2021 12:10:00
If the majority of people went for a CB, CDM and a striker, that shows people don't have much faith in the spine of our team.
I think the old Bear Bryant adage is still true, “Forwards sell tickets, defence wins championships"

24 Feb 2021 15:17:23
I don't think our defence is at bad as you're making out Shappy. We do leak some sloppy goals but there is enough to work with to be doing better than we are.

Hate to keep bringing it back to the manager, but would you trust him picking out another defender? We had our Van Dyke moment with Maguire. We've added 3 defenders for £160 million. And Ole had the big array of defenders already at the club to choose from.

Simply put we have a manager who can't organise a defence. Those games we've dropped points in, I'd like to see how many had Fred and McTominay in them. Two defensive midfielders in front of a back 4 is his way of trying to improve the defence.

Now it's not just him. He has a coaching staff too that seem to be also out of their depth. But well into his 3rd year in charge and only Shaw has kicked on. The rest have regressed.

Does another top quality centre half just fix the issue? I don't think so. I think if Ole's strengths in as a coach is further up the field, then he needs to get someone in who can organise a defence because throwing money at it won't fix it. The problem is much deeper than needing a few defenders.

24 Feb 2021 15:22:03
£80m for Maguire
£90m for Pogba
£75m for Lukaku

Thats your spine right there. Shame none of them have really worked out as we would have hoped.

The defence for me is as much down to coaching as personel. If we were better at not turning over posession in silly areas and better coached at set pieces, our defensive record would look much better.

24 Feb 2021 16:00:52
Mumbles you watch back over all the goals we concede and nearly every goal comes down to one of three things.

1, Maguire ball watching and not being in the right place at the right time. People talk about his lack of pace and mobility, but the truth is not many CB's who are 6"4 and 16st are going to be quick and mobile. But if you read the game well and make sure you are in the right position 9 times out of 10 it won't matter that you are slower and less mobile than a 5"8 10st nippy forward.

2, Lindelof beaten in the air, seriously I find it so frustrating that a big strong guy like Victor is beaten in the air time and again often by players smaller than him. It's like he's wearing concrete boots. I've seen elephants jump higher than him, while his lack of strength in the air shows a real weakness to his core strength.

3, The final one is actually the most annoying for me considering how we set up. But we concede a lot of goals to midfield runners. Players breaking through in the second line of attack with no one picking them up. Considering we play with a double pivot of Fred and McTominay, players picked for their defensive attributes rather than their attacking. Yet in truth neither are natural holding players, and both fail to see the runs until too late.

All three of those issues are things that you can't teach to players quickly.

If Maguire has got to the age of 27 and he still ball watching after everything his coaches at Sheffield United, Hull, Leicester and now United have been trying to teach him them I do wonder if the problem isn't the teachers but the pupil. I've seriously coached 10 year olds who are better at reading the game than Maguire.

As for Lindelof I wonder if there is a physical weakness. Clearly he needs a stronger core, and he need to work on his leap and the timing of his leap. I disagree that you need height to be good in the air, Cannavaro and Beckenbauer were both shorter than 6ft and hardly ever lost out in the air. Good core strength, good leap and most importantly timing. But again Lindelof is 26 and he shouldn't be struggling with such a fundamental skill of being a CB.

I actually think Lindelof has regressed with Maguire alongside him. He was much better with Smalling alongside him. But then he had someone with pace who could clear up behind him and allow him to play his natural game of bringing the ball out of defence. With Maguire he has to play the sweeper role and that doesn't suit his skillset.

Finally in defensive midfield I feel we are trying to fit square pegs in round holes. In my opinion only Matic is a natural holding midfielder. Everyone else is either a box to box style player or an offensive midfielder. None of the others have that reading not the game or those defensive instincts. You have hard runners who'll put themselves about, but none who understand where the danger is and when to mark the man and not engage the ball.

Personally I don't think Maguire is good enough, the reality is though that he is our captain and he cost 80m. So he won't be dropped anytime soon. So what we will have to do is try and build a defence around him. To do that we will need a proper holding midfielder who'll drop back when Maguire steps up and who can track runners so we don't concede so many easily avoided goals.
While signing a CB that complements Maguire is vital.

{Ed077's Note - So Shappy who is the Cb you are going to suggest to partner Maguire? Surely Emi Buendia doesn't fit the bill right?😜🤣🤣}

24 Feb 2021 16:24:40
The manager was happy with Maguire. He was so happy with him, he made him captain before he had the chance to have his first $hite at Carrington.

I thing a proper defensive coach should be brought in before we let the manager identify another CB.

24 Feb 2021 17:09:58
Surely it has to be worth bring back Vidic to coach the defence, didn't we offer him the under 23s role a few years back. I think he is still kicking around in Milan, would be nice to have somebody who played defence at the highest level around the squad, maybe he can teach them a thing or two.

24 Feb 2021 17:13:46
Ed077, It's tough to suggest which CB would be best, most aren't playing in the EPL which makes it hard to judge how they would adapt.

While the other issue is working out their role within a specific defensive system when watching them to determine whether they have the attributes for your needs. The thing when building a defence much more so than any other part of the team is that you are building a unit, players need to mesh together much more than in other parts of the pitch. While having a maverick can work to your advantage in attacking areas of the pitch, in defence it will always almost certainly cost you a goal. Communication is vital, as is the character of the players, you don't want shrinking violets in defence, loud, confident vocal players who are intelligent enough to read the game and under stand their and their team mates weaknesses. For example I have watch Maguire pass the ball onto Lindelof's left hand side while he was under pressure numerous times. It must be obvious to everyone why you wouldn't want to play a colleague onto their weaker foot when they are under pressure. Yet that happens too often, that isn't poor coaching just poor understanding of the game.

I think it should be a case of looking for specific traits that blend well with Maguire's and cover his weaknesses. We need someone who has excellent reading of the game, is vocal, has recovery pace. Someone who understands being a defender first and a playmaker second, but who has sound technical skills and is comfortable on the ball. If they are left footed then that's a bonus.

Jules Kounde looks to tick many of those boxes, as does Pau Torres, and Ibrahima Konate. The problem is how well will they adapt to the EPL. I also like Sven Botman and David Carmo from what I've seen of them (half a dozen games each) . However, I'm not sure they have played enough games quite yet to have the experience needed to move to a club our size. But ones to keep an eye on for in a year or two's time maybe as longer term replacements for Harry Maguire.

{Ed077's Note - the 2 standout CBs in the league not at the "top teams" for me are Webster (Brighton) and Godfrey(Everton).

And you didn't actually give a concrete answer Shaps, just beat around the bush🤣}

24 Feb 2021 17:21:26
Mumbles, Harry Maguire was first scouted during Jose Mourinho's time. Jose wanted him when we bought Fred, but was told 50m was too much for him.

So I wouldn't be so sure he was an Ole target. Although I would imagine Ole agreed to the transfer. As for making him Captain, at the time who else was the stand out candidate? Rashford and McTominay were too young, while Bruno wasn't at the club at the time. From players who'd start most weeks and could be argued were top players he had a choice of DDG, Maguire, Lindelof and Pogba. Others were either older and wouldn't play every game such as Matic or probably too young for the role. Maguire was the best choice of a bad bunch.

We have defensive coaches at the club, Phelan and McKenna have both worked with our defensive set up. The reality is you can't teach a goldfish to climb a tree.

The issues we have with our defenders is fundamental basic mistakes which half decent defenders wouldn't be making after 10+ years as a professional. They have all had multiple coaches at club and international level at several different clubs. Yet they still make basic mistakes such as ball watching and being unaware of who is around them, and lacking the ability to open their mouth and talk to their team mates.

That's not an issue with defensive shape, or tactical planning. Its just that our defenders aren't very good.

24 Feb 2021 17:39:27
Shappy we've seen with Van De Beek what happens if you're not an Ole signing. Maguire has played more football than anyone on the planet over the last 18 months. He is unequivocally an Ole signing.

{Ed077's Note - I don't know where people get the impression that Maguire wasn't an Ole signing from and pretend as if Maguire was rammed down Ole's throat so to speak. Ole went and made him club captain inside Maguire's first six month at the club and if that was a decision Ole was forced to make and wasn't his choice whatsoever than he should have walked out right there and then.

People are rewriting history by plucking idea* from their own fantasy line to strength their viewpoints me says.}

24 Feb 2021 17:45:32
DSG - don't forget Fred at £50m+ and De Gea's contract.

We've spent untold wealth on De Gea, Maguire, Fred, Pogba and Lukaku. One is gone and the other 4 need replacing!

24 Feb 2021 18:37:10
Mumbles, I'm sorry but that's a terrible argument. It's well known that the club scouted and even approached Leicester about Maguire after the 2018 world cup while Jose was manager. We baulked at the 50m asking price, within 6 months Jose was sacked and the following summer we pay 80m for Maguire.

As for he wouldn't play if he wasn't an Ole signing, that is quite simply a terrible argument.

I mean if Ole didn't want to play Maguire he could play, looks at list, Phil Jones, or Eric Bailly, or maybe Axel Tuanzebe. The issue is even if you think any of these players are better than Maguire, you wouldn't get much chance because they are injured so often its hard to get them to play more than 5 games in a row without picking up an injury.

You could make just as strong an argument that Maguire and Lindelof play most weeks as they are the only 2 CB's who are fit 90% of the time.

Whereas Donny was signed to act as cover/ competition for Bruno who has been in phenomenal form and been undroppable since he signed.

Was Dan James an Ole signing? Is that why he rarely plays? Maybe AWB is an Ole signing because he plays every week instead of, checks list TFM.

Maguire plays every week because, one he is fit most week, and two because despite his limitations he is one of our best two CB's.

AWB plays every week because he he is our best RB and pretty much our only RB.

Fred and McTominay play every week if they are fit, neither were signed by Ole.

There is clear evidence that the club held an interest in Maguire before Ole was manager. I doubt the club signed any player against the managers will. Does that mean that because Ole agreed to the signing that it makes it his signing?

Well LvG agreed to the signings of Shaw and Herrera even though they weren't "his" signings but the deals were almost fully agreed before he took over. He still played them because they were better than the other players fighting for a starting spot.

As for making Maguire captain, he did so when previous club captain Ashley Young left for Inter Milan. So he had to pick from the players he had. Maguire seemed the the best choice, with Pogba, Matic and DDG the only other logical choices, as players who play regularly and have enough experience. A few weeks later Bruno signed and since then has shown he is the de facto leader of this side. But at the time Maguire was sadly the best choice.

24 Feb 2021 20:06:39
Looking past this season it is obvious that Maguire will be the CB that will survive any cull so the choice of any CB signing in the summer needs to start with understanding who he is, what is skills and weaknesses are and ensuring that whoever they buy meshes well with him.
For me this means we need a left footer (or at the very least someone who plays on the Left side and shift Maguire to the right side.
We also need a dominant pressence, by this I mean a leader and someone that will command the defence and the partnership.
I don't know enough about a lot of the names being mentioned but if we could get him out of Milan I think that Alessio Romagnoli would be ideal and our future captain.

24 Feb 2021 21:36:42
I think you underestimate our club if you think we would baulked at 50 millions. Our club never be afraid of splashing the cash for proven players and Maguire was a proven one.
Maguire was only 1 year at Leicester and he had just finished a good World Cup captaining (i think) his national team and played well. Summing all of the above I don't think Leicester would ask for only 50. I think at the time the asking price was closer to 100 rather at 50.

25 Feb 2021 07:31:50
Herrera, what our club is prepared to spend seems to depend on whether we have qualified for the UCL.

In the season's we don't qualify for the UCL we average a spend of 140m, in the season's we DO qualify for the UCL our spending drops to an average of 60m.

When the club finished 2nd they didn't see the value in spending 50m on Harry Maguire, yet the following season finishing 6th and suddenly the purse strings get loosened as they see the value in spending 80m on Harry Maguire.

25 Feb 2021 11:40:00
You seem to be sure that the price was 50. I think Leicester didn't want to sell after just one year and they told us a price they new we wouldn't pay at the time.
After a good World Cup in which captained his national team i would find it strange if they would have asked for 50. I remember it was much more.

25 Feb 2021 12:34:03
Harry Maguire isn't England captain, that's Harry Kane.

We tried to sign Maguire in the summer of 2018, around a year after he made his England debut (August 2017).

50m at that time for Maguire seemed excessive, he had only been at Leicester for one season at that time and had had a good World cup.

25 Feb 2021 12:41:34
Here is a quote from the Guardian from July 2018.

"Mourinho’s choice to prioritise buying a centre-back underlines his uncertainty of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelöf, while Phil Jones is prone to injury. Maguire impressed during England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals and would cost a minimum of £50m before any add-ons if he was to be prised away from Leicester"

The club wouldn't pay it that summer as they had just finished 2nd. A year later and having finished 6th they paid 80m.

How much we pay for a player very much depends on whether we qualify for the UCL.

Look at the summer just gone. We finish 3rd, chase Sancho all summer and end up going for a couple of kids one for an initial 19m, one for an initial 8m and Cavani on a free.

Chase the 80-90m player, but end up spending an initial 27m on two kids.

Supposedly Ole wanted Grealish, Villa said 70m, we sign Donny for 35m.

There is a very clear pattern that when the club finishes in the top 4 we shop in the bargain section, and only spend big when we need to get into the top 4.

For that reason I don't see us spending much more than 100m max this summer unless we finish 5th or lower.

24 Feb 2021 07:39:02
{Ed's Note - Ed001 has posted a new article entitled, Review Of The Day 24th February 2021

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