Writing this after another frustrating draw at home again Everton yesterday, I was left with a similar sense of deja vu. There’s been a lot of negative reaction, with comparisons to LVG’s points tally after his first season but I’m writing this to add some perspective and say why I still fully trust Mourinho.
There are players who should leave
I’m specifically talking about Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini. These two players had a purple patch during LVG’s first season, although apart from that, they have offered very little for years.
Young is reliable in the sense that he doesn’t normally let you down, from a managerial perspective. But in terms of quality with his crosses, take-ons, general attacking threat, dynamism- he simply does not offer anything.
Everyone knows (and Mourinho has said it publicly) that Fellaini does not have technical ability. So when he plays, whether consciously or unconsciously, the team feels the need to resort to long balls. Without him playing, that target man is not there and the team has to keep the ball on the floor.
Lingard also cannot be a starter ahead of Mkhitaryan or Martial, no matter how bad their form is. I’ve never been a big fan of Lingard. He has some good games, scores some nice goals but his actual footballing ability/potential is simply not on the level of Mkhitaryan and Martial. I’m not saying he should leave, he just should not start ahead of the other wingers.
It’s not the same as LVG
For anyone who’s said ‘They’ve spent all this money and there’s no progress’, they have not been watching the games. Granted, the last two games have not been particularly good but in so many matches, it’s been chance after chance. Post, save, miss, crossbar. So frustrating- I’ve never known a team that is so bad at finishing.
For example, even though Ibrahimovic has scored 27 goals, he missed some HUGE, 100%, ‘he has to score’ chances. Yesterday, Fellaini completely missed the target when he’s standing on the six-yard line.
I really don’t think United are far away from challenging for the league, but we need a clinical finisher- and Ibrahimovic is not that. I do expect Griezmann to join so that should be interesting and would potentially solve that issue.
The key difference between this season and LVG, is that with him, United would create one to two chances in an entire match and win 1-0. Van Gaal was good at getting results-at least in the first season. What made it worse is that he thought they were good performances. His ideal game seemed to be 70% possession, bore the opposition until they make a mistake and win 1-0.
Mourinho knows and has said the last two performances haven’t been good and so I’m sure he knows what this team needs for next season and I’m confident he’ll do the right transfers/changes.
Of course, getting Champions League is important and I wouldn’t rule out the top 4 in the PL yet. There are still 8-9 games for a lot of teams so there are plenty of points to play for.
As for the Europa League, the only team that should really pose a threat is Lyon. Aside from that, there isn’t much competition to win it. However, it is a cup competition so it’s a bit of a risky game to rely totally on that.
I know it’s frustrating for fans, including myself but we have to be patient. I think it’s fine details that are costing the team at the moment- I really don’t think we are a long way off. Again to add some perspective, last season, the team had nothing apart from Martial, and Rashford towards the end. I still think our current team is moving forward, but again patience is key at the moment.