City’s money can’t compete with Fergie’s management

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It is one of the most common, overused and tediously boring football clichés, yet a true one: football is a team sport.

We are constantly reminded that “individuals win games” while “teams win trophies” or, to describe it in a way that would make David Cameron proud, “the team is in this together” and “we win together and lose together”.

Boring and predictable as it might sound, there’s some truth to it, as exemplified by the latest outcomes of the title race.

All year we’ve been treated to a battle between the noveau riche of Manchester City – a collection of egos that would rival the backstage of a Hollywood premiere – with literally too much money on their hands for their own good and Manchester United, a team managed by the son of a working class area of Glasgow.

United have spent hefty fees during Fergie’s reign but the siege mentality of togetherness and hard work has been ingrained for free by the Scot onto his players.

The “United in decline” trumpets got even louder earlier this season as the Old Trafford side were humiliated at home by their neighbours, fell five points behind them in the league and were knocked out in the three cups.

City, on the other hand looked destined to sail to the title, but were ultimately defeated by their own worst enemy. City themselves.

As United huffed and puffed to close the gap, City’s dressing room started to resemble a soap opera – and a bad one at that – where players were allowed to take three months off to play golf in South America before being allowed back into the team and acclaimed as saviours despite Mancini’s claims that “Tevez will never play for City again.”

United, even in time of deep crisis, have always had a certainty: Fergie has one word and one word only. Players that have dared to step on the wrong side of him have been shown the door, no matter how good or how adored by the fans they were.

“No one is bigger than Manchester United,” said Sir Alex a few years back, and he still maintains the same policy.

Compare this to Mancini’s ridiculous management of the Balotelli saga – criticised in public and yet defended by his own manager who has always seemed intent to laugh off the problems created by the Italian – and the dressing room unrest that have filtered out of City’s camp as Mancini declared that the players shouldn’t worry about handling Balotelli, therefore undermining his team’s cohesion and unity.

Imagine Sir Alex taking to the papers to claim he’s in a charge of the dressing room? If it sounds like madness it’s because it is!

A bit like thinking that the majority of City players are driven by the same passion and love for the club that has been drummed into their red counterparts for the last 25 years.

Daniele Cancian (@MUFC_dan87)

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7 Comments

  1. A very good read Daniele.

    Once again it seems that we are heading for another league title, our 20th, which is a fantastic achievement in its own right. We’re on course for a record points total and have scored a record amount of goals at this stage of the season. We are unbeaten against Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs, dropping only 4 points from those encounters, when in recent seasons we have not even come close to doing that well against the top teams. Now whether you put that down to the decline of the top teams (which would be my opinion), or that we have drastically improved, it’s anyone’s guess.

    However, this season has also seen many a rude awakening. Our home form has deteriorated dramatically, and it’s difficult to find a nadir among so many disappointments and humiliations, whether you point out the Basel and Benfica games when we conspired to fuck up the easiest group in the Champions League, the shame of losing to Blackburn at home with a Park-Rafael midfield (I don’t think Anderson playing on his own could beat that for crapness), the footballing lesson given by Bielsa’s young Athletic, or being annihalated by City who desecrated a once sacred temple of invincibility with a scoreline that we won’t be forgetting any time soon.

    This was the starting midfield against AC Milan in the 2nd leg of a CL semi-final:

    Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs

    They were outplayed that night and we returned to England with our asses bruising from a 3-0 beating. And yet, fast forward to 2012 and we would line up with at least 3 of those midfielders against a top European team had we qualified from the group stages this season. This is incredibly frustrating. After the 2009 CL final debacle, Fergie has spent 3 seasons spouting lies, false praise and in cowardly hiatus when he should have been trying to improve our midfield. He knew Ronaldo was going to leave, and that meant Rooney would play lone striker in Europe, so a world class midfield was a must if we were to continue our European adventures. Barcelona appeared to be the perfect team, yet they swapped Eto’o for Ibrahimovic, promoted Pedro and Busquets because they knew standing still was not an option. Ibra was a costly error of judgment, but Pep didn’t feel sorry for himself like we did with Berba and ill advisedly persist with him. No, he loaned out Ibra and completed his frontline with a top class marksman, David Villa. The following summer he bought Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas, despite having possibly the best midfield and attack this world has ever seen.

    I just feel that we have stood still for too long, and concentrated on papering over the cracks rather than try to find a permanent solution, and you can point to the Glazer ownership all you like for lack of resources, but we spent £50 million in the summer. One only has to look at Newcastle to see that there is value in the market and either Fergie can’t see it or refuses to see it. Unfortunately, due to 3-4 seasons of tentative bargain shopping, we need a complete makeover in both midfield and in attack, of even standing a chance in Europe next season. City will just continue spending, and I fear that with the disruptive influences of Tevez and Balotelli gone, and the experience of how they lost the title this season, we may not be able to stop them. If Mancini is sacked and Mourinho joins them, then I really fear for us next season.

    And please, can we give this 3 man midfield a go this summer, at least in the pre-season?

    • @Moscow: 4231 is the way forward.

      Next season is going to be really interesting. Our best back 4 is everyone is fit is probably Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra. That means one of Evans, Smalling and Jones will consistently not make the bench, and none of them are back up for LB w/Fabio off on loan and Fryers not signing a new contract. Add into that our reported deal with Nathaniel Clyne (who can play LB) we will have a serious SERIOUS defence.

      The sitting 2 at the moment would be Carrick and Scholes, but we need to replace Satnav this summer. We have to. He has dragged us kicking and screaming to the title, at 38. And he’s only played half a season. If he’d have been in the side since September he;d be knackered by now.

      The only midfielder we have capable of doing what Scholes does is Carrick, but we have no-one to be HIS Carrick if he’s busy ‘being the Scholes’. If you follow. So we either need a good game reader who can cut things out and give it to Carrick to make the passes, or a player who can make the passes for Carrick to pass to.

      The behind the striker as it stands would be Valencia Cleverley Young. I know the introduction of Cleverley is a bit controversial there, but we need someone who will pass the ball and get into space for a return or turn and run at the defence. Rooney doesn’t do it because it’s not his natural game. When was the last time you saw him run at someone and beat them? Valencia and Young are our best wing combo as they both stretch the play and offer two options. Young cuts in and whips to the back post, Valencia goes to the by line and pulls it back / drills it to near post. Nani is to interested in getting a trick off than getting a cross in.

      Up top that leaves Rooney. We need him in and around the box putting the chances away, not coming to halfway to pick the ball up off Ferdinand and getting in Scholes way, and that leaves Welbeck and Hernandez on the bench, which against Rooney neither could really complain.

      So my first team would be

      DDG
      Rafael Ferdinand Vidic Evra
      Carrick Scholes
      Valencia Cleverley Young
      Rooney

      And with Fabio off on loan, Berbatov and Owen off that leaves us with Lindegaard, Evans, Smalling, Jones, Anderson, Pogba, Park, Giggs, Nani, Bebe, Welbeck, Hernandez as first team backup.

      Again we look Packed in defence and light in midfield. Park and Giggs’ time must soon be up. We absolutely have to sign 1 if not 2 midfielders this summer if we’re to go to win our 21st League and compete in Europe.

  2. The will to win of Mourinho, the fatherly concern of Guardiola. Put them together, and what have you got? Sir Alex Ferguson

  3. De Gea; Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young; Hernandez, Rooney.

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