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It’s a Knockout for Frei-ghtened United

“Thursday nights, Channel 5!” was a chant designed by Manchester United fans when Liverpool failed to get a top four spot in 2010, but expect it to be heard more often the next few months. United’s loss to Basel was excruciating, humiliating, and painful. Memories of Benfica and the failings of the 2005/06 season were reminders for Ferguson going in to the game. “Back then we had a lot of injuries and young players trying to break into the squad, this time it is totally different” were the words from our manager before the Basel game. But was it different? Just like then we lost 2-1 in our final game, going out in the group qualification.

Why? How did this happen? Fergie blamed injuries and inexperience for our failings back then, but are they good enough excuses after what we saw on Wednesday?

First off, it is important to note that the injury to Vidic was a big blow to us. Just like Chicharito’s injury weakens our attacking threat, our Serbian skipper makes a big difference to our defensive performances. As it currently stands United have conceded 3 goals in the 9 games Vidic has been on the pitch, a big difference compared to the 15 conceded in the remaining 15 games. His knee-injury looks very serious as well. Despite being a big lad himself, getting the biggest players on the pitch, Streller on 6’5 and weighting 87 kg, falling on your leg and crushing an already stretched knee is pain no-one can imagine. At best Vidic is out for 4 months, at worst it could be his footballing career being ended. Realistically, we will not see him on the pitch again this season. And that is a major worry.

The two goals United conceded were very soft, very unlike Manchester United. The referee cannot be blamed for stopping the play with Smalling injured, but with him on the ground there was no-one to challenge Shaqiri from putting a hard cross in. De Gea could have done much better on the cross, but it was hard and low and very difficult to do anything about. When you let a player like Shaqiri put a cross in with that much room around him, there is bound to be a big, big chance in the offing. The same happened for our second goal, with Rio being too slow to close down Shaqiri. He ran towards the wing with our big man just jogging after, never looking like wanting to take the ball. The little magician turned and put a delightful cross in, but had Vidic been on the pitch it is hard to see it being scored on. Evans is not strong or tall enough to challenge Streller, and without looking at the ball he just went in with one thing in mind- stopping Streller. That he did, but when a cross comes in with that velocity and direction, letting it run past you is incredible dangerous. It caught Smalling out, and Frei was left with a simple header into the net. 2-0, and game over.

Despite being an area of blame, our midfield did not do badly. Jones did very well, and despite not having the intelligence to dominate in a two man midfield, he broke up play and got the ball moving. Giggsy on the other hand, had a very difficult night. He did well defensively, but when he got the ball he lost it too often. Now, it is unfair to give Giggsy too much stick for this. He tried to create chances, and played the ball into space for Rooney and Park to collect, but there was never any real movement up front to make those smart passes count. The one time when Rooney decided to chase, he got a one-on-one with the keeper but smashed it right at him. Despite being engines and real work-horses, Rooney and Park are both players who want the ball at their feet rather than room. An on form Rooney would probably have had a hat-trick on Wednesday, but in the form he is in he does not look much of a threatening player. He missed a simple tap-in in the first half, and shot either wide or straight at the goalkeeper whenever given a chance to blast it.

Rooney was extremely disappointing. His head does not seem right, and his hunger for goals seems to have disappeared. He does not move into areas where he knows he can get a goal, but rather comes deep to collect and partake in the build up. When playing as a lone striker, this does not make much sense, and it made it hard for both Nani and Young to make an impact on the game. How often did they get to the byline, only to swing a cross in to an empty area? Nani kept on going though, and was probably the only player who can go out of this game with his head held high. He skinned Joo Ho time and time again, swung crosses in with pace, and had not the crossbar or a painfully bad Rooney been in the way he could have had two or three assists to his name. He played with real determination, unlike our Englishman on the other side. Young disappointed, and looked lost. He started the game brightly, but faded as the game progressed. He got into areas where he could put the ball in, only for him to see no-one in there and then opt for a short backpass to Evra or Giggsy. Whenever we had bodies in their box, it was Park or Rooney, and with their two central defenders having a combined height of 1,87 m there was never really any chance we were going to get our goal that way. Ashley does not possess the skill of putting a hard and low cross in from the left, so his inclusion was unnecessary at best.

All our dangerous attacks came from United’s right wing. Smalling and Nani performed admirably, but because of horrible movement up front there was no way their raids were going to end in a goal. Summer did well and collected a lot of crosses, being quick on his line and stopping us whenever we came close to his goal. We had at least 7 goalmouth chances we should have scored from, but our wastefulness in front of goal punished us to the extreme. And it is not like you have not seen him coming. For the last few games United have created chance after chance, but only gotten a goal or two out of the game. Passing instead of shooting, shooting instead of passing, opting for the wrong option, and absolute shit movement up front is to blame for this. It is no surprise Hernandez has scored so often for United lately, it seems he is the only one willing to work his socks off in the opposing penalty area. Had he not been injured and played yesterday, he could well easily have scored a hat-trick!

The build-up play United have shown in the last few games has been impressing. They have gotten more possession than the opponent and created more chances than anyone they have faced ever since the City game. Bad luck can be the cause of our poor attacking play, but when it happens for so many games in a row you really start to wonder if it is just that. Sir Alex saw his side hit the crossbar twice in Switzerland, twice against Swansea, twice against Newcastle, and against Benfica they created more than enough chances to win the game by 5 or 6 goals. Rooney has not scored since September either, so it is worrying times for Sir Alex and everyone connected to Manchester United.

It must be said though, that this never should have been a game we needed to win. The whole Champions League campaign has been full of soft goals conceded after suicidal defensive performances. Conceding 3 at home to Basel says it all really, and the 2 goals going against United in the Benfica game must be two of the softest goals you are likely to see. Both those games should have been won after being in a comfortable position, but ended in painful draws which eventually have seen us knocked out from our group. Interesting to note is that 4 of the 5 goals conceded in two games against Basel came from crosses, which is usually United’s strongest area. Our defensive play is built up to force opponents wide and swing crosses in, and expect them to be easily dealt with by Smalling, Ferdinand, or Vidic. It has worked ever since our knockout in 2005, but without Vidic it has been our Achilles. We will probably see a lot of Johnny Evans this season, so Fergie needs to sort this tactic out. Rio does not function properly without the Serbian, and despite Evans being relatively strong in the air he does lose a lot of aerial battles.

There was not much we could do about the Basel game. Inexperience is not an excuse as many of our players have partaken in the Champions League for many, many years. Injuries are a big issue, and they combined with our poor defensive performances this season knocked us out. Offensively United do not do too much wrong, it is just the killer instinct that is lacking. As soon as our chances turn into goals, we will see players gain confidence and more will fly in. The injuries forced Fergie’s hand, as Park and Rooney were our only striking options, unless you count Macheda of course. Welbeck has been injured for a long time, and trying to force him back in these injury ridden days is on the brink of idiocy. As soon as he came on United started to threaten and looked dangerous, and it was his rebounded shot that eventually led to our goal. If only he had been properly fit.

United have a team built up with a squad made to win any game. In the squad you will find players who can do different things and offer our squad new dimension based on what opposition we face. But with all these injuries, no-one really sees that. The team does lack two incredibly vital things though. A core, and a talisman. Rooney seems much more comfortable being the supplier than the big offensive threat, and United do not have that player who can give defenders nightmares or turn a game on its head within seconds. A touch, a shot, a trick, something to fire everyone up. Whether this player is a midfielder or a striker does not really matter much at United, but the club does need someone with that extra special. After the 2005 experience Ronaldo grew into exactly that player, and hopefully there will be someone who can do the same thing this time around. As a team, it is hard to see a proper first XI out there for United. Squad rotation is obviously hurting our players, and Rooney seems to be the biggest victim. Being a supplier, he needs a solid foundation around him. He, along with United, have played well when he has been partnered up front with Chicharito, but having to switch between striker, midfielder, and headless chicken, having to change his game twice a week, is hurting him. It is not the Wayne Rooney we all know. Hopefully someone within the club will pick it up, because it definitely needs sorting.

United are always at their best when disappointment is at its highest. Pain and humiliation is just an experience these players will have to learn from, and hopefully they will show results. For now, let us hope they bounce back with a real victory against Wolves!




  1. Moscow is my heaven

    8 December 2011 at 23:49

    The United midfield who were schooled by AC Milan at the San Siro, in the Champions League semi-final 2nd leg 06/07:

    Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Giggs

    Fast forward to 2011/12…

    • RedDevilEddy

      9 December 2011 at 00:01

      You’ve become a real “FIRST!!” kind of guy on this blog! 😀

  2. RedDevilEddy

    8 December 2011 at 23:59

    Really worried about Rooney’s form. When his spark returned last January it made us look like we actually were the team who deserved to win the title! Hope it returns, it’s desperately needed.

  3. Faizah

    9 December 2011 at 00:11

    What’s surprising me is that I’m not that shocked, it wasn’t about this match only, but the whole season in general, we were not up to the challenge.
    Injuries were a major blow for us this season – so far – but for me, there’s no excuse to be knocked out from the (group stage)!.. our problem is bigger than just one or two missing players. Obviously there are some players who are not a (United players) I’m not gonna pointing on them now, because I don’t want to say they were to blame, but we don’t have a decent central midfielder, that’s why we don’t control games and our defense is (in the open) since our midfield don’t cover it.
    Anyways, United always reach their best on December and January, I hope this would be the case this season as well!

  4. Ian

    9 December 2011 at 00:35

    Sorry Eddy but… topic…..

    Who’s lovin’ the comment counter down the right?

    Not seen it mentioned yet so thought I’d as. Looks a bit scruffy imo but that’s the best it can be, great idea though, hope you agree, all.

    • RedDevilEddy

      9 December 2011 at 00:48

      I like it, but how the fuck I’m not on the Top 3 list makes me as confused as Fernando Torres is in front of goal 😆

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      9 December 2011 at 05:27

      I think using the average number of likes per post as a better indicator of “Top Commenter”

      • Ian

        9 December 2011 at 20:45

        If I could….I would, great idea though.

    • Craig Mc

      9 December 2011 at 17:00

      Oh Fuck – I hate being in front at anything – always best to lag slightly behind and then like United most seasons sneak up from behind 😆 . So I am gonna have to take some time out – BIG TIME 😆 😆 😆 . See ya in the New Year – by the way have a good one!

  5. godzilla

    9 December 2011 at 03:32

    I dont see you in top 3 on my screen- its showing craig, opti and stephen 🙂

    • Craig Mc

      9 December 2011 at 17:02

      Boo – come on Eddi get ya count up mi man!

  6. Eddie Griffin

    9 December 2011 at 10:18

    And it is confirmed…

    Get well Vida, and see you next season.

    • Ian

      9 December 2011 at 10:53

      I disliked this Eddie, but I disliked the news not the post mate.

      Gary Cahill in January anybody?


      • Traverse

        9 December 2011 at 12:17

        It’s worse than that mate. I’m hearing we’re having Alex from Chelsea.

        • Ian

          9 December 2011 at 14:02

          When he first signed for Chelsea I thought we’d missed a trick tbh, since then he’s not looked so reliable from a consistency point of view but then he hasn’t seemed to have that many extended runs in the team.

          If he could re-find the form I think he’s a good option. If he can’t then yes agreed, not the answer.

      • tonymontanna4united

        9 December 2011 at 13:06

        I like cahill tbh. Hes not very elegant or even the most talented, but hes a good reader of the game, is very disciplined, gets stuck in and leads by example. For £5m or whatever pathetically low amount hes available for, we’d be foolish not to make a move imo.
        Would also like to see us go for gregory van der wiel of ajax, who likewise, is apparently available for peanuts with only 5 months left on his contract, and is a fantastic prospect, but even £5m here and £5m there is probably pushing it with this club.
        Midfield is where the problem lies, and with money not likely to be made readily available, it probably is a case of prioritising and waiting to spend whatever we get on a midfielder. Shame really, as there are some really talented players out there, who seem to be going for a song at the minute.

    • tonymontanna4united

      9 December 2011 at 12:57

      Well, thats as good as season over for us too then, unless of course we spend some serious money in january, which we all know isnt going to happen.
      Will have to settle with evans for the forseeable future then. Expect to see our clean sheet run end indefinitely, and our average for goals conceeded to double instantly. The attackers had better start pulling their finger out, because were not gonna be able to just rely on the 1 goal seeing us through any more.
      Massive blow to the side, get well soon vida.

    • AndyCR7

      9 December 2011 at 15:32


      • tonymontanna4united

        9 December 2011 at 16:13

        I like shawcross too, but stoke wont be wanting to sell him so he wont come cheap. Cahill as i said, not the greatest player on this earth, but would most definitely come in, and do a good job, which is more than i can say for evans whose had enough chances already, and jones who, whilst quality, is still defensively naive.
        For £5m too, i say hell yes.

  7. colver

    9 December 2011 at 11:04

    Yeah horrible blow to lose Vidic which leaves Rio and Evra as our only experienced defenders. Letting O’Shea and Brown go in retrospect looks like a boner move. With the twins unable to stay fit (surely the whole point of having twins is that if one is injured the other will be fit!) it looks like Jones will have to learn to defend and put on hold his evolution into a midfielder.

    As I commented on a previous thread we have 8 first team injuries to City’s 1 (Kolorov who is hardly vital to their plans). Why is that happening? And why is it ALWAYS our defence?

    I dispute Eddie’s comment we have the squad to win any game. That may be true for the Premier League but it certainly isn’t true for Europe. We had our first XI out there against Barcelona and got crushed in our last two meetings. Even adding Cleverley to the mix would not be enough to bridge the gap.

    Real Madrid have stepped up a level and would beat our first XI as well. And you could make a case for Bayern Munich doing the same.

    I agree with a fully fit team that is on form we are still worthy of a place in the quarter finals or semi finals. But form and fitness have escaped us in Europe this season and it is very worrying.

    A core and a talisman are a good summary of what we need. Rodwell and Goetze/Sneijder would fit the bill. With them in the middle alongside Carrick or Cleverley we could easily drop Rooney when he plays like this and still do perfectly fine with Hernandez or even Berbatov on their own upfront.

    Europe is a different ball game and 4-4-2 doesn’t work. We learnt that a long time ago. And without a creative midfielder or wingers capable of cutting inside 4-4-1-1 does not really work much better.

    We are set up to play 4-4-2 in what has been a worrying regression to 90s football. That is the first thing which needs to be addressed.

    • tonymontanna4united

      9 December 2011 at 13:16

      To be honest, id prefer we moved smalling centrally, and put jones out as full back. Maybe rio and smalling are too similar for it work, but tbh i thought smalling was quality last season when he played at CB, and feel hes rather wasted at full back, so would like to atleast see him get a few games there again.
      Just anyone other than evans though and im happy. Everytime he plays he makes the entire back line look shaky, and we must average atleast 2 goals a game we conceed with him in the team.

    • RedDevilEddy

      9 December 2011 at 14:21

      My point about having the squad to win any game is actually open for debate, I think it’s an interesting subject. Look at our midfield, our wingers, strikers, even defenders, we have such a broad variety of them! Perhaps the only things we are lacking is a proper ball winner in midfield, 90’s style, but other than that we are pretty much fulled up! Now, I’m not saying the quality of our players is challenging to others in the position. Cleverley is our ball-playing midfielder with an engine, he is a quite unique player. But then we have Gibson, who is a poor-mans Lampard, Fletcher, who is a sad mix between Scholes and Ramires, and Anderson, who for me this season looks like a mix between Charlie Adam and Benzema. Seriously, if that’s not sad then I don’t know! 😆 😆 But truth is that’s what it’s like. Every team has a foundation that they are proud of, but our squad makes us more flexible. Different combinations are, for me, the downfall of this team, as no-one really gets to show their worth and we don’t really have a true core. But on the other hand it’s one of the things that makes us win so many games! It’s frustrating, and a point definately up for debate. As we’ve seen for many years now, unlike many other top teams it’s not the quality of our First XI that wins trophies, but the squad.

      Bar Barcelona and Real Madrid, I actually think we have a squad capable of beating any team. But that is when everyone’s fit. Or firing or all cylinders, right now there isn’t a single man playing as if he wanted to. They all look in pain! Vidic was awesome and gave us some spark, but with him out for the remainer for the season things are looking bleak. Hope we’ll manage to cope, but truthfully, I think that’s our season in ruins. 🙁

  8. Vignesh

    9 December 2011 at 14:06

    Maybe a full time 4-2-3-1 system is the way to go 🙄 🙄

    And new additions – Rodwell / L.Baines / Gary Cahill
    (if at all money is available :mrgreen: :mrgreen: ) – this is what manchester united could afford 🙁

  9. RedDevilEddy

    9 December 2011 at 14:27

    The only defender in this world capable of replacing Vidic is Chiellini. Smalling and Evans are good defenders, but if we are to use any of them it’ll mean we have to force opponents inside rather than let them cross. We are so voulnerable from crosses without Vidic it’s amazing, Smalling is better on the ground as is Rio currently.

    But truthfully, I don’t think anything can help us with Vida out. Seriously, that is the biggest blow we could have gotten. Rather Rooney or Nani out than Vida… 😥 😥

    • tonymontanna4united

      9 December 2011 at 16:10

      A few years ago chiellini looked the dogs bollocks, really thought he was going to go on and become one of the best around, but from what ive heard it sounds like hes gone down the evra route, and seen his career deteriorate in recent years.
      I base that only what ive heard though, i dont know as i never, and i mean never, watch the italian league, so dont know how true that is and cant judge myself.
      If we had money to blow and were looking for a top class CB, then id pay big bucks for neven subotic. Absolute monster of a player, the heir apparent to vida in the serbian national team, would be good to see him alongisde vida here too in the future sometime.

    • Craig Mc

      9 December 2011 at 17:10

      Nani out – well fook you and your ill notions mate 🙄 .

      • RedDevilEddy

        9 December 2011 at 17:40

        It’s not that I want Nani out mate, you know that! 😀 But we do have decent cover for Nani in Valencia, we don’t really have a defender with the presence, experience or strength of Vidic… It’s gonna be a tough ride.

        • Stephen

          9 December 2011 at 17:45

          Rio? I wouldn’t be suprised if we never see Vida again in a United shirt.

  10. tonymontanna4united

    9 December 2011 at 16:03

    I wish fergie would stop saying “weve got a young squad” all the time, acting as if our shoddy showings this season are down to the fact weve gone down the wenger route and thrown in dozens of young kids.
    Rio, vida, evra, carrick, fletcher, park, nani, rooney all regular first teamers most weeks, all with years of experience, and in the case of 5 of them, 30 or over, and also regular squad players in the shape of anderson, young, valencia, evans, berbatov are all hardly inexperienced first years.
    Yes weve introduced some young players this year, particularly in the backline, but on the whole, theyve acquitted themselves very very well overall. Its been the rios, evras, rooneys, fletchers, nanis of this world that have let the side down.
    I just get the feeling from these quotes by fergie, that hes buying into his whole “youth policy” far too much. If we’d gone out to basle with a team with an average age of 20/21, as we were doing at the start of the season then fair enough, but the defeat to city, the defeat to palace, the basle loss was with a team with plenty of elder, experienced squad members.
    So too were the poor performances against the likes of benfica, everton, swansea etc.
    We havent been doing a wenger and throwing in dozens of youngsters, or been over using the likes of morrison, pogba and fryers.
    We went out of the CL, lost to palace, got turned over by city, not because of the younger lads, but because there are a number of players in this squad, who have been here years, havent put in the type of performances you expect for them, take their places for granted, or have lost the hunger and desire the big prizes anymore.
    So im sorry, but this whole “were in a transition arguement” i buy to an extent, i mean we have been blooding the likes of de gea, jones, smalling, clevs, welbs, but in fairness apart from van der sar, who have we really moved on and replaced with a younger, long term prospect? (ok scholes to an extent with cleverley you could say)
    Giggs is still playing, carrick is still a first teamer, rio, vida and evra start every week, fletcher is first team or there abouts, rooney is our so called MVP and thus undroppable, nani likewise.
    Thats the same core of the team it has been for 3 odd years now.
    So whilst i buy we are in a transition of sorts, its in no way the same sort of transition we were experiencing between 2004-6 for example.
    So sorry fergie, but i find that a rather weak excuse to be honest, and the way he snapped at keane for saying we got what we deserved, the way hes pinning all this on the fact weve got a “young squad” doesnt fill me with confidence tbh. Sounds like the long term problems are being overlooked again to me.

  11. [OPTI]Madschester United

    9 December 2011 at 16:09

    If we don’t beat Wolves… we’re in trouble!

    • Moscow is my heaven

      9 December 2011 at 17:03

      It would be a big opportunity missed with City travelling to Stamford Bridge on Monday.

      • Traverse

        9 December 2011 at 20:35

        Yeah, I’m not going to start panicking until after this weekends run of fixtures. We could find ourselves 2 points off the top. If it’s 10 or 11, then there is a problem.

        • Traverse

          9 December 2011 at 20:41

          I mean 7 or 8, obviously.

  12. Stephen

    9 December 2011 at 17:11

    I am not panicing about the loss of Vida, as long as Fergie playes either Smalling or Jones at the back. These two are the future not Evans, who at best looks shaky. I am still to be convinced with Jones as a midfield player, for me the way he played on Wednesday was the way G Red called Side Show Bob, “controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a Playstation.”

  13. Stephen

    9 December 2011 at 17:17

    We also need to address our system, Fergie sometimes now looks like an analog watch in a digital age.

  14. Moscow is my heaven

    9 December 2011 at 17:47

    It’s not about finding Rooney’s best position. It’s about finding what is best for the team right now. He needs to play as a lone striker in a 4-5-1, and if that restricts him from his ‘amazing’ creativity and playmaking then tough shit. He is no David Silva or Wesley Sneijder either, so frankly he needs to stop believing his own hype as anything other than a striker.

    Rooney is a shit attacking midfielder (there, I said it), not much better than Anderson besides shooting. He doesn’t attack the goal anyway, can’t play truly incisive, central passes. He just picks up the ball very deep goodness knows where, finds his route forward blocked, shimmies and hits a cross-field pass which lately has been found out by the opposition. Even if it finds one of our wingers, it finds them in a tight corner which will amount to nothing, or the wingers can’t pick out a cross because Rooney is even deeper than Carrick on the pitch.

    Rooney, you are not a technical player, get over yourself and play the game which made your name. It’s a good thing his Street Striker programme ended on Sky because kids would be laughing at how shocking he is right now.

  15. Yang

    9 December 2011 at 18:02

    Attacking is more than fine, CC defeat is expected because line up is totally composed with reserve and young players.

    I think team is way too young to cope CL game.

    Defense has been a problem for 2-3 seasons since Rio got fitness issue. Last season start was disaster not because attacking is lacking but because keep give away soft goals.

    It will take at least 2-3 more months to see composed defense. Look at the first Basel goal, we can see there is lack of understanding between defenders.

    Number of defenders is more than enough but player’s positioning is totally wrong. Young and Nani start to realize need to come back more quickly when we lose the ball. We are very shaky when cross coming on simply give too much space to opposition wide attackers.

    Footy is no need more than 2 goals per game. We didn’t need to win against Basel. We conceded 3 goals after 2 goals up at home game what players were thinking at that game? Did we need more goals?

    Re-watching Basel game again, player look very nervous. there is no way we will win CL with this mental preparation and this is not anyone’s fault. Simple fact, we need to wait for while new players need time to gel and gain some experience.

  16. Traverse

    9 December 2011 at 20:11

    We need to start this team against Wolves and go for it. No Giggs. No Park. Welbeck has to start. Carrick Fletch protect defence and give the ball out wide.

    De Gea
    Smalling Ferdinand Jones Evra
    Carrick Fletcher
    Nani Rooney Young

    A true 4-2-3-1 not a 4-5-1. We need to start playing in 2011, not 1996.

    • RedDevilEddy

      9 December 2011 at 21:55

      Switch the positions of Smalling and Jones and I agree 100% with the team!

      But Young has played two games in a row now against Villa and Basel, so expect him to be on the bench. We will probably see Valencia or Park take his spot, bah 🙁

    • tonymontanna4united

      9 December 2011 at 23:06

      As eddy says, swap smalling and jones around, switch nani onto the left, valencia in for young on the right, and to hell with evra, am bloody sick of him and his big mouth, bring in young fryers at full back. Sorted.

  17. colver

    9 December 2011 at 21:59

    If we can get Cahill on the cheap it would be a fabulous deal. With defenders experience is so important and with Rio in and out of the team and Vidic out all season that is where we are lacking. Jones and Evans both make far too many mistakes at centre back. I can see Cahill and Smalling as our long term centre back pairing with Jones as an utility man.

    Eddie, I still don’t get your point. It is true we have a lot of varied players capable of different roles. Our squad depth is as good as any team in the world, I agree. But we are definitely short on quality and our manager often shows an astonishing tactical ineptitute when it comes to getting the best out of our diverse squad.

    Also while injuries didn’t help in Europe, arrogance and complacency on the part of the players and manager did not help either. Reaching three finals in the last four years does not give us a divine right to qualify for the knock out rounds.

    There are some very good teams in Europe more than capable of causing an upset in a cup tie. As we’ve seen this season with teams like Napoli, Olympiakos, Basle and other surprise packages.

    I suggest we develop some humility and try and win the Europa competition rather than treating it like the Carling Cup and picking teams out of a hat with nonsensical formations and tactics.

    • RedDevilEddy

      10 December 2011 at 01:01

      Won’t take the Europa League seriously tbh. It’s like the Carling Cup for me, something that I wouldn’t mind winning but still not a priority. Getting to the final means getting Thursdag-Sunday-Thursday-Monday games, which is shit to be honest. I’m not saying we should play the reserve team, but we shouldn’t take it as serious as we would have taken the Champions League. If we progress to the final, and have a midweek game before the City fixture in April, to fucks with starting Nani or Rooney!

      Definately agree with your point about quality though. We don’t have a talisman. Something that Ronaldo was renown for was his ability to pop up with a goal or an assist despite doing fuck all for the 90 minutes. Give him just a second and he’ll punish you, and I’d say the same about Nani as his quality is unquestionable, it’s just his inconsistency that hinders him. Wayne though, the man supposed to be our talisman, can be given minutes of freedom and still wouldn’t produce something noteworthy if his form has dropped. What makes a good player is his ability to remain consistently good, or at least consistently effective, and Wayne just can’t do that. Defo need some quality in the team, but still don’t see it being Sneijder. Anyone having watched Inter in the Serie A these last two season will know that he, just like Rooney, produces fuck all and complains about everything if things don’t go his way. His value has dropped insanely, ask me now and he’s definately not worth more than £20 million. He’s been a disgrace this season, Inter have actually started benching him! Wouldn’t say no to Gøtze, Sturridge, Modric, or Bale, but other than that….

      • [OPTI]Madschester United

        10 December 2011 at 04:59

        Götze, Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze,Götze!!!!!!

        No Cahill, Bale, Rodwell crap. Over-rated british youngster in my opinion.

        Get Götze, promote Pogba/Morrison and let them sink/swim.

        Let’s get real and f*ck*ng PLUNDER wolves tomorrow… anything less and my heart-rate will climb and my nails retreat…. I can handle this sh*t!!!

      • Yang

        10 December 2011 at 06:39

        With current defense, we won’t win any cup. League is bit different but knockout cup game need water tight defense.

        Still, I hope we try best to win Euro cup. I dislike concept which devalue minor cup. why you cannot win minor cup? when you think you can win top prize cup. Winning breed strong mental and pride.

        We won’t win the cup but I hope we try hard at least.

  18. Spizzy

    10 December 2011 at 06:44

    I fear for our future because fergie has totally missed the lesson of city’s defeat and the cl exit.
    It wasn’t who was playing it was the tactics we used. We have a very average squad, with a shit midfield but even then we should have been able to qualify. Id go as far to say a swiss team full of unknown players using the right tactics would have qualified from that group. Oh wait… They did.
    Sought out the tactics first and quit relying on wing play as your only source of goals. You have been found out and teams are no longer getting streched by wing play,its time to learn how to play in tight areas,which means better control and accurate passing.
    With vida’s injury it gives fergie an excuse go shopping for his favorite fetish,defenders. Not realises what we fooking need is quality midfielders. A quality midfield automatically relieves pressure from defence and forces the opposition team to fall back while creating space by the passing and movement and hence creating chances. Hell get a quality midfield and watch evans transform into a world class defender. Just ask pique who barely does shit but is now regarded as the best.
    This article talks about how versatile our mid is and how diffrent individuals offer diffrent attributes. Not sure that that is a good thing,it makes you unpredictable to not only your opponents but your team as well. Scholes said it best football is simple and i agree. Buy 2 mid players with excellent control, movement, vision and passing and i assure you this sorry excuse of a united side will transform into a side we are all proud of.

    • Stephen

      10 December 2011 at 09:48

      I totally agree, two midfield players will give the side an entire new feeling. Carrick has played well of late, but Fletch, Giggs and Anderson are not the standard required. I am stick and tired of Fergie and fellow fans making exuses for our midfield. Rooney has been getting a lot of stick and to a degree righly so, but too many people have sttod up for the shit that Anderson is, Carrick’s form over the past two seasons have been eractic and Fletch should be a squad player. We have missed out on Nasri, Silva, Toure, De Jong, Mata, Adam and Romeu who have all moved to the Premiership and not to us. This is not acceptable, the players we have in the middle are not as good as the prvious mentioned, he seem to just “make do” this is not United we should have the best and Park, Giggs and Jones in a must not loose champions league game is disgraceful if not negligence.

  19. colver

    10 December 2011 at 12:48

    We should definitely take the Europa Cup seriously. It would teach our players and manager to take so-called weaker opposition seriously.

    So many times in Europe we have been dumped out of competitions by objectively weaker teams through a combination of sloppiness, tactical ineptitude and a good degree of complacency.

    Some of us may shrug our shoulders if we get knocked out early in the Europa Cup. But it won’t be so funny next season if we again fail to qualify for the Champions League knock out stages or get dumped out early in the knock out stages by a weaker team.

    If you believe Eddie we are the 3rd best team in the world.

    If that is true then we should be able to win the Europa Cup because Real and Barcelona aren’t playing in it. So lets complete our trophy cabinet and show that we aren’t Euro-flops.

    We’ve previously seen 8-10 year intervals between European trophies….1991, 1999, 2008….that is way too long for a club of our profile. We’ve failed in our last two attempts to win the Champions League and will probably continue to fail so long as Barcelona and Real Madrid are as good as they are now….but we’ve been presented with a rare opportunity to win a different European trophy to finish off our collection.

    Not to mention winning the Europa Cup would give us a chance for a revenge tie against Barcelona next year!

    I’m pumped for this competition. Who cares if it is on Thursday and we play a few extra games? Our squad is as deep as any out there. And if we don’t think it is deep enough then we should buy some new players.

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