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What Has Changed At Old Trafford? A Look At The Sunderland Match

After days of digesting another unpalatable, inept and cowardly performance against Sunderland, with the team being out played, outfought and generally outdone, what concerned me more were the post match comments made by Knight of the Realm, Sir Alex Ferguson.

For those who haven’t seen or heard the post match interview, here is what the great man said:

“We had to defend very well and the pleasing thing for me is that the back four were fantastic,”

“I can’t class today’s as a disappointment because we had to battle to get the point today. But we have thrown the other three away,”

“The consistency of not losing is something we can take. I am not pleased but I am satisfied,” said Ferguson.

What is worrying me is the acceptance of a draw at Sunderland! Don’t get me wrong I have full respect for the Black Cats; they are a good side and have an excellent home record.

But this season they have only won one match in the Premier League, and even thought they had encouraging results against the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, they area team we should be taking three points off if we are to regain the title.

What of the team selection?

Michael Owen and Federico Macheda as a front two? That’s not going to strike fear into Michael Turner and Titus Bramble. Leaving Dimitar Berbatov on the bench? He has retired from international football and doesn’t need the rest and is in the best form of his United career. Why interrupt his rhythm?

Given Owen was hooked at half time surely shows Ferguson knew he was wrong to start the striker. But the lack of fight and creativity was also scary for us fans.

Looking at the bench at the weekend, there were three strikers on the sidelines, something that is all well and good provided they have some good service but with Paul Scholes having an off day and Darren Fletcher not much better there was no creativity coming from midfield.

Anderson has his critics but the lad is only just coming back from a long injury so for now we will leave him be.
Even a midfield of Fletch and Scholes should have enough guile and presence to at least compete with Lee Cattermole, but it seems not.

The many problems that need to be addressed need to start with the attitude towards winning, not so long ago we had a hunger, a never say die attitude, an aura that teams feared but if we let comments like the above become more commonplace then this could be destroyed, and that could only be a bad thing.

Something Sir Alex has conceded, recently commenting on the team’s lack of hunger,

“This present team doesn’t kill off sides as well as they should,” Ferguson commented in an interview with Inside United.

“That killer instinct just isn’t there at the moment and it’s something we need to develop,”

“We haven’t had a problem scoring goals. We got three against Liverpool, Everton and West Ham, two away at Fulham, three in the Community Shield; that suggests we don’t have difficulty finding the net.”

“What we’re not doing, though, is killing teams off.” He concluded.

So lets hope the Scot has addressed this issue once and for all, as the ‘never say die attitude’ is something this club is based upon and one quality I do not want to see lost.

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  1. Stephen

    October 11, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    @Owen: Goal are not exactly the fountain of all knowledge are they… 🙄

  2. gator

    October 11, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    @tonymontanna4united: I just think that fergi MAY have been telling the truth when he spoke of value and COULD be ready to find some valuable players now that the big spending teams have shot their load and are unable to do much more.

    the past couple transfer windows has seen city jump to offer record contract and wages to any player that was halfway linked to United. It has been impossible for us to just buy the player we want bc all the big spenders were up our ass trying to keep us from talent.

    That is not going to be the case now for the big spending teams for fear of loosing out on champions league footie.

    I just think that fergi gets a little more time from me. you all are entitled to your opinion.

    In my way of thinking the man sold high(ronaldo 80m) and has yet to spend.

    The market is now missing the big spending teams that cant put more on their books and actually needing to shed some talent. This is a supply and demand situation. The two years supply has been low and demand high. this time the opposite is true and we may be able to buy low. that is the only rule in business sell high and buy low.

  3. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    @Owen: Torres is injury prone and that’s a RAFA fact 🙂 . He will not come to United because of his L’Pool connection – he is not a Heinz. Also whatever Fergie offers, Shitty Sheik Manure will offer him treble, a mansion in Arabia, Arabian racehorses and stus, and one of his largest oilfields! I don’t think Fergie has any intentions of buying at all, he is fucking skint!

  4. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    @Owen: It has everything to do with it Bro, because Giggs said and I quote “Widemen should be getting 20 goals and 20 assists a season.” Giggsy was a wideman for years, and NEVER got those sort of figures, so you go figure 🙄 . Don’t demand of others what you are not producing yourself. He didn’t say a player like Nani is capable of – but that WIDEMEN should be providing 20 goals a season, and 20 assists. Nani was second highest in assists in his first season with us, and he only played a proportion of games and a good few of those he came on as substitue. What assists did Giggsy provide that season – not more than Nani and he played more. Nani hasn’t hit his potential with United not because he couldn’t but because Fergie pissed around with the lad, and he couldn’t get the games to provide the consistency he needed. He has been much more consistent than most other United players this season. So fuck off Giggsy and get your own house in order.

  5. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    @Taehr: That was because the whole team was focused on getting the balls to Ronnie and providing him with assist, assist, assist. When has Nani ever had the same favour from his team mates that he should get the goals. That is not the way he plays. Nani works far harder than Ronnie ever did, and is in games more than Ronnie was – but Ronnie was an excellent striker. All other aspects – dribbling, keeping possession, crosses into the box Nani was better than Ronnie, but Ronnie was dead eyed Joe when it came to sweetly nestling the ball in the opposition net. Also better than anybody else at set pieces and penalties, except he fucked up in the CL with his pens in the very important games 😆 .

  6. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    @Stephen: Beautifully said mate. Certainly more people are beginning to echo my sentiments on here which is not necessarily a good thing because it only exposes the fact that perhaps I was right all along. It only took some really mediocre play from the club to have many come over to Camp Grognard and see Fergie for the two faced Dictator that he is.

  7. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Nani – future WPOTY for Real Madrid or Barca 🙂 .

  8. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    @Owen: Yet more fantasy. Where will Torres go? Can you all say BARCELONA? He’d never go to Real because of loyalty and ties to Atletico and I seriously doubt a stop over in Italy. I could see Chelsea as a possibility if they showed interest but never Shitty. And as for United, give me a break. They are 29 million short of having the required cash to buy him yet alone pay him.

  9. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Mourinho wants to bring Shawcross to his team RM in January. He is looking for an top class defender and bullish tackler and believes Shawcross is the man, and that he is consistent in his performances. What is wrong with Fergie, we have 1st option for 8 million buy back – yet we prefer to spend it on young untried players. I love Shawcross – United thru and thru, and never wanted to leave!

  10. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    @Owen: In the lat 48 hours we have been linked strongly to Manuel Neuer, Lindegaard, De Gea, Steklenberg and now Buffon. Mate stop reading NewsNow and believing everything you read. United do not and have not ever leaked out information about who they are chasing or interested. In fact, Fergie once said that when he negotiates with teams and agents for a player, he demands that they do not leak information to the press. This sometimes doesn’t work but still, all this is right now is a mass media reply to the rumour that EVDS is retiring at year end and so they are all beginning to rehash the rumours of all the keepers who have been linked with us. It’s all so boring after a while that I never read the stuff anymore.

  11. Owen

    October 11, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    This new story of Shawcross is giving me one more valid reason to hate Fergie more than Glazers.Shawcross is now a proven player in PL and always wanted to play for us.But Fergie allowed him to go and then spent 10 millions on a Fulham reserves whom we still dont know .

  12. Owen

    October 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    @Grognard: In the end ,Fergie will be replacing VDS with Barthez .He is free and Fergie will tell him to come out of retirement and play for next 2 years. 👿

  13. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    @Craig Mc: For Shtty to have any chance of signing Torres they need to secure themselves a Champions League spot, otherwise they can just forget about. Torres demands that he be on a team that is playing in the CL while he is in the infirmary dealing with multiple leg injuries. 😀

    United are a joke and Fergie is a clown and a fool if he thinks he has the pedigree and stroke to lure a big player when he hasn’t got the salary room to pay him what he wants. And lets not forget that he hasn’t got the money to compete with a Shitty for his services in the first place. Seriously, the old man is either senile or he has become a major sadist who lives for teasing his legion of supporters in making the m believe that all is possible when in fact United’s new mantras should be titled MSSION IMPOSSIBLE. He should just retire and quit trying to perpetrate the great lie.

  14. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    @Craig Mc: Shawcross? Who needs him. We have Smalling. 😉 😉 😀 😀

  15. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    @Owen: I can see that. Schmeichel probably already turned him down on a comeback. Seriously though, I could see Fergie insulting us further by making his new keeper signing none other than Shay Given. He’s still a baby as he is only 38 I think.

  16. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    @Grognard: Are you kidding me Shawcross is the finished defender already – he has 3 season PL experience, he is tops. Mourinho is not a numbskull, he knows a good defender when he sees him! Or were you saying that tongue in cheek Groggy? 😆

  17. Owen

    October 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    @Grognard: Seriously speaking,Fergie will give 1 more extension to VDS and will come with statement that he is still the best keeper in world and represents true value of money.

  18. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    @Grognard: 😆 😆 😆 😆 like your take on Torres!

  19. Taehr

    October 11, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Craig,I wasnt really comparing ronaldo and nani’s role in the team rather making a point that setting high targets for players can benefit them because they strive to get them.I dont think he can score 20 goals but he should get close to 20 assists if he stays injury free and continues his good form.All im saying is there is not much wrong with giggs setting nani a target.Yes giggs didnt get 20 a season but when he was younger wingers had a bit of a different role i feel,these days wingers like nani are found much closer to the box,ie malouda

  20. colver

    October 11, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    CraigMc your comparison of Ronaldo and Nani was a bit one-sided. Ronaldo is still streets ahead of Nani. The only area Id say Nani bests Ronaldo is crossing the ball and id say they are fairly equal when it comes to dribbling. Also it is difficult to compare because these days Ronaldo is more of a forward and Nani is mostly definitely an old school winger.

    Naturally we will be linked with every goalkeeper and end up buying a goalkeeper from Ecuador for £3 million.

    I don’t believe we have a buy-back clause for Shawcross. More likely it is just first option on sale. People said we have a buy back clause on Rossi but i dont believe that either. But if we do then i agree we should buy Shawcross and sell Evans who i dont believe has the temperament for the big time.

    Also as Fergie clearly hates Brown we could at least raise a bit of money selling him. He is too good to sit on the bench

  21. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    @Craig Mc: Tongue n cheek mate. I was joking because I personally think Smalling is a stiff.

  22. tonmontanna4united

    October 11, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    @Stephen: Comment 193, nice one mate. Top rant there, so so true.
    Glazer is the cancer eating away at everything that was good with this club, and fergie is just a bloody pain in the ass making things worse.
    If it wasnt for the glazers i tell you i would have wanted his ass out years ago. The man has lost everything we used to love about our old fergie.
    No fight, lack of ambition it seems accepting 0-0 draws to sunderland, playing players he likes over players who are best suited to start, and his biggest crime siding against us all and supporting the glazers.
    If this was england early 1900s he would have been bloody hung for his behaviour 😆

  23. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    @Craig Mc: Seriously though Bro, it’s time United supporters got their collective heads out of their asses and faced the facts. The facts are this club hasn’t got a pot to piss in and for us to even come up with decent transfer money, it means nothing when we can’t sign big players because they want more than our welfare state salary cap allows. Glazer has to go and we need to pay off that debt before the sun ever shines on OT again.

  24. tonmontanna4united

    October 11, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    @gator: Im not so sure. The likes of real/barca and even the milans are quite capable of splashing £30-50m a season which will always mean the market will be very high.
    Granted city will need to make a few cut backs to meet the new UEFA guidelines in 2 years i think it is?
    Maybe the prices for players will start to become more sensible, and maybe the prices being banded around nowadays are set to be the norm?
    Who knows. What i do know though is unless the top players start going for £10m we wont be bidding for them, take the likes of vdv, ozil, khediera etc as an example for that.
    Right now, and for the forseeable future, looks like its free signings and kids weve got to look forward to.
    If im wrong though and the £100m plus is there then i guess i’ll be proved wrong. Somehow i doubt i will though.

  25. Grognard

    October 11, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    A very interesting article on Fergie and Mourinho and the way Fergie manages off the field.

  26. tonmontanna4united

    October 11, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    @Craig Mc: Ah shawcross, another player who was actually talented, we let go for peanuts.
    God weve given the likes of o’shit, gibson, chadwick, eagles their chance and yet the likes of shawcross, pique, rossi never got a game. Shawcross i certainly never remember getting a game.
    He goes on loan to stoke in 07, scores 6 goals by xmas, is performing week in week out and looking a top player, and so fergie decides its a good idea to get shot of him and sell for £1/2m or whatever it was. Pathetic.
    It seems like to be given a chance from the youth team today, you have to be untalented but a trier. You can look as good as ronaldo at 16, but fergie doesnt want that.
    No no, he wants a player who looks out of his depth, but makes up for that with heart and his never give up attitde.
    To hell with the likes of eikrem, pogba, cleverley, morrison, ajose etc coming through who look the business. No lets look for the next john o’shea.
    God sometimes i think fergie would be better suited at stoke or some crapper team like that.
    I hope btw if shawcross does move to real, he ends up becoming a great great player. Im sure he will do under jose. He knows a player when he sees one, unlike fergie obviously.

  27. tonmontanna4united

    October 11, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @Grognard: @Owen:
    Im sure we’ll just end up giving edwin another contract in the summer, along with the likes of neville, scholes, giggs, hargreaves (with fergie stating his comeback is scheduled sometime in 2015) and probably new contracts also for the likes of park and o’shea.
    God when you write down those names, it just makes you realise what is wrong with our team doesnt it.

  28. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    @colver: Ronnie is not a better dribbler than Nani – no way Bro! Tell that to the Portuguese bench, the backrrom staff AND the portuguese fans. After the last game Nani got a standing ovation, was always carried of the field and was far better than Ronnie on the night. In fact it was Nani assists and Nani goals that got Portugal to the WC – then the poor sod couldn’t play because of an untimely injury. But like I said Ronnie is fantastic striker and stands on his own in that at OT, but he isn’t that fantastic on the world stage mate! Groggy will say that is because the rest of the Portuguese team are not much cop – cos Groggy likes to eat up Ronnie 😉 😉 😆 .

  29. Craig Mc

    October 11, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    @Taehr: Right Mate I gotcha meaning now, but Giggsy should still sort his own game out 1st 😆

  30. RMj

    October 12, 2010 at 12:31 am

    @tonmontanna4united: most of the people you mentioned came through when our club was at its peak and didn’t get a chance, but i do have a bone to pick in regards to Pique and Evans who both came out around the same time..Evans ruled the roost at Sunderland while pique struggled for us especially against the minnows…remember Fergie targeting him in the UEFA CL final as he seemed suspect against the high ball(as to if it worked is another matter)..i cant forgive the loss of Rossi however…we rarely get left footed talents and he was one that got away from us…

  31. Grognard

    October 12, 2010 at 3:09 am

    @Craig Mc: I love Nani and Nani great and coming on leaps and bounds. But sorry Craig, this is where we differ because whereas Nani is great player, Ronny is a God. Albeit a God that went walkabout during the World Cup but a God nonetheless. Nani has more finesse to his game where Ronny has more power and a quicker burst. Nani might beat him in a 100 yard race but Ronny would be out front by ten yards before Nani got going. Nani has more variety to his dribbles but Ronaldo is more assertive and more aggressive. But hey, Nani is really coming on and in two years we may have to look at this comparison again. As for finishing and shooting, again Nani has his moments but Ronaldo is once again god like. 😀

  32. colver

    October 12, 2010 at 10:01 am

    CraigMc, international football is a different scene. Many players who are great at club football never really shine at the international level. Lets keep our comparisons to club level. Id agree that Nani is better at the beat a man dribbling, the technical wing play usually done in crowded conditions. But when it comes to dribbling with pace and power Ronaldo is frightening to watch. Defenders either back off or just foul him because they know it is the only way to stop him.

    Also it is an insult to Ronaldo to write him off as a striker. While he has spent the latter of his career playing as a wide forward when he playeed as a winger for us he was also amazing. Yes he plays as a forward but that doesn’t mean he isn’t also a world class winger.

  33. colver

    October 12, 2010 at 10:04 am

    CraigMc telling Giggs to sort his game out as his age is disrespectful. This is a 36 year old who still provides double figures assists each season. Giggs is no longer our first choice but is a bloody useful squad player to have and I’ll miss him when he is gone.

  34. Stephen

    October 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    @Craig Mc: Matey you Nani love is is amazing bro! 😆 😆
    He is a good player but far from being great, he still needs to sort his consistancy out, his diving I hope it will come but he is not World Class yet mate sorry.

  35. Stephen

    October 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    @Owen: Shawcross is decent bar again will he get near World Class status??? No If Cahill and Lescott can get into the England side above him then really “hating Fergie more than Glazer” is s comedy statement.

  36. Stephen

    October 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    @tonmontanna4united: The main issue for me with Fergie is how he is treating the fans, WE ARE NOT STUPID AND WE KNOW YOU ARE LYING!!
    Calling the Glazers great owners is a moronic thing to say, there has been massive cut backs at OT, redundancies the obvious lack of spending not only with regards fees but mainly with wages, all the players we are signing are on low wages.
    Fergie has lost himself in my view, he has become so untouchable that he starts to believe in his own press, the not talking to the BBC is case in point he needs to understand these stubbon pointless stances effect the fans too.
    Admitting he payed £7m on a player he has not even see play on a DVD shows that he has surrounded himself with people who have their own adjenda in mind, what manager who has created the legacy would do something like that? And how does Gill let him get away with it?? If I went to my boss and said hire this guy on £75k a year, I have never met him, worked with him but my friend sayes he is Ok I would be laughed at.
    This shows he has lost all sense of reality, we as fans are to a drgree dammed if we do dammed if we don’t the business model is designed simply on achieving Champions league football, nothing else. When we won the league, champions league we only made a profit of £40m which is nothing really.
    I understand Moyes has been lined up to replace Fergie, why?? What has he won…..feck all they believe he will be a safe bet, well fuck safe bets we want trophies.

  37. Owen

    October 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    @Stephen: Answer my question : Is Smalling better than Shawcross and worth 10 million more than him??

    If Mourinho wants some one .then i am 100% sure he will turn him into World Class.Fergie is the biggest joker in world of football at present.

  38. Stephen

    October 12, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    @Owen: Er who knows, Smalling looks pretty good in the under 21’s at the moment.
    Fergie made a mistake selling him but saying things like that are a joke, the Glazers have put the club existence at risk with the debt they are what is wrong with the club, I couldn’t give two bob about Shawcross for fuck sake, he is Ok but not great.
    Liverpool are the biggest joke in football.

  39. Grognard

    October 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    @Stephen: Above all, Moyes has shown at Everton that he is a company guy who doesn’t rock the boat when the owners say there isn’t any money available. Not what I want managing United.

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