Just sitting here waiting for the Champions League draw to start. Watching highlights of goals flying in from all the clubs still left in the draw, it’s a great advert, for a great competition. But we’re not in it. I’m actually REALLY waiting for the Europa League draw, in an hour’s time. To see who we’ve got.
United lost at weekend. To Bournemouth. Which boiled plenty of people’s piss. On paper United shouldn’t be losing those games. But with a calmer look at what we did and the goals we conceded then I think the defeat can be mitigated. The first goal, complete and utter fluke. There’s that lack of luck I mentioned last week. But more than that, the side we fielded wasn’t what we’d recognise as a Manchester United side. Can we lay the blame for some of that at the manager? Course we can, and should.
Here’s a United XI that’s on the books and didn’t play for us on Saturday;
Darmian Smalling Rojo Shaw
Valencia Herrera Young
That’s pretty damn close to our best XI and easily one that on paper you’d think beats our side at Bournemouth – you name me ONE team in world football that can handle a full XI missing from the pitch and still be expected to perform. Much less one dealing with the transition that we are dealing with, speaking of which, are we not allowed to go through transition?
I don’t like the assertion that we should ‘just go and buy some world class players’ as if it’s that straight forward to do. I said at the time I wasn’t happy with how we conducted the window and it looks like it’s come back to bite us on the arse big time with the astronomical injuries we are faced with.
I get accused of being blind to LVG or having an agenda against Young and Fellaini or even thinking Falcao was amazing last season. The truth is I am pretty level headed in my analysis of our club and the vast majority of our fanbase are hysterical and knee-jerk in their reactions. I often argue the counter-point to what the general opinion is, because too often the general opinion is split between amazing or shite, when (as I’ve said several times before) the truth is always somewhere in between. Young wasn’t our best player last season, he was better than he had been, but the way some fans reacted it was as if he’d be included in the Balon d’Or shortlist. Relax. Falcao was disappointing, but rarely given the sort of run in the side he needed (or Rooney got) to establish himself and start scoring. His movement and attitude was right and I liked that – some fans calling him absolutely shite and calling for 18 year old academy players to start ahead of him, over reacting.
So when it comes to Van Gaal, I just urge patience. A lad contacted me on Twitter last week, sorry, I’ve forgot your name, if you’re reading this, he mentioned he’s studying sport and had done an investigation into short term effects of sacking managers continually. There’s a honeymoon period of a couple of months before the team reverts to it’s previous output. There’s exceptions as there are with everything. But the archetype is as above. I’ve previously mentioned I didn’t think LVG was getting a fair rub in the media. The media reaction to everything Klopp does is like 12 year old girls swooning over a boyband – “isn’t he amazing?!” – no he fucking isn’t. “He improved Liverpool already” no, he fucking hasn’t. Since Klopp arrived he’s taken 12 points from 8 matches in the league, this is him improving Liverpool remember, because he’s an awesome manager that shows passion an stands on the touchline, Rodgers took 12 points from the other 8 games Liverpool played this season. That got him sacked. Oh and in the mean-time, LVG, with his side still in 4th place, touching distance of the top of the league with a full XI out with injuries, is being crucified in the media and by certain sections of the fanbase, took 13 points from the last 8 games.
It’s not his team, granted, but this is a side that finished 2nd when we came 7th is it not? Let’s start being fair when discussing these managers. Has Van Gaal spent £250m? No! It’s closer to half that amount. Does it matter if he did? No, because spend is a club accountant’s concern. Money doesn’t guarantee success, just ask Real Madrid – see what they’ve spent in the last 10 years and they’ve won significantly less than United have. Oh – and they sack a manager about every 12 months too.
If managers could transform a club from one that came 7th to winning the league inside 2 years, they’d be a genius. It’s hard. Harder that a lot of people are realising. Am I happy with LVG, no, far from it. But I’m also not a child and I know the job that’s required to turn us around is going to require more resources, more time and even more patience from our fans. There’s plans afoot. The winter transfer window is a time to right some of the wrongs of the summer window, a few new faces would certainly help. Moyes was sacked only when Champions League qualification became impossible, I think Van Gaal would only find himself having THAT conversation should the same happen, so he’s here til at least April time. So stop being a spoilt kid and get behind the team.