Should Manchester United Fans Be Worried?

Posted: November 7, 2015 in Football, Louis van Gaal, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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Manchester United show no sign of relenting in their quest to both concede and score as few goals as possible this season.

In their game against West Bromwich Albion, they appeared to be quite happy to accept another 1-0 victory, secured by Jesse Lingard when taking the team’s second shot at goal. The first had been by Anthony Martial who, from a promising position, had shot straight into the arms of Myhill.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon your point of view, Martial was tripped in the penalty area, not long afterwards, by McAuley when through on goal and, as he only had the goalkeeper to beat, McAuley was dismissed. This gave Juan Mata the chance to score from the spot, which he duly did, unlike three England internationals in a previous match.

Van Gaal seemed happy with his charges after this game and, I suppose that, if you have a three year contract to improve the team and maybe win a trophy then he is on the right track. If, however, his contract demands entertaining football, goalmouth incidents and fans on the edge of their seats, then he is in serious breach of contract and could have no complaints if United dispensed with his services. I would suggest that the former is the case here.

In fairness, David Moyes was always going to be a hard act to follow. You only need to look at how he is doing with Real Sociedad to know this. He was given a seven year contract at Old Trafford and, in return, he promised that the team would try to be as good as City, as well as making Liverpool favourites in a game at Old Trafford. He managed to break the record for highest number of crosses into the box in a game against Fulham at Old Trafford, a game United managed to salvage a draw from when they were winning reasonably comfortably.

King Louis should be hammering the Moyes statistics, but he’s not. He is doing better, obviously. Champions League qualification proves that. United are currently fourth, that is better. So there are positives which have arrived with van Gaal, but there are also negatives.

It’s a project, it’s a philosophy, it’s a process. Choose whichever description you wish. To me, it’s a mystery! How can a manager spend nearly £300 million pounds on players, (without buying a centre back or a known striker), yet still be only slightly better than the previous manager who is now struggling in Spain?

How can a team which has had all this money spent on it look so lacklustre? How can they be, at times, so boring?

Yes, United fans will accept another season where Champions League qualification is achieved, particularly if it is accompanied by an FA Cup win. They will accept mediocre football if it achieves a target. One thing van Gaal needs to learn about Manchester United and he needs to learn it quicker than he appears to be doing at present, is that they will not accept it for very long.

Manchester United are the epitome of entertainment. To attract the size of crowds to Old Trafford which have become the norm means that entertainment is very high on the agenda.

If a top singer does not perform well he/she will receive criticism in the media. If a comedian isn’t funny, he/she will receive criticism in the media. It doesn’t matter how successful they are. What matters to the public is how well they can entertain. That is why they spend their money, to be entertained.

Before very long, Louis van Gaal is going to find out that it doesn’t really matter how successful United are. That is for the money men, the accountants and the sponsors. For the fans it is about entertaining football, if winning trophies is a by-product of that then fine, if not, then also fine. They will only start to worry prematurely if the football AND the results are bad so, for the time being, he will get away with it.

When van Gaal finally retires to his villa on the Algarve, I hope he can look back on his time at United with fondness for what he achieved and how well his team played. I hope he doesn’t look back with regret for what he nearly achieved and nearly won, but he now doesn’t have that long left to get it right.

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Comments
  1. Everyone in the whole world knows that West Brom will sit back and defend, and anything they get from this game is a bonus. Then why play with both Schweinsteiger and Carrick in midfield, who play twenty five passes just to move 30 yards up the pitch? He could have been bolder , and seen West Brom’s approach and perhaps sent Mata in place of Schweinsteiger as an advanced midfielder with Depay on the wing.

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