José Mourinho Is Right, Manchester United Is Not A Big Team And Hasn’t Been For Years.

Posted: December 29, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
Tags: , , , ,

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In his latest chinwag with the nation’s finest press and broadcasting representatives, José Mourinho managed to express an opinion which hasn’t been met with gasps of surprise or “what’s he going on about now?” type questions.

He claimed, quite categorically, that Manchester United may be a big club but it is not a big team.

Pause for breath while the assorted menagerie which passes itself off as intelligent authors of the truth digest this profound statement.

What can he possibly mean? Well, dear readers, it is the truth and has been for a long while.

Not just recently have United slipped behind Europe’s best. The nearest they came to being a great club was when they won the treble in 1999 but, unfortunately, they failed to keep the momentum going and have never looked like emulating that achievement.

They weren’t quite a one-season wonder but greatness is only achieved through consistently winning the top trophies.

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Sir Alex Ferguson may have been a great manager. A manager whose consistency was legendary. But not in Europe. Every time his team met either Real Madrid or Barcelona in the Champion’s League, they lost.

There was one notable exception, which was a win against Barcelona in the semi final of the 2008 tournament, but following that United contrived to lose TWO finals to Pep Guardiola’s team!

They have been knocked out of the competition by Real Madrid on three occasions and once by Barcelona, excluding the two finals obviously. They have never beaten Real Madrid in the competition in it’s current format.

This is not the sign of a big team. Certainly not to be mentioned in the same company as the two Spanish clubs.

So if Fergie’s Manchester United was only a big team for one season in 1999, what chance has anybody else got?

United currently sit second in the Premier League but, despite this lofty position, recent form does not suggest that they are the second best team. A loss to Huddersfield away and soft unexpected draws away at Leicester and at home to Burnley have meant that, instead of being well clear of the third placed team, they are only one point above them.

Every time Chelsea drew or lost, United drew or lost. On the one occasion Chelsea played first and won, United drew. As we said, not the sign of a big team.

The answer, however, is not necessarily to indulge in a massive spending spree. Mourinho’s haste in demanding the chequebook be produced will only be justified if genuine world class players arrive and, with what he needs, they will cost around the £300 million mark of which he speaks.

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Real Madrid, despite their tag as a team which buys it’s “Galacticos” and spends a fortune, still has a number of home-grown players in the team and Ronaldo and Bale are the only two really big signings made in the last few years.

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Barcelona, in their recent past, have only signed Luis Suárez and Neymar who could be considered to be superstars and this is another team who are getting by with a reasonable number of home-grown talents.

One of the problems for Mourinho is that his home-grown talents are few and far between. Only Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are playing regularly for the first team and, in fairness, Lingard would not displace anyone at either Real Madrid or Barcelona and maybe Rashford wouldn’t either.

Mourinho obviously thinks he can buy the players required to make United a big team and he may very well be right. However, his jibe at his neighbours for trying to do the same as he now wants, (and being more successful at it at the moment), is a bit rich.

In calling for £300 million to spend in one breath, then accusing Manchester City of over-spending on full -backs in another, Mourinho is reverting to type. Particularly when considering that United spent £30 million on Luke Shaw!

Manchester United can become a big team. To do so they need to win the Champion’s League more regularly, that is what big teams do. They must have one of the poorest records in that competition of all the “big clubs” in Europe.

So buy the players, bring through the youngsters and COACH them all correctly. That way there is a chance.

 

 

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