Manchester United – End Of Term Report – Must Do Better!

Posted: May 21, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Managers, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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José Mourinho will point to a second placed finish in the Premier League and, no doubt, try and spin this as progress on last year’s sixth place. Taken in isolation he is right, there has been a slight improvement in league performance.

What must also be taken into account is that the only other team to improve on last season were Manchester City and we all know what they did! In fact, of the top six, United and City were the only two to improve on last season’s eventual league position.

Chelsea went from first to fifth, Arsenal went from fifth to sixth, Tottenham Hotspur went from second to third and Liverpool remained static in fourth. So the fact that United managed to climb into second can be put down, in part, to the failure of the others to improve or even maintain their previous season’s form.

The other factor which led to an improved finishing position for Mourinho’s side was that he didn’t have to concern himself with European football for very long.

Last season the Premier league was reduced to secondary importance once it was realised that winning the Europa League was a very real possibility. Thursday night games became the focus of the manager’s attention and, because of this, their league position suffered.

This, of course, didn’t really matter as winning the Europa League brought them automatic qualification to the Champion’s League, for what good it did them.

So yes, this season was a slight improvement on last in the Premier League.

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When United won the Europa League style, or lack of, was forgotten and/or forgiven

Anti-Mourinho Manchester United fans will point to the three trophies won last season against the zero won this season as further evidence that no great overall improvement has been made. Again they are right but it should also be remembered that the trophies they won were the FA Community Shield, the Carabao Cup and the Europa League.

Not to demean the achievements but these are hardly the most coveted trophies in world, or even European, football.

The Community Shield is a two-horse race so the starting odds are always 50-50. The Carabao Cup is the poor man’s FA Cup and, because of this, isn’t afforded the stature of, or taken as seriously as, the FA Cup and the Europa League would probably have been sacrificed very early on had it not carried Champion’s League qualification.

So to say that the team has progressed this season maybe isn’t true after all.

The tepid defeat by Bristol City in this season’s Carabao Cup, the diabolical defeat, at Old Trafford, by Sevilla in the Champion’s League capped off by the poor showing when losing to fifth placed Chelsea in the FA Cup final, (remember also that, the previous week, Chelsea had been beaten 3-0 by Newcastle who hadn’t won in their previous seven games!), all added fuel to the fires of discontentment with the stye of play and Mourinho’s management ability.

The plain fact of the matter is that, last season, Manchester United over-achieved in the two cup competitions and finished where their performances merited in the Premier League.

This season, they have been lucky in that, as we have said, four of the other top six either stayed where they were or regressed so, without any improvement at all, Manchester United have bettered their league position.

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Mourinho is struggling more at United, league-wise, than with any other club, yet is still doing OK.

However Mourinho wishes us to view his performance, or even if he really cares what anybody else thinks, the team is certainly no better than last season and some major surgery needs to be carried out during the summer transfer window.

Without going into any great detail, which would be a rather tedious exercise in repetition for our regular readers, United need at least another four signings to get anywhere near City and remain ahead of the rest.

The defence is awful and continually made to look reasonable by David De Gea, the midfield needs a rocket and could certainly do with somebody like Hazard or De Bruyne in there, even if Pogba is meant to be that player, and the strikers need to be augmented by another who can score goals. At the moment, if Lukaku doesn’t score, then United don’t score.

The style of football will always be forgiven if trophies are continually being piled on the shelf. José Mourinho, for years, has gotten away with playing defensive, tactically stifling football because he has been a serial winner.

This season he has won NOTHING so he has nowhere to hide. Not only has his football been criticised, it hasn’t brought success and he is left splashing around in the deep-end but, for once, without a float.

 

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