A disgrace all around. After this performance, I am now fully embracing the end of Jose Mourinho. It isn’t the fact that we lost. If it was that I would have wanted him out after we lost to city last season if I was that simple, but it’s more than. So I will go through everything that frustrated me in this game and why it links to the hopeful end of Jose Mourinho, and actually who I want to bring in as his replacement
The Line Up
Out of all the games Jose didn’t play a 4-2-3-1 it wasn’t this one. He stuck with mostly the same time as our big victory over city. The big changes being Lindelof for Bailly, and Mata for Lingard. The issue is we needed a clear number 10 in a game like this. I understand to not change what is not broken, but adapting is something else. This a game that Lingard would have excelled in. He would be able been able to get between their poor team’s midfield and slow defence and do what he usually does, quick interplay to move the ball further forward. It made us so predictable without him. Herrera overall is not great on the ball, Pogba is relied on too much to create, and Matic’s job is to not create, and is to just sit infront of our defence. Playing a 4-2-3-1 doesn’t always work, but it has its place, and against teams like this, we need a player just behind the striker. They didn’t offer anything going forward, so playing Herrera was not needed. A 4-3-3 would work better if we had another centre midfielder who was able to at least create or dictate play. Without that certain player it is hard for Pogba to go forward or drift to the left if he also has to stay centrally. Moving on from the midfield, the forwards weren’t exactly the best choice. This is the game where Martial had to start. Putting a guy who is willing to make runs and actually run to the by-line. I don’t understand why we sign Sanchez if it involves dropping Martial. I have mentioned this multiple times but it still stands. Martial was contributing a goal contribution per game (0.6 goals and 0.3 assists). He was playing at his peak. His reward for his great form was to get dropped for a player we just signed. It was terrible management by Mourinho. Let’s compare it to the signing of Lucas Moura. I understand there is a difference in quality here. But Pochetino has been patient in using him. He doesn’t want to ruin a perfectly fine foundation and it’s giving him time to learn what are the player’s strengths and weaknesses. Instead Mourinho just threw him in and hopes he sticks. Sanchez has mostly been poor so it is crazy how Jose has not dropped in for more games. Mourinho needs to take blame for not only picking the wrong team, and also for not handling his players in the right way. I wouldn’t even blame Martial for leaving. He deserves better than the position he is in.
They make sense in concept, but in execution they were so wrong. Taking Herrera off for Lingard was a fine change, but taking off Pogba for Martial? I agree that Martial should have came on, but for Sanchez, not for Pogba. Pogba was poor and I won’t deny that, but he took off the midfield. It meant that we had to resort to longballs, against a team that usually defends well against them. It was so school boy. They were changes you make on FIFA, not in a professional game. I thought Martial did okay, and Rashford wasn’t given enough time. The three changes looked positive, but were made for the wrong players.
Poor build up play
I’ll try my best to sum up how Manchester United play. Pass the ball to Pogba or Lingard, hit it to the wings, the full back will usually put a cross in, and will usually be a poor cross. There just seems to be no plan when we play. We rely so much on individual magic from Pogba, Martial, Rashford or Lukaku. If we sell any of these players we can wish a title challenge a big goodbye. They are so talented and the fact three of them are being linked with moves away is frightening. We are so slow and lackluster when transitioning the ball it is laughable. We are unbelievably lucky to be second. If it wasn’t for Liverpool being on and off, Spurs struggling in big games, and Chelsea being a mess. We would not be near top four. We need a manager who will help us play as a team.
I would personally go for Luis Enrique. Out of the available managers, he seems the most ambitious. I want a manager who will take us in a good direction. He will help us move the ball better in a more fluid and fast way, while also getting the best out of our talented players. He made one of the best teams in recent years with that treble winning team. The only issue for me is the defensive side of it. I think Mourinho has been terrible this season, and mostly in defence. Enrique’s first responsibility would be to sort that defence out. Either sort Lindelof out, and give him a consistent run, or buy a player who would be able to help organise the back. He would need to get out full backs moving better, our midfield more balanced, and mostly just to play with a bit more arrogance. I don’t think he will be appointed. But it would be my dream scenario
Congrats to Manchester City for winning the league. I do not buy into all the praise they get. I do think they have been phenomenal, but more of lack of competition as well. I will never call this current team one of the greats, unless they retain the title. That is what proves what a great team is. One who not only wins it, but holds it.