Rant Cast 354 – Making United Great Again

October 10, 2018 Tags: The Pod 2 comments
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Victory, oh what a victory. The greatest victory. A magnificent victory. The kind of victory to Make United Great Again. We’re almost sick of winning.

After Manchester United’s 3-2 comeback victory against Newcastle supporters got a little excited. José Mourinho went full Trump.

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Fusilli Jerry - October 12, 2018 Reply

10 things Mourinho would need to do in order to build on the Newcastle result:

1. Stop making negative public comments about the players. It erodes their confidence, undermines their performance, and deepens the disharmony and disconnect between manager and squad. Some people like to maintain – still – that Mourinho’s every utterance is pre-meditated, part of his masterplan, and proof that Mourinho is indeed a master – still – as he so demonstratively was earlier in his career. By contrast, Paul Scholes has recently specualted that Mourinho’s “mouth is probably out of control”.

Let us consider the manager’s comments after Newcastle, and their likely contribution to Manchester United being successful: “Marcus Rashford was sad on the pitch, Scott McTominay was scared on the pitch.”

2. Stop making excuses for results by making negative public comments about what didn’t happen in the transfer window compared to the investment and scouting successes of rivals and opponents. Because doing so also increases the likelihood of more poor results by harming the confidence and performance of the squad he does have available, assembled and renumerated at rather greater cost than teams currently doing better than United – the mighty likes of Bournemouth.

3. Drop Dad’s Army from the starting XI. All available evidence shows that Matic, Valencia and Young should be squad players, no more – on their way out of the club, and only used in the meantime to see out the final minutes of matches once the victory is safe.

4. Promote Pereira, Fred, Dalot to frequent selection in the starting XI. Doing so would not weaken a line-up that has so far dropped 11 points out of a possible 24.

5. Send the shattered Lukaku on the extended overdue holiday his club manager emotionally blackmailed him out of having after Belgium’s run to the final weekend of the World Cup. Play Martial on the left, Rashford through the middle, and Sanchez on the right.

6. Learn a lesson from the Shaw experience and give other marginalised players a fair chance too. Had Mourinho had his way, Shaw would have been sold on the cheap in the summer, Sandro bought for whatever fee Juventus dared to quote, and Young immediately available and selected instead of rested after the World Cup. Restore Bailly’s and Lindelof’s confidence and places in the team. Restore Darmian’s confidence and use him as right-back when Dalot needs to be rested (don’t overplay Dalot). Yes the Italian is poor going forward but better than he’s given credit for in defence on the right (his proper position; he’s not a left-back and shouldn’t be hammered for performances in that position), and let’s not forget, the alternative is Antonio fucking Valencia – never taking on his man, so he conveniently never risks getting injured, and instead passing backwards every fucking time, draining all impetus out of all United’s attacks down that side.

7. Make English-speaking Ander Herrera captain and give this vastly under-appreciated player – currently seeing out his contract and eyeing a free transfer – better reason to stick around. United are crying out for a leader on the pitch and a dependable source of positive thinking/positive PR off it. Anyone who doesn’t realise United already have eminently suitable leadership material under their very noses in the Bilbao man, has no eye for these things.

8. See past his own ego for once and make peace with Pogba, privately and privately. Stripping Pogba of the vice-captaincy for daring to suggest United should attack a little at Old Trafford, was about as clever a move in terms of strenthening the manager’s authority in the dressing room, as proved the masterstroke of demoting Eva Carneiro from first team duties for posting a message on Facebook.

9. Never select Phil Jones in a match squad ever again.

10. Stop living in a hotel on his own, and start living with his wife in a local house or local apartment. For £15m basic salary a year, United are entitled to expect their manager sorts out his home life sufficiently that he brings an emotionally fit version of himself to work each day.

Subterranean Steve - October 15, 2018 Reply

Difficult not to agree with all of that, FJ. However I’m not holding my breath that much will change under Mourinho. The usual self-absorbed post match interview dashed any hope that the second half against Newcastle provided him with an epiphanic moment.

In the two and a half years that he has been United manager, Mourinho has spent hundreds of millions of pounds producing a mismatched, uncohesive group of players, playing dreary tempo-free football with only the occasional ray of sunlight.

Mourinho has in turn publicly slagged off the players, the Board, the Media, former players and last season the fans for United’s ills. Yet not once, since he been at the club, has he put up his hand and acknowledged that he has made a mistake, any mistake. It’s always someone else’s fault. it’s never his error with team selection, roles, player confidence, tactics, transfers etc. The blame is invariably laid at the doors of others. When United wins it’s down to Jose, when they don’t it’s usually the players fault.

All of United’s problems should not be blamed on Mourinho, Woodward and the Board have a lot to answer for. However the manager is responsible for the performance of the current team and it’s falling well below the standard expected – especially given the number of high quality attacking players available and the money spent.

The Mourinho of 2018 has become a caricature of the self styled ‘special one’ that arrived at Chelsea years ago. The master tactician is looking like yesterday’s man overseeing a team playing outdated football. When Mourinho arrived, Woodward said that he was the best coach in the world. if he still believes that he must be one of only two people who do.

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