If crashing out of the CL in group stages wasn’t bad enough, Manutd have now lost back to back matches in the league and are winless in 4. This means they are now 5th in the table, level on points with Spurs on 4th and Palace on 6th. They are also 9 points off the league leaders.
All of this is not shocking. It has been a long time coming. What was truly shocking was them flirting with the possibility of being the league leaders not so long ago.
United’s recent results clubbed with their managers sacred, pretentious and silly ‘Philosophy’ has started breeding discontent among the fans. A lot of whom are calling for his head. I totally support them.
I know Manutd are in ‘Transition’ and LVG has done well by leading a team that finished 7th back into the CL (and quickly out of it). So if Manutd sack him a lot of supporters from rival clubs will give United fans some stick for being Trigger-Savvy like Roman Abrahmovic and sacking 2 managers within 3 years. But this is different.
The fans were rumbling about their football even before the results went south. LVG’s “philosophy” is not what United fans want. They don’t want to watch their 3 centre backs making 5 yard passes to each other for 90 minutes. Nobody wants to watch that.
I’m not some pretentious purist who believes ‘Total Football’ or Tiki-Taka is the only way to play football. No. In fact I think very highly of teams and managers who can master the ugly and boring styles of getting results when needed by “parking the bus.” I know fans demonise managers who adopt that system and are now probably thinking I’m a hypocrite for admiring a boring system of football and calling for LVG’s head for playing boring football at the same time. But I’m not. And here’s why.
A manager decides to park the bus/go ultra defensive when he realises that his opposition are better than them and it will be too big an unwarranted risk to try and beat them at their own game. (Look what happened to Bayern who tried to take the game to Barcelona) Hence he makes a conscious decision of surrendering possession.
What I admire about it is the belief that they can control the outcome of the game despite being without the ball 70% of the time and also that they can make efficient use of the 30% of the possession that they do eventually manage. Honestly, I see more purpose in that.
Whereas United on the other hand seem too scared to do anything. They don’t want to lose possession because they are too afraid of conceding and seem reluctant to go forward because there is more of a risk of losing the ball in the final 3rd than in the middle of the park. Or perhaps they’re just trying to score the perfect goal? Either way, it’s annoying and mostly ineffective.
Yes, I am serious. I genuinely think Van Gaal’s version of possession based football is inferior to and considerably more boring than Jose and Mancini’s beloved ultra defensive tactics. And something so boring will never go down well with a crowd who have been entertained by SAF’s sides for 2 decades.