By any measure Manchester United has been improving. Their campaign last year was filled with frustration and they barely got into the Champions League where they finished sixth. This year they look to finish a clear second to Manchester City in the Premiere League and they are in the finals in the FA Cup as well, after beating Tottenham this week. These accomplishments that have occurred in one season are exemplary for any team. Unless of course you are Man U.
Man United has been spoiled with a tradition of always being the top or near to the top club in the UK. Sir Alex Ferguson created a standard of excellence that is nearly impossible to match and set Man U fans on the road to thinking that unless the club wins it all, the season is a failure.
With this said, Man U is playing beneath its potential. The season has seen them execute the way we are used to seeing, but only for short periods, and this is just not acceptable from this club. They have the most famous coach in the game who has won big wherever he has coached, and he has said Man United is his dream coaching job. They have big stars playing for them that understand the stage and know what is expected. What is clear is a few things need to be sorted out to make them become the Manchester United that everyone expects. Here are two important issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible to get them to the top of their game.
Spend Big on Defense
Manchester United fans have been spoiled by the quality and tenacity of the club’s defenders through the years. Names like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic still ring in their ears. Today however the defense is simply not up to par. since defense always sets the stage for the offense, your offensive players will not be able to play to their potential. Chris Smalling and Lindelöf have talent, but each has been a letdown at times. Manchester United deserves top quality defenders. For this Mourinho will have to go into the marketplace and be prepared to make a big financial commitment. But the payoff will be worth the expense because it will play a big role in pushing the club back to the top of the EPL.
Figure Out the Pogba Situation
The 24 year old Frenchman is an undeniable star and when he is at the top of his game he is an unstoppable force. His knack for running rampant through opposing team defenses and executing quick crisp passes can place any opposing team on their heels and elevate any team he plays for to another level. In addition he has the type of look and personality that is star material. Finally he is only 24 and will certainly get even better as he heads toward his prime. What he expects is that a team will look at all of these attributes and build their approach around his skill set. However this is not the current case with Manchester United.
What is obvious is that Mourinho’s system does not agree with Pogba and he is not comfortable working within it. With a superstar head coach who is used to having every player bend to his will, there is tension between the two. As a result the record £89 million transfer fee paid for Pogba seems like a huge mistake for Man U.
There are rumblings that the club will seek to move Pogba during the next transfer window which starts at the end of the season and that they will be seeking a record amount of £50 million above the price they paid. If this is truly the case, Man U needs to make this happen quickly and without much fanfare or they might turn off any other great players who they might want to attract. Mourinho has a history of clashing with stars especially when they will not bend to his considerable will, so attracting another superstar might get tough if it gets ugly with Pogba. In any case, if he goes they will need to replace him with a comparable star.
The next transfer period is crucial to Man United. The Premiere League is still in action and United can use this time to scope out new potential players, test the water for Pogba, if that is the plan, and see who steps up on the current club. This means that you punters still have a chance to get in on the action and maybe make some money on a few Manchester United wins. Check out Bet-on-football.co.uk for the latest odds on English Premiere League matches.