Monday, 11 April 2016

United were leaderless at Tottenham and face a summer of rebuilding

In an ever growing list of baffling tactical decisions, Louis van Gaal's call to deploy Ashley Young up front at Tottenham was his most unfathomable yet. 

Apart from a 60-minute run-out as a centre forward for United's Under 21s, this is a player whom is not only on the way back from injury but has never played as a striker in his life.

If that was odd, Van Gaal's justification that he played him there because he wanted "pace and running in behind" was even stranger.

Maybe he did, but if so then why not play Anthony Martial- a natural forward- up front and put Young in his more accustomed position on the wing.

Martial offers the pace, trickery and direct running that Van Gaal wanted Young to give United so it was a nonsensical decision.

Tim Fosu-Mensah  and Chris Smalling impressed but Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo- whom continued at left-back despite a string of underwhelming outings- less so.

United lacked creativity so to leave out Ander Herrera- who was bright against Everton- in favour of the leggy-looking Michael Carrick was also hard to get our heads around.

United were a tactical mess from start to finish and it was again very difficult to detect exactly how we were trying to play.

Beyond containing Spurs, there was no game plan and once the first goal went in through Dele Alli on 70 minutes- although it was only a matter of time throughout- defeat always looked on the cards.

It's easy to blame the manager after a defeat such as this but sometimes it pays to just admit that the better team won on the day and that was certainly the case here.

I expected to lose to a high-flying Spurs but it was the manner of the defeat, rather than the result itself, that was disappointing.
We had nothing to play for and Tottenham needed the win to keep pace with Leicester but- even so- i
t was an inexcusable crumbling and United never recovered from three goals in six second half minutes. 

Once Fosu-Mensah went off and Spurs broke the deadlock, there was a lack of leadership and the floodgates opened.

United are in transition and, on this evidence, it cannot be underestimated just how big a rebuilding job we've got on our hands this summer.

Van Gaal's hopes of being the man to do that had been boosted in recent weeks but have taken a further blow off the back of this defeat. 

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