Wednesday 11 May 2016

Naive in-game management again proves United's undoing

United shot themselves in the foot with naive and haphazard game-management at Upton Park on Tuesday as the Reds Achilles heel reared its ugly head again.

It was the sixth times this season- after Wolfsburg, Chelsea, Newcastle, Liverpool and most recently Leicester- that Louis van Gaal's  side have failed to see out a game when in front or at least level.

Our collapse against West Ham was the perfect embodiment of a largely shambolic season and to show such a lack of character, intelligence and awareness was not only naive, it was amateur.

Diafra Sakho was left unmarked for the opener, Michail Antonio and Winston Reid granted free headers, and- worst of all- arguably the most potent dead ball exponent in the league in  Dimitri Payet was given the freedom of East London to work his magic.

Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera brainlessly and needlessly conceded two free-kicks right in the Frenchman's territory and he duly made us pay as both set-pieces led to the Hammers equaliser and then eventual winner. 

It's been obvious for some time that this United side lack what so many others in the past have had in abundance- a leader- and that was in evidence again at Upton Park.

Daley Blind looked every inch the stop-gap centre half he is, the usually impressive Chris Smalling wasn't bad but not at his best and, for the hapless Marcos Rojo, surely his days at United are numbered.

The Argentine lost possession in the build up to the hosts opener and then failed to track the run of Reid as he easy beat the full-back to the ball to power in his header. 

A lack of leadership, a seemingly incurable naivety and side gripped by anxiety and angst- not hard to see why we're going to finish well short of what's required this season. 

Diego Costa netted an added time equaliser at Chelsea, Paul Dummett scored in the final minute at Newcastle- who came back three times to draw- and Philippe Coutinho was left exposed to score for Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Europa League.

The fragile mental state was exposed again when we conceded twice in the space of four minutes as a 2-1 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit.
From nowhere, we had our Champions League destiny in our hands and on a plate but threw it away like it didn't even matter. 

Could you have imagined such an implosion happening to a side with Sir Alex Ferguson and Roy Keane in command?

Not a chance. 

Quite what our former legendary manager and skipper make of the current side's shortcomings, I don't like to think.

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