Monday 28 November 2016

Players are giving everything but consistency remains elusive

What is it about Old Trafford that brings out the best in opposition keepers?

Not for the first time this season, United came up against a visiting goalkeeper who had the game of his life: where Lee Grant, Tom Heaton and Petr Cech had gone before, West Ham's Darren Randolph followed suit. 

It was a fifth draw in seven games on Sunday, one that saw United slip 11 points behind the leaders and eight off the top four.
That aside, it is not all doom and gloom.

The players are giving everything and cannot be criticised for not playing for their manager. 
You can't really pin the blame on Mourinho either: what can he do if the team are missing chances. 

Perhaps Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have come on earlier  - or even started - but other than that, Mourinho did everything he could to try and find a way through. 

He named Bastian Schweinsteiger on the bench for the first time against West Ham, the German did not come on but that showed that Jose is willing to keep trying something different.  

He utilised the side's attacking qualities by mixing long balls with width and short passing, moved Jesse Lingard central and gave Juan Mata licence to cut inside.

The game followed a familiar pattern: domination, attacking intent and a superb display from Darren Randolph in the West Ham goal.
Apart from conceding early and perhaps pushing Mata further up, there wasn't much more we could have done. 

West Ham deserved credit for their resilience but we were unlucky again.

Mourinho has an incredible CV but he is a momentum manager and his Chelsea sides, particularly during his first spell, would go on tremendous runs of form. 

That is not happening this time around at United and not winning games consistently is affecting the players confidence and decision-making, particularly in front of goal.

They are overthinking things and missing chances that you would expect to be tucked away - Marcus Rashford's one-on-one with Randolph a perfect example of the problem.

Jose has never been shy of criticising his players and, while there is nothing wrong with that, it seems as if he made his mind up on certain players too early. 

At the start of the season, Ander Herrera was not really in the picture  and neither was Michael Carrick, but that pair have proved integral to this side so far.
Others, like Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, are yet to win him over and that has shown in the infrequent manner of their appearances.

Jose will get it right at United - it's just a question of whether he will do so in time so get our season back on an even keel. 

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