Monday, 20 August 2018

New season, same old United

The 2018-19 season is not even two weeks old and yet I can't wait for it to finish. Watching us against Brighton, you'd never know this was a new campaign - this was a dire performance in keeping with so many of those that we saw last season - from Huddersfield to Brighton, via Sevilla, Newcastle and West Bromwich Albion. New season, same old United - nothing has changed. The most surprising element about Manchester United’s pathetic capitulation in Brighton was that any of us are surprised at all.
I know that Jose Mourinho did not get the players he wanted in the summer, but the job of a manager is to get the best out of what you've got at your disposal and he simply isn't doing that. Three years into the job, and Jose's United are no better - indeed we seem to be going backwards, despite having spent in excess of 300 million on the squad. There's no identity, no blueprint and no Plan A - let alone a Plan B or C - we don't play as a team, more as a ragtag collection of individuals that play for themselves. It feels like we're further away than ever. Mourinho spent all summer chasing a centre-half, he didn't get one, but yet the two centre-halves - centre halves that he signed himself - were largely at fault for the shambolic defensive mess that we witnessed at the AMEX. Is it any wonder that the board didn't trust him to buy reinforcements when the man who used to buy brilliantly can't even get that right. With the exceptions of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic, none of Mourinho's additions have improved us or indeed even looked anything like a Manchester United player should be. This was a performance synonymous of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. Showings like this were supposed to be the exception and not the norm when Mourinho was appointed as the man who was supposed to herald a new, exciting and progressive era. If only.

Right from the start of pre-season, the manager has looked a man at odds with himself - joyless, negative and out of touch. This team are a mirror image of that right now. The abysmal showing at Brighton was an embarrasing horror show from start to finish  - the contrast between the two sides couldn't have been starker. The Seagulls were vibrant, energetic, well organised and looked like they were willing to run through a brick wall for their under-rated manager who quietly gets on with the job of turning an unheralded team into a Premier League force to be reckoned with.
Brighton were sent out with a clear game plan - to get in our faces, hassle and harry the Reds into submission, not give an inch and look to use their pace and width on the counter attack. United's performance couldn't have been more different. There was no clear plan, no clarity, no cohesion, a jumbled mess in which any discernible tactics were impossible to detect. United played with no passion, no desire and no clue. From start to finish, it was a mess. A mess of Mourinho's makings. I will continue to back him all the time he is manager of the club and team that I love, but I can't help but feel that he's a man that hasn't moved with the times. Something happened between his first spell at Chelsea and his second that has damaged him forever. Would someone else get the best out of a squad that isn't of title winning quality, but certainly better than we're showing right now. I'm not sure, but something has to change.

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