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The Man Utd Thread


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Great to have got through with a game to spare, but we shouldn't get carried away. We got a clean sheet, but we weren't exactly defensively solid.  We did seem to have a defensive plan, but whenever it got a bit scruffy we gave up a chance. The De Gea save was the decisive moment of the match.

 

There were some much better performances though. Sancho was the best attacking player on the pitch. Fred put a hell of a shift in and won the ball for both goals. Wan-Bissaka kept their danger man quiet and looked more switched on. Bruno changed the game when he came on.  Man of the match by a mile though was Lindelof who headed away every Villarreal corner, and made countless important interventions in the centre of defence. I think it's the best I've seen him play.

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Aside from the shaky start that was a consummate European away performance.

 

Defended as a unit, Sancho played in his natural position is surprise surprise rather good, midfield was much more compact, and Bruno looked more like his old self when he came on. 

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The Athletic are talking as if the appointment has been made.  The literally describe him as "manager of Manchester United" in an article.

 

He's very highly-rated in Germany but he's never managed outside of Germany, and has never managed either of the big two there.  He managed RB Leipzig, who have become a big club in Germany down to financial doping, basically.  He's a disciple of pressing football, so is perhaps a strange appointment to a team who seem incapable of playing that way.  It doesn't suit our strengths.  Pochettino plays a high-energy pressing style as well, so if this is in anticipation of Rangnick moving to a director of football role and Poch coming in, perhaps there is some joined-up thinking there.  If we're going to suddenly switch to that style we might need a full squad rebuild rather than the minor surgery that seems to be necessary.  He's apparently very good though, and certainly seems to consider himself to be an elite coach.  He talks very intelligently and insightfully about football.

 

I dunno.  The only thing that you can say with absolute certainty is that whatever is being done, it is being done without any sort of plan, and without any knowledge of football being applied.  I suppose if you blindfold yourself and throw enough darts at a dartboard you're going to hit a bullseye eventually.  Perhaps this is the dart.

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Oh thank fuck, I've spent all my Man United thinking time today being fed up at the prospect of Valverde as interim which becomes another year somehow, then another. 

 

44 minutes ago, feltmonkey said:

He's a disciple of pressing football, so is perhaps a strange appointment to a team who seem incapable of playing that way.  It doesn't suit our strengths.  Pochettino plays a high-energy pressing style as well, so if this is in anticipation of Rangnick moving to a director of football role and Poch coming in, perhaps there is some joined-up thinking there.  If we're going to suddenly switch to that style we might need a full squad rebuild rather than the minor surgery that seems to be necessary. 

 

I don't really understand how a team can be incapable of pressing unless it's literally a physical thing because you have a bunch of Maguire's in your team among 35 year olds. 

 

You've got people saying 'Greenwood isn't good at pressing'. But you can't really do it well on your own off the cuff? By 'not good', does that mean he just cannot understand positionally where to be, cannot understand when to do it, or physically -despite being 20 years old- it's beyond him? It doesn't require extraordinary technique. I don't see how pressing is beyond 99% of professional players at their peak of physical fitness. I get some players have a better engine.

 

don't know, if you're a player you like having the ball, if you win it back high you're closer to the opposition's goal. It's not work, it's a positive action taken to attack. I don’t see it as a tactic really. I think if you're a big team you should look to have the ball and be aggressive getting it back. 

 

Pochettino as soon as he arrived at Southampton had them pressing high and it was immediately obvious there was an increase in expectation when playing big sides, not just trying to prevent them but imposing yourself, I love the intensity of it. There was an early game against Man United and though they didn't win, like Bielsa's Bilbao that time against United it was very impressive. I was a big fan of Pochettino just from those early games, I think i said on here something like 'Pochettino has done more in the league in 4 months than Moyes has in a decade'. Pochettino wasn't as immediate at Spurs or PSG. 

 

I get some players are more willing, but...it's on the manager to communicate the benefits of it, establish that unless you do it you won't play. Guardiola doesn't seem to have problems getting all his players to do it. Late against United despite winning comfortably they were chasing down. Again I think a player might naturally ease off but a manager needs to constantly remind his players of the expectations. If you're winning and enjoying more of the ball..where's the negative. Maybe it's a question a journalist could ask a manager. 

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20 minutes ago, Loik V credern said:

 

I don't really understand how a team can be incapable of pressing unless it's literally a physical thing because you have a bunch of Maguire's in your team among 35 year olds. 

 

 

Me neither, the words I used was "seem incapable" which you might interpret as a bit of a dig at the players' attitude.  

 

I'm not sure it suits our strengths though.  The pace and other attributes we have suits a team that creates space by sucking an opposing team in and then beats them with one pass.  Pressing suits teams who are full of attacking and midfield players who are energetic and quick-thinking.  When they win the ball back they need to think and act quickly to make the most of the opportunity.  They need to construct the subsequent attack immediately to take advantage of the opposition not being set up.  Fred, Pogba, McTominay, Matic, even Rashford and Martial are not great at this.  Pogba particularly sometimes takes an age to decide to do anything.  I think we could see Van De Beek and Fernandes in the same midfield quite a bit between now and the end of the season.

 

Rangnick will hopefully be capable of teaching them how to do it.  They're world-class players, they have to be adaptable enough.  It'll be interesting to see what he does with Ronaldo.  He says that pressing is like being pregnant - you can't just do a bit of pressing in the same way that you can't be a bit pregnant.  If one player isn't doing it, it doesn't work.  Ronaldo has never really been that kind of player, which isn't to damn him - being able to conserve your energy to the point when you can hurt the opposition the most is a useful skill, and he's scored 799 career goals so he seems to be doing something right.  Rangnick just coming in for six months might mean he has a free hit and licence to piss off whoever he wants, so Ronaldo, arguably our best player and clearly fit enough to still cut it even at 36, might end up on the bench a lot.  Or his status as a substitute teacher until the real guy comes in might make him a bit powerless.

 

Wan-Bissaka needs someone to explain how to play in a pressing system to him, you can see that from the times we've tried to press this season he doesn't understand when to charge forward to try to win the ball and when to stay in a defensive shape.  Maguire needs the concept explaining to him as well so he stops shouting at everyone to get back into shape and stop chasing the ball.  It's no wonder we've been so bad this season.  Confusion reigns.  A guy with a clear coaching philosophy is going to be a plus whatever else is going on.

 

I wonder if Rangnick is going to move upstairs at the end of his contract if we get Pochettino.  Where would that leave John Murtoch and Darren Fletcher?

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8 minutes ago, GamesGamesGames said:

Fletcher would likely coach. Murtough can fuck off elsewhere. He's as useful as Anne Frank's drumkit.

 

Wasn't Rangnick considered for the role when it first came up and rejected in favour of Murtough though?  This is hearsay from journalists of course, but wasn't part of the reason that Rangnick would have wanted more control over recruitment?  In other words he would have insisted on signing player for the benefit of the team rather than the commercial arm of the club, which we all know is the only part that matters to the owners.  Do we really believe the Glazers are ready to abandon that philosophy? 

 

For that matter, what is the point of Murtough?  What is his job?  Woodward still seems to be signing players.  He signed Ronaldo from Gary Linekar's garden, bizarrely.  

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The point of Murtough is that upstairs want a malleable figure, so the owners can get away with shit like the Ronaldo signing / share cashgrab.

 

They hold all the cards of course, but if there's one thing that could foment some proper discontent amongst the divs still handing money over, it might be them waving cheerio to someone with Rangnick's authority once his consultancy is up.

 

Who am I kidding? They'll just keep handing their cash over. It's nice to dream now and then though.

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I probably go too far in my endless high expectations of professional players playing at the highest level, the reddit thread of this news has loads of people questioning whether the squad can press, citing Origi as someone who despite all the years with Klopp won't do it. I suppose my reply to that would be he's content not playing. I just don't think pressing is a lot to ask, I assume players like having the ball, like creating chances that might lead to goals, like winning.

 

As mentioned on a podcast, poor running stats can be explained by the players being confused by what to do. I just think we forget they're professionals who aren't killing time for a wage. To be where they are they have to love fitness and being in that condition, I'm sure there's pain every pre season but the modern game demands more running than ever and no one can avoid it. 

 

I guess people know this but Honingstein thinks Rangnick is the ultimate system coach, the one the German coaches like Tuchel and Klopp look up to, and hoping we'll see as rapid an improvement as Chelsea did when Tuchel arrived. I doubt that, I hope it's more that than Van Gaal though. 

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On 22/11/2021 at 20:50, feltmonkey said:

Not every team has to be a high-pressing team, and we weren't one before this season, so I don't know why "we can't press!" has become a reason why we've failed this season.

 

Looks like the United head honchos disagree with you. Rangnick is big on the press.

 

Edit : seems I'm a bit late to the conversation, that'll learn me to read the entire thread first.

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3 hours ago, Adrock said:

 

Looks like the United head honchos disagree with you. Rangnick is big on the press.

 

Edit : seems I'm a bit late to the conversation, that'll learn me to read the entire thread first.

 

Don't worry, things have moved on very quickly in the last week!  The interesting thing about the Rangnick appointment isn't just that he plays a pressing style, but that he insists on every single player pressing together. Otherwise the whole thing falls apart. It's going to be fascinating. Or disastrous. Or brilliant. 

 

We normally do all three of those in the same game, so we're used to it.

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2 hours ago, feltmonkey said:

It's going to be fascinating. Or disastrous. Or brilliant. 

 

I'm the most intrigued I have been for United since...um maybe the signing of Di Maria. Even moreso than Pochettino because there's less mystery there. Only really Erik Ten Hag arriving would be more intriguing.

 

It's just a shame it's mid season, just before the hectic Christmas schedule begins. But then Tuchel got no time either and presumably Rangnick has been following United more closely than Tuchel was Chelsea and will have a more advanced idea of who he'll play and set up. 

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Football journalist on 5live saying Erik Ten Hag would be keen. He signed an extension to the end of the 2022/23 season at Ajax in the summer, and i assumed he'd want a less big job next, but he's 51, been at Ajax 5 seasons, not his first management job, beaten big teams in the Champions League, i guess not.

 

Man United have been shit on their timing in hiring managers. It really feels like Erik Ten Hag will end up at Man City in 2/3 years time and everyone will be asking themselves how another top manager slipped through United's fingers. It also seems like United would prefer Pochettino because he's proven in the premier league. And it is timing, hiring the manager who is about to reach his peak. Not that Pochettino is past it, but it does feel like the time was last year. Hopefully Rangnick will prefer Erik Ten Hag and Pochettino will continue to do badly with Psg. And the compensation is higher, although i doubt that makes much difference to United. Just me? This could be the chance to set the club on a proper course and the fixation on the safer choice might scupper it again. Not that we can know how either would do.

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