What next for Manchester United ?
By Steve Wade
With Manchester United’s exit at the last 16 stage of the Champions league, their millions of fans around the world must now be asking questions about the way forward for this great football club.
The two games against Sevilla in the Champions league were very poor. A “park the bus” performance in the away leg was heavily criticised at the time but all would have been forgiven if they had gone back to Old Trafford and qualified. However, another inept performance saw Sevilla go two goals up in the second half, and despite a late Lukaku goal United were unable to progress, producing another poor performance. This leaves United fighting for runner up spot in the Premier League because realistically Manchester City will be crowned champions very soon, possibly even in the derby game against Manchester United this month. And then the sixth round FA Cup tie at Brighton will be the only chance left to put silverware in the trophy cabinet.
What all the managers, but particularly Mourhino, that have managed Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure have failed to realise is that it is not just what they win but how they win that matters. Back in Sir Alex’s day it would be absolutely unheard of for Manchester United to go to any football club in the world and play defensively . When they were at their most successful, and with the inspired signing of the frenchman Eric Cantona as a catalyst,they produced an attacking brand of football, that whether you were a fan or not, was always good to watch. And regardless of players coming and going the commitment to the club inspired by the manager was unwavering.
It is strange to see now that United are being labelled as dinosaurs under Mourhino with the attacking football revolution at Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham moving all those clubs forward. Make no mistake, Manchester United can still go anywhere and get a result but perhaps Mourhino’s time as one of the great football managers of recent times has come to an end.
If Manchester United retain their runner up spot in the Premier league and go on to win the F A Cup, a season which would be a huge success for most other clubs, Mourinho may be given another year. But given their style of football, their incredibly loyal and committed supporters may demand both a change of manager and style. By the way, if you doubt the commitment of Manchester United supporters check out the attendance figures at Old Trafford for midweek F A Cup or Premier League games of any kind. If 75,000 supporters at Old Trafford on a wet Monday night against Stoke City is not commitment I don’t know what is!
Whatever happens United have now got some catching up to do and I feel they must join the football revolution and change to a more attacking style in the future - their fans deserve it.