Bloody hell. I am getting tired of watching United play like they are doing. I’m spoilt, I know, but Christ Almighty, it is getting frustrated watching these immensely talented players not having it in them to string three passes together. What’s the deal, lads?
Having seen Wayne Rooney run the show for England last week, it begs the question why Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t allowing him to do the same for us. His reactions to Porto’s mistake in the first half and his coolness to slot it away should be applauded but I’d like to think most players in our squad would have been able to do the same. So why play Wayne so far up the pitch and take him out of the centre of our game? Our play should revolve around him and he’s wasted up front by himself or out wide. I’d rather see Ronaldo up front by himself than Wayne. The purpose of a forward is to put the ball in the back of the net and Ronaldo is a better finisher than Rooney, whilst there are other areas of Rooney’s game which are going to waste when being played as he is.
The defence that our season was being built on has fallen to pieces and it doesn’t seem to matter which combinations of defenders Fergie chooses, they manage to fall asleep at the crucial times. Cristiano Ronaldo lost the ball and then Jonny Evans made the first notable mistake of his first team career with us so far. 1-0 with four minutes played, the away goal.
United were largely in control of the game, seeing plenty of the ball, but we just didn’t do an awful lot with it. Sloppy passing held us back time and again and I sat there wondering how much our players really wanted it. I know at 1-1 I didn’t feel anywhere near as panicked as I did at 1-1 against Villa two days ago. Maybe there’s only a limited amount of juice left in us and we don’t have the legs for the Champions League? I know after our comeback against Villa the priorities are well and truly set in my mind. In all honesty though, I can’t imagine the players share my modest expectations for their season. So their casual play is inexcusable.
However, with ten minutes left to play, something magical happened. Ronaldo tracked back and won the ball! His efforts were met with a sarcastic cheer from the Stretford End. That’s it Ronaldo, baby-steps. Working for the team is improving, now let’s stop throwing tantrums every time the opposition take the ball from you fairly! Maybe he’s a reader of RoM…
Less than 15 minutes on the field and Carlos Tevez is on the scoresheet. A throw-in from Neville was flicked on by Rooney giving Tevez an easy chance to put away. He looked fairly happy to stick it in the net too! Sign him up, for fucks sake!
Then in the last minute of the game, Porto get the equaliser and a second away goal. Ridiculous. Probably what we deserved though. We were the better side but Porto played well. They pushed high up the field and left us passing between defenders and goalkeeper on plenty of occasions. They came to get a result and left with what they worked hard for. They certainly sat back a bit more later on in the second half but they were always a danger on the break.
Now, quite simply, we go to Porto and win 1-0 then we’re through. But can you see us not conceding? Because I can’t. We’ve let in 10 goals in our last 4 games, with 3 of those games being played at home! God only knows how we’ll fare away. So, let’s pray for a 2-1 and hope our lads decide to show us how much they want to stay in this competition because at the moment, I’m not really feeling it.
I’m not writing us off, why would anyone ever do that? But this doesn’t feel like the usual ‘United making it hard for themselves’ palaver. We just look a bit of a mess and I’m not sure what needs to change to fix it. I mean, surely “pass it to the players in red, lads” is a too simple instruction? I dunno.
I want us to win everything we can this season. I love winning. It’s great. But the way we’re playing of late, it’s hard to say that we will or deserve to win this ‘quintuple’ the press keep talking about. So I’ll just settle for the league title and if we beat Porto away, great stuff.
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