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Reactions to defeat against Newcastle

1. With ten minutes left to play yesterday, fans were streaming out of the exits at Old Trafford, not prepared to stay until the final whistle confirmed our second home defeat in a matter of days. People have trotted out the stat pointing to the end of the 2001-2002 season, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s United lost two games in a row at home. The first of those defeats actually came in March though, with United spending the following seven weeks playing away from home (winning six and drawing two of the eight games) before losing to Arsenal at Old Trafford in May to give them the title. It’s hardly comparable with the situation we currently find ourselves in. If you weren’t panicking before, you probably should be now. We’re 9th and 7 points away from even breaking in to the top four.

2. What is even more worrying than us losing all these games to teams we should be beating, but that these teams aren’t even playing well. Everton put in nothing like their best performance of the season but nobody could really argue with the result, even if you do ignore the penalties we could/should have had. Newcastle yesterday were distinctly average and offered very little. Defensively they were decent enough, but they were hardly busting a gut, and on the attack it took the whole of the first half before David de Gea had anything to do. Their goal came when Evra was well beaten by Sissoko on the wing. He put the ball across the goal, entirely unchallenged, to Cabaye just inside the box. Vidic and Evans were there, but were nowhere near Cabaye, who took full advantage of the easy opportunity to score. And that was that.

3. Robin van Persie did score a goal for us, albeit from an offside position, after a lovely ball from Januzaj was whipped in. The Dutchman wasn’t at the races though. Whilst reports of a transfer request appear to be totally unfounded, the whispers from Carrington that Van Persie is not happy with Moyes’ training are getting louder and louder. Still, this was his first game in a month, since scoring the winner over Arsenal, so maybe he’s entitled to be a little rusty.

4. Absolutely nothing came from the middle of the park, with Cleverley and Jones running around a lot but not actually doing anything. The amount of times, even in the first half, that Vidic resorted to booting the ball up the pitch because there was nothing on in the centre of the pitch. Anderson was a slight improvement on Cleverley, given that he brought the ball forward a few times, but we just don’t have enough to compensate for such a poor central midfield at the moment.

5. Jonny Evans has admitted that the players are low on confidence and it’s hard to see how that can change without a few wins. But the way we’re playing, it’s hard to see how we’re going to win a few games. On paper, all the matches between now and Christmas should be ones we get three points from, but for the first time in a couple of decades or more, we genuinely cannot guarantee wins in any particular one of those matches. Things can only get better? Let’s bloody well hope so.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. sir matt martin says:

    @ DeGeaWeTrust
    So u would like or prefel the front 2 of fellaini and Rvp? then why not just buy the whole of everton team and rename old traford.

  2. zibbie says:

    Felli can play, 10, cam, cdm @ CB.

  3. zibbie says:

    Batter, he tries to Master!

  4. sir matt martin says:

    ok we can aswell buy Grant hult from Nowish becos he can play 10, Cdm and CB. aswell. clueless

  5. sir matt martin says:

    @ zibbie and Tommy
    u guys have the football brain of a 10y old.

  6. zibbie says:

    Wazza and Moyes have talked. MUFC has offered ok $ for his extension. Now will @ or when will he sign? After he sees the new recruits and if he likes them and how he fits in.

    Rooneys team you see this now. Up to him if MUFC secure cl @ silverware.

  7. edcunited1878 says:

    Fellaini must improve as a player and adapt. If not, he’ll be a complete failure at United, make no bones about it. It also helps if he is surrounded by the proper players in the proper set up to succeed.

    He will not be successful in a midfield two at Manchester United. I can see him being successful or at least effective in a 4-2-3-1 / 4-2-1-3 formation with Carrick and a central, attacking midfield player who gathers the ball from midfield and defense and dictates forward play.

    Jones does not have the necessary technique, skill on the ball or passing/shooting ability to be a consistent midfield player. He can do a job, but needs a partner who can do that and then some.

  8. zibbie says:

    Many ways to skin a cat. Horses for courses. Like American football. A 4-3 defense or a 3-4 both good, certain type of players fit best. That’s where I am coming from. Your set up Dave and how the buys fit in with his vision.

  9. zibbie says:

    Jones? Might not we will see. Felli I concur.

  10. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    sir matt martin – no I said all summer fellaini should not have been signed, because he is not a CM player, but a player that plays in the position that kagwa and rooney plays. Did I say I prefer fellaini and RVP upfront? no, I said where fellaini’s best position is served. He is useless in CM, because he does not have the mobility, or passing and ball distribution to play in CM, because he is not a linchpin type player

  11. sir matt martin says:

    @ DeGeaWeTrust. ok.. wen david moyes bought fellaini he thourt he can do a yaya toure at united in midfild but its not working for him.

  12. sir matt martin says:

    David Moyes was unwavering in this afternoon’s pre-match press
    conference ahead of the Shakhtar Donetsk game and took full responsibility for Manchester United’s current form.

  13. samuel - united WE stand says:

    DegeaWeTrust – what proof is there to claim fellaini is a top class playmaker? Yes he played behind the centreforward at everton but it was more due to the direct style moyes employed.. Fellaini is a powerful aerially, he was ideal for the diagonal long balls. Fellaini is an archtpypal agriculture footballer, he was never a number 10, he hasn’t got the technical ability nor imagination to be one.. He was just stuck up top to utilise his physical strenghth. Fellaini never impressed as a central midfielder at everton and neither did he as a playmaker. For moyes to purchase him, he had to justify it by playing him as a deep lying central mid. Issue is, fellaini barely played there in his 5 seasons at everton. Fellaini was never a manchester united player in every sense, even the belgian looks devoid of ideas, it’s not his fault, that blame lays on moyes and hopefully, moyes won’t repeat that blunder as much in the transfer market again.

  14. Redfrog says:

    Maybe we should try to play Cleverley and Anderson in the middle. I know what the majority think of both but I think we had some of our best football recently when this two were playing together at the begining of the season City won the title. We were trashing tea, remember ? And it will be very mobile midfield and with good passing abilities. We didn’t stick with them because injuries issues, but it won’t do no harm actually to try instead of having Jones/Cleverley/carrick/Fellaini in the middle as a midfield of 2 of them is to defensive and not enough creative IMO. Anderson is our only midfielder with Giggs capable of creating something right now (Carrick can be a good passer but he is too slow and an holding one). I’m afraid through, Moyes want to play with two defensive midfielder (his idea was to have Fellaini and Carrick) and that is what is causing us problems (no just that OK). Anderson with the options we have deserves a chance.

  15. sir matt martin says:

    I think this what is lacking since sir alex departure. When David Moyes was officially announced as the next Manchester United manager, one attribute that stuck out in comparison with Sir Alex Ferguson was his ability to set-up a well organised team. Sir Alex frequently relied on a possession based game and had the flair to send players out to play a certain way week-in, week-out. On the other hand, the expectations at Everton always meant Moyes had to be tactically astute and adapt to who he was playing and where. However, since taking over, Moyes seems to have been sapped of his ability to change into another gear or up the tempo at a whim. Of course, the squad needs reinforcing as Moyes himself has said but the lack of flexibility is startling. The squad is not full of one-hit wonders. They are fully established,experienced players but what has resulted in a unfortunate run in the Premier League so far this season? The first issue is possession. United are usually reliant on ball players and this has always aided their ability of keeping the ball. Especially at home, United are always expected to control the game with their passing whilst also dictating the tempo and pace of the football However, Moyes has been setting the team up with a quite rigid 4-4-2 more often than not. Having two outstanding strikers like Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney would force any manager to fit them into their starting XI but Moyes seems to have neglected certain qualities they both possess, which has a severe knock-on effect on the balance of the team. By playing Rooney alongside van Persie, the gap between midfield and attack is wider than it should be. Link-up play cannot take place as fluently as it could or should. This means one of the two central midfielders must come out and try be the link between midfield and attack. This plays into opposition teams’ hands as they often set-up with three in midfield which means United are always overran in possession. The wide players are also expected to hug the touchline which leaves the team fairly stretched, especially in the middle. The lack of imagination from the wide men means one of the forwards always has to drop deep which takes away from any attack to and allows the opposition to take control away from United. The second issue is tempo . For a team who still has a relatively large amount of pace, the speed of passing and the tempo is extremely lacklustre compared to what is usually expected at Old Trafford. Simple passes can often raise the tempo of the game but due to the positions the players start from, riskier and complex passes are attempted more often than not but without control of the ball, it allows the opposition to set the tempo and frustrate United. This has become highlighted more so when United go a goal behind. No urgency is shown and due to the lack of ideas, United find it tremendously difficult to get back into games. The third issue is movement . Due to the rigid set-up, the lack of movement and runs made means the tempo often becomes sluggish – something completely alien to United fans. Players ask for the ball to feet rather than making a run. The lack of interchanges between positions are non-existent and the transitions in play are uneven. All these factors have contributed to how the team are faltering under Moyes. Tactically, it is very difficult to envisage what he sees as a future blueprint to success. The best teams are often those who mix it up, whereas United seem bereft of a plan B. It is fair to say Moyes himself needs to quickly go back to basics. Training sessions and team selections should be positive and Moyes should be setting up with a much more fluid system. Some of our best performances have been when Shinji Kagawa has played as the creative link between midfield and attack – a change to 4-2-3-1 would at least help us keep possession and control of a game better. Now though, it is a massive month for Moyes as with the top four all playing each other, there is a chance to close the gap and ease the pressure around the situation. If he can get the team functioning and are 5-7 points off the top come January, with new additions you can never rule out United.

  16. DeGeaWeTrust says:

    samuel – even though flamini herrara strootman thiago mascherano song were all available for half the price of fellaini, and they do what fellaini cannot do, play in CM

  17. Tommy says:


    I didnt know you had watched a Moyes training session, You call me ignorant yet you havnt seen a training session so how do you know what he is like?

  18. Ezzerguru says:


    I’m not a Cleverly fan at all but I remember the period you were talking about and they did play well together, but that was an age ago when the team was playing with confidence and that “Fuck You, we are Man Utd” attitude.

    I said in an earlier post today that confidence breeds confidence (there doesn’t seemss to be much of it around at the moment) and that if some was shown in Anderson he would deliver bacause like you I believe he is our best creative option.

  19. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ Ezzerguru – good comments.

    In terms of people saying formation and tactics don’t matter tell that to Pep, Klopp and every other top managers. If you are just going to hoof long balls all day long maybe its enough to say you just need the right players. But for anyone to think that we can get away being tactically and technically naive in todays premier league is bizarre. This is modern football. You need all 3, tactics, technique, players.

    All teams set up tactically against us. It’s very simple, no matter who we have in a 2 man MF if they stick 3 or so players on there we lose control of MF. This is also because we do not have any 2 MF who can play like Bayern. Even RM play one striker though they have 2 of the best wingers in the world. Bayern play with a false 9. Barca rarely use an out and out striker. Arsenal use one striker. Chelsea with Drogba one striker occasionally 2 when they had Anelka.

    I am not saying 442 never works if you have very good player or play very weak teams it could could. But I don’t think teams that beat us had more quality, they were set up better, played to crowd out our MF with 3 players playing centrally, and chose their players correctly. Everyone uses the same tactics against United. SAF only started getting to finals more regularly in the CL when tactics become important. The EPL is strong and we are midtable, we need to set up to our strengths and to cover our weaknesses.

  20. NBI Red 21 says:

    @ Redfrog – the problem with Clev-Ando was they could be great going forward but crap defensively. We would need a 3 man MF with Carrick holding fort if we player both.

  21. edcunited1878 says:

    @Tommy – Here’s your comment below. Definition of ignorant is “lacking knowledge or general awareness.” Common knowledge and common sense says too much of something (running, running when you don’t need to, over training, ineffective training sessions, etc.) will do harm. Coupled with doing too much of something with certain people, issues will occur.

    Training sessions are distinctly different under Moyes. That is a certain. Running to get fit isn’t bad and it’s necessary, however that load of work is to be done in the pre-season.

    Just look at how disjointed the performances have been this year. Newcastle was gobshite. How you practice is a reflection of how you play. It all starts on the practice field and it’s showing on the pitch.

    Tommy says:

    Doing extra running in training was what he was moaning about from the start of the season, Give me half his money and \i will run double what hes moaning about, too much running do me a favour!

  22. Ezzerguru says:

    @NBI Red 21

    Good comments yourself and I agree that if the Cleverly/Ando combination were to work again it would need to be part of a 3 man midfield or certainly a more flexible system than the current one.

  23. Ezzerguru says:

    @Sir matt martin

    Some great points in there but one thing you wrote stood out for me and is the thing that concerns me more than anything…

    “Tactically, it is very difficult to envisage what he sees as a future blueprint to success”

  24. Mitch Kramer says:

    I like how Scott is now a professional journalist offering insights on all things United, yet a good amount of his sentences are still incomplete or just don’t make sense.

    I think bringing in Alex Song will make a lot of sense, and Januzaj looked good once again.

  25. NefariousVirtuoso88 says:

    The team has lots of problems but many can be solved by not playing a central defender in midfield.

    Tom Cleverley is the scapegoat again dominating the ball is impossible when your midfield partner wont get involved.

    We need to just play two midfielders in midfield. They aren’t Scholes and Keane but at least we will move the ball effectively.

    In big games in the CL you can always shove Fellaini in too. We all know a third man in midfield helps cover weaknesses of individual players.

    Carrick – inability to play under any pressure
    Cleverley – defensively
    Anderson – stamina

    If we are struggling (which we will be) against one of the better sides you can put Fellaini from the anchor roll in front of the other two midfielders and play direct for spells.

    Alex Song should have been signed. No excuse.

    I think Roberto Martinez would make a great Manchester United manager. He has the passing attacking philosophy and his players look so confident. I would have been concerned about this appointment at the start of this season because Martinez teams dont defend well and his ability to adjust to a bigger budget when signing players. He has rendered these two criticisms moot.

    The prophecy was wrong and the chosen one’s arrival has been delayed.

    Nice and cheesy.

  26. Tommy says:


    Theirs a problem with Songs attitude, certaintly their was at Arsenal, Wenger couldnt get him out of the door quick enough, couls also be why he rarely gets picked at Barca

  27. NBI Red 21 says:

    2 MF for me please. Strootman and Song will do.

    @ nv88 – we also need players who can create.Cleverly has not been creative and he has created no goal scoring chances this season. So he is not defending or creating well enough. he is a limited one trick short pass pony right now and that may be fine at EVerton under Moyes but he has too few qualities for a top Club.

  28. NBI Red 21 says:

    Where is @ John. John hope that run in you had did not put you off mate.

  29. John says:

    Nope mate coz that run-in was just another day in RoM!..You have been commenting here from long time, so you know better than me…a mad bully with couple of leeches are something you have to come across in this blog now and then, tbh…nothing much to discuss and debate, so was just enjoying the opinions here as a passive follower. Sometimes, I think thats better thing to do than to waste time and energy with few low life cunts here..mate, however, I am not one of those to get put off by few ‘cyber warriors’ and few ‘clinging leeches who are yet to grow a pair’…Hopefully, we can concentrate on footy in general and our club from now onwards.

  30. John says:

    ^…and the funny thing is those few leeches of bully take sides based on majority and self interest and even don’t know why they are leeching and arguing when asked! LMAO

  31. John says:

    ^…and the funny thing is those few leeches of bully take sides based on majority and self interest and even don’t know why they are leeching and arguing when asked!

  32. sir matt martin says:

    mate u rite its better now they are not around, i like the posters that are on here in RoM rite now, they give incisive views and better dibates, and they respet ur oppinion too. thank gudness those old fools are out of the blogg. the 3 of them can arguing and leeching run. some were erls; So that we focuss on all things Manutd.

  33. Eric Nesh says:

    @sir matt martin Cant agree with you more mate. If we got Strootman and probably Koke as additions to to our side we will see a very different side from what we have

  34. Nicolo Temperoni says:

    Now we’ll be able to see who’s the real supporter and who’s the glory hunter. Don’t give a fuck about the result, don’t give a fuck if we don’t win anything, the only thing that matters is supporting the team. GGMU from Italy


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