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Reactions To Victory Over Cluj

1. Another game in Europe out of the way, another three points. We can see the stark difference in approach that the manager is taking with the Champions League this season. He’s not pratting about with the team selection this season and it’s great to see. We underestimated our opposition last season so it’s really encouraging that we’re going in to every game with such a strong team. This is how it should be done. Get qualification wrapped up and then we can start giving other players a go.

2. The highlight of the game was probably getting to see Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie start alongside each other for the first time this season. They were the two highest scorers in the league last season and if tonight was anything to go by, we should expect loads more goals from them this season. Rooney assisted both of Van Persie’s goals tonight with two great balls in to the Dutchman. I still don’t think it’s really sunk in that Van Persie is a United player but it’s thoroughly enjoyable watching him play. He is world class and it’s great to see him in our shirt. In all competitions this season he’s scored a goal every 81.7 minutes. That’s why we paid over the odds for a 29-year-old.

3. It was also encouraging to see Darren Fletcher get another 90 minutes under his belt. He looked tired towards the end of the game but he fulfilled his role well during the game. He’s obviously not going to be up to scratch just yet, given the amount of time he was out and how little playing time he’s had since returning, but we have been missing a more deep-lying midfielder and I would love to see him make a full recovery to do that for us. It was hard to imagine him every coming back and whilst he’s not out of the woods yet, it’s brilliant to see him on the pitch again.

4. Anderson and Tom Cleverley partnered Fletch in midfield today and they were impressive too. We have so much more energy when these two play in midfield, in comparison to Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick. It’s hard to judge how effective this combination would be in the league, when you consider the competition that Cluj, who are currently 8th in the Romanian league, provided us with in this department. Still, at the very least, we should be seeing Cleverley start more often.

5. Ferguson said ahead of the game that is was important we started better than we had done in so many of our games this season. Against Fulham we conceded after 3 minutes, against Southampton after 16 and against Spurs after 2. It doesn’t seem to matter how much the manager stresses a good start to our players, we are so slow off the mark in our games. Despite dominating the early part of the game, United found themselves 1-0 down after sloppy defending. Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans gave their men all the room in the world. I know it’s popular to have a pop at Evra these days but it’s becoming almost unavoidable. Make mistakes is one thing, but the lack of effort he showed to get tight to his man after being caught of position is unforgivable. Having a great game against Wigan doesn’t make Alexander Büttner our best left-back but I can’t see what harm it would do giving him more of a go.

6. Despite totally dominating the game, United took their foot off the pedal with 20 minutes to go, passing the ball around well, but with no urgency. We seemed content to see the game out at 2-1 and were in a comfortable position to do so. But when Cluj got a second wind in the last five minutes we could have been left to regret not making the most of our domination. Thankfully, David de Gea is a fantastic goalkeeper and made some top saves. I can’t understand Ferguson’s decision to keep chopping and changing between him and Anders Lindegaard. If it was up to me, De Gea would be our #1 with Lindegaard stepping in for the cup games. He is the superior goalie and making the odd mistake is something he needs to learn from and given the opportunity to improve upon. This policy was a disaster with Roy Carroll and Tim Howard (albeit inferior keepers) and I can’t get my head around the decision to revisit it.

7. I can’t say I particularly enjoy seeing United play without wingers but with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young injured, I suppose we don’t have any awful lot of choice. There was some nice passing, particularly in the second half, but I would have liked to see more chances created with the amount of possession we had. All in all though, that was a comfortable victory for United and it’s another three points on the board.

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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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226 Comments

  1. Utd4life says:

    Costas. Hi mate. If it was UTD instead of City then people would be talking of how UTD are in decline and how UTD are shite but since it’s city, the media are going to be talking about their determination to get a point inspite of getting ruthlessly battered for 90 minutes.

  2. FletchTHEMAN says:

    We probably need the likes of Hummels or Blaszczykowski more than Gotze.

    But agree, Mario Gotze is class. Not sure if his game would translate to EPL immediately, but at 20 I would think we could do very nice things with a lad like that.

    I have said it before, I just don’t see German first teamers interested in playing for United.
    Bit of an ABU thing…….. summat to do with Munich and 1999 ;)

    Never say never though.

    Some are saying that Robert Lewandowski actually had an offer in but Dortmund turned it down. But we then went for Robin vP and the rest, as they say, is History! :twisted:

  3. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Costas, Do you watch the Bundesliga? What is behind the Dortmund team. Can’t be only Klopp.
    I heard they have a tremendous youth system.

    OFF TOPIC. There is an important breaking story that Hodgson has said Rio will no longer be in line for England. Great news for United if true.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/roy-hodgson-tells-fans-rio-1358906

  4. Costas says:

    Reus was also impressive in the Euros. Błaszczykowski was the one that stuck out for me yesterday.

    Sometimes Neville annoys me on commentary, lol. He was saying how it might have been a soft penalty by Subotic. The handball by the Spurs player on Saturday was more deliberate than that!

    @Utd4life

    Hi mate. Yeah the good old fighting spirit. Actually they never looked like scoring, but who cares hey? It’s ok. As long as City don’t address their issues, the longer they will be around. Kompany for one, doesn’t look like last season’s player.

  5. Indian Devil says:

    I am sure if United would have put in a performance like Shitty yesterday most of our fans will be like we are screwed, Sir Alex have lost it, we would be lucky to finish 4th and blah blah but when Shitty does that the fans are like see they were shit but they still grind out a point.. Well fuck yeah with the help of a penalty that never was and with the goal living a charmed life.. Shitty will do well to qualify from this group and to even finish 3rd this season in the Premier league. We will be leading the league by at-least 5 point come January 2013 and you can fucking print that :cool:

  6. Costas says:

    Heard about the Rio story last night. Might be good news for us but ultimately, I was afraid of this. After all the bullshit he’s gone through, Rio didn’t have the pride to retire and someone else ended his England career for him.

    @Fletch

    Hey pal. No I don’t watch it unfortunately. Last night was the first time I’ve seen this Dortmund side in action. They reminded me a bit of the German national side. I agree that it’s not just Klopp. You can tell that a lot of time and effort has been put into building that foundation. Something the Germans are known for anyway.

  7. Utd4life says:

    Costas. I haven’t been following City’s matches (why would I??) but I guess their substandard performances this season have been due to Mancini’s tinkering with the formation. He is hell bent on playing 3-5-2 but he just does not have the players. They might have won the league last season but retaining the title will be a lot harder like they will find out this season and the pressure could actually get to the players.

  8. Utd4life says:

    I get that Rio is a very patriotic guy and that he really really wants to play for England but he has to read the writing on the wall. I think Uncle Roy would much rather have Ledley King back from retirement than have Rioon his team. It’s that obvious.

  9. utd_fc says:

    Fletch

    Yeah Hummels would be a fantastic addition to our squad. Especially with the crazy injuries our defense keeps getting. He’s solid off the ball while holding off attackers and pretty comfortable on it too. Very sensible defender. But was just mentioning Gotze because he’s just one of the players i’ve had my eye on for a while. Personally it’s been a side fantasy of mine to see him in a United shirt, but I agree with you about German first teamers not really coming here.But I think it has more to do with their nationalistic pride, and most players loving the shit out of Bayern than what we did to em in 99. If u ask most German players their dream club turns out to be Bayern more often than not.

    Also, they do have a pretty damn good youth system. Their youth teams have won countless competitions at under 19-under 17 level and their graduates boast the likes of Gotze, Sahin, Schemlzer and Reus (yes he was at Monchengladbach but he started out in the BVB youth team.)

  10. utd_fc says:

    Regards to Rio he should give it up. He’s been disrespected by the international setup more than once and at his age he really can’t hack a club career and an international one. As it is he’s barely keeping up with United’s hectic schedule so he should remember who pays his bills at the end of the day. Let’s not forget Fergie showed him 50 times the loyalty any england manager ever showed him.

  11. Utd4life says:

    Utd_fc spot on about Rio and BVB. Any team that makes Bayern look like mugs two years in a row are certainly a team to look out for and the fact that they have done it purely through their scouting and youth system without splashing exorbitant amount of cash to get players makes me respect and admire them even more.

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    utd_FC Cheers mate. Agree there is something about the German/Bayern connection. But it is also the money that national team players get to stay in Germany…. Sort of like the silly money that british teams pay for potential England lads. Like what we paid for Nick Powell. Ask most England players if they want to play elsewhere and very few choose to until later on. The Beckham’s are the exception really.
    German players have a very confortable life and are treated like royalty. They cherish their privacy to a fault and don’t ‘get’ the english press. A lad like Goetz has it made in Germany. Doesn’t really need to go anywhere else.
    As youth players they all think english methods are crap and who can argue.

  13. Utd4life says:

    I would also like to bring up for debate the topic of why the Gaffer insists on playing Scholes and Giggs together even though we all know that that is a recipe for disaster? Does he do it out of sentiment or squad rotation or lack of faith in Ando and Cleverley or is it because he still thinks that the two legends can still make a difference at this level??? It befuddles the shit out of me when he starts both of them together so I would love to hear what my fellow reds thought about it.

  14. Utd4life says:

    Ak47. Bit absurd on Gerrard’s part to say that he would have ended up with 2-3 league titled had Roman and Sheikhs not taken over Chelsea and City respectively since L’pool still had to compete with Utd and Arsenal for the title.

  15. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Good read from Scott:

    Hogson was found out as being disingenuous when blaming Rio’s exclusion on “footballing reasons” and now to claim that Rio is too old for England, when Hodgson’s chosen vice captain is older than him, is ridiculous.

    http://www.byfarthegreatestteam.com/posts/is-rio-ferdinand-really-too-old-for-england-erm-what-about-lampard/

    Erm, why is Scott posting on bftgt and not here? Inquiring minds justly ask?

  16. Corea says:

    “Erm, why is Scott posting on bftgt and not here? Inquiring minds justly ask?”

    +1

  17. AlphaRS says:

    The Hodge has managed to shame Rio Ferdinand yet again.
    1. Stripping him of his England Captaincy without talking to him first about.
    2. Dropping him from the World Cup Squad for “Football reasons.”
    3. Telling people on a London Tube that his career for England is pretty much over.

    Get some self respect Rio and concentrate on United. Atleast we appreciate you…!

  18. Diego says:

    There might be a reason for why the Dortmund players are so incredibly comfortable on the ball:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=08Qf15Fz8Ek

    I wonder if we got one of those at Carrington? Somehow i feel not. Wouldn’t mind having one of those in the backyard myself.

  19. Zibbie says:

    Well Smalling should be back after the Int. break.

    Rooney plays well with others, Kags will find space, the 3 should get going. RvP, Rooney and Kagawa. Kags played so well last year with Dort. when Goetz came back from injury, he was second fiddle.
    No matter the formation, the 3 will rotate.

    Rooney is just a baller, not a striker a 10 a CAM a wing a CDM. He is all of these and a dash of lb. A BALLER, A WINNER A LEADER!!!!

  20. Zibbie says:

    ———-DDG———

    Rafa–Rio–Evans–Evra/Buttner

    Tony—–Carrick——-Kagawa

    ————Rooney———-
    Nani——————–RvP–

  21. dannysoya LOVES USAIN BOLT says:

    AlphaRS let us be honest here. If I was Roy I wouldn’t pick Rio either. He hasn’t lit up the world with his recent performances. National team call ups are supposed to be performance based. He was run over by Bale and Dempsey, Against Cluj he and Jonny were shaky at times. He has lost his speed and is finding it hard to adapt his game to something that doesn’t involve too much speed. Let me put it this way. If you have Rio as your last man in a counter attack at his age, it’s not looking too good.

    PLUS a complete shut out from England is a blessing for Rio. The last thing Rio needs is more pointless games. He is getting older everyday and the more games he plays the earlier he gets burnt out.

    Had all our defenders been fit and on form, I would personally have Vidic and Smalling ( who I regard as our second best natural central defender after Vidic) in the middle. but this is just my opinion.

  22. AlphaRS says:

    @DannySoya
    Therefore he should retire from international football.

  23. Sparkz says:

    Hmm…if we’re talking about Rio’s “recent performances”…..shouldn’t we also mention his outstanding performance vs Liverpool just over a week ago? Just saying!

  24. UtdinJersey says:

    Can we please play the kid Buttner a bit more…..can’t take Evra …he’s out of position and gives the ball up too much

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