Manchester United fans probably assume it couldn’t get worse than it has in previous years under the farcical Louis Van Gaal and even more laughable David Moyes. Following the 0-0 draw with Burnley, fans prayed that the midweek Europa League clash would bring relief and perhaps a victory in Turkey.
The game was a stark reminder that they haven’t yet escaped their problems. So it wasn’t to be, as United put in an abhorrent display and continued their nine game winless streak away from home in European Competitions. 8 losses and 1 draw from their last nine in Europe is an ugly look, and the football wasn’t much better on Thursday night.
The club now sits in third in the group, behind Feyenoord and Fenerbahçe with the Dutch side at home and an away trip to Zorya awaiting in their last two fixtures. That seems to be the least of their problems though, because things are simply not getting better like they should be.
Fans are growing less and less patient, and this display won’t help at all.
Another Woeful Night Out
It’s becoming painfully clear that Manchester United’s troubles are not remotely behind them quite yet. Fenerbahçe were happy to sit behind the ball and allow United as much possession as they liked. It paid off, as United couldn’t dominate the game despite their dominance with the ball.
There was nothing David De Gea could do about Moussa Sow’s unstoppable opening strike, and he was caught dead for Jeremiah Lens 59th minute free kick. The Red Devils though were terrible once again on their travels, and couldn’t make a serious impact on the game.
When Will Things Get Better?
Fans are frustrated. Money is being spent, and it isn’t translating into results. Unfortunately it is not that simple, and they do not appear to be improving. The huge win over Leicester City appears to be an aberration, as United are not showing huge signs of improvement.
At Old Trafford they have been tough to beat, but of late have seriously struggled to kick on and put the ball in the back of the net. Wayne Rooney put away a superb strike late on to make the scoreline less ugly, but it never felt like United were actually going to win the game.
The question now remains; when are things going to get better? It was never going to be immediate but when looking at other clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City frustration is more than apparent. Manchester United are in trouble.
Mourinho Part of the Problem
United have problems on the field including still possessing players who frankly are not fit to wear the shirt. They are currently defined by their weaknesses, and sadly those are many. It is not simply a case of blaming Marouane Fellaini or Wayne Rooney regardless of their share of the blame; they are part of a bigger problem at the club.
Jose Mourinho was supposed to come in and make changes and innovate in a way that would make the feelings of the present as well as the last three years fade away. However, it appears the Portuguese is not willing to evolve and adapt to the challenges presented to him so far.
Sure, he has strayed away from 4-2-3-1 into a 4-3-3 but it always reverts back to the original shape and tactics. Opponents have figured this out, and Mourinho needs to take note of his contemporaries and evolve. His detractors call him a dinosaur, if he can’t start making the appropriate changes in both selection and tactics he’s going to be prove them right.
Answers Becoming Hard To Find
The problem with all of these remaining issues is a dire situation regarding solutions; there quite simply aren’t that many. It is a fair criticism that United are still prioritising commercial needs over on field needs, and as a result the club is still making money and not generating results.
Results eventually hurt the bottom line, and United’s hierarchies’ response the last few years has been to spend money. That is good in theory, but the club hasn’t prioritised the right kinds of players. Paul Pogba was a wonderful purchase, but to not supplement that with another midfielder to sit behind him which would allow his attacking talents to flourish.
A defender was and has been a need for too long. Eric Bailly was a brilliant addition, but a commanding partner has been required before his arrival and because defenders “aren’t sexy” it hasn’t been as higher need as it should be. Meanwhile the likes of Wayne Rooney and others are kept for non-footballing reasons (they generate commercial sponsorship).
The club simply isn’t learning, and it’s going to keep getting worse until they do.
Paul Pogba started the game well and helped United control the midfield. Unfortunately he was forced off the pitch in the first half with what is a suspected dead leg, and United and their fans will anxiously await news on him in the hope it is not as serious as some feared.
It summed up a terrible night in Turkey, where once again Manchester United were found wanting on their travels.