For all the criticism Louis van Gaal has received, and he probably deserves all of it, Manchester United have bigger worries than the manager.
Firstly, there’s the Glazers, who have taken £1 billion out of the club since taking over almost 11 years ago. When you consider that Manchester City’s owners have invested the same amount of money, in less time, United are fighting a losing battle without Sir Alex Ferguson.
Secondly, when Van Gaal goes, what guarantees do the club have that his replacement will be able to turn this current bunch of players around. There have been plenty of games this season when you would have expected the players to put up a greater fight for a result, only seemingly becoming desperate to score a goal in the last five minutes, when it was too late.
However, no game has been more shocking than Thursday night’s away trip to Anfield, to face Liverpool in the Europa League. Whatever Van Gaal said to the players before the game, however he wanted them to play, regardless of how bonkers it was to start Rashford on the right, or bring Michael Carrick on for him, there’s no excusing how pathetic the players were.
The United players had absolutely nothing about them, and that’s not tactics, that is mentality, and for all the blame Van Gaal deserves for setting the team up like that, he can’t be held entirely accountable for a totally spineless performance.
The 2,685 travelling supporters drowned out “You’ll Never Walk Alone” ahead of kick-off, chanting “MANCHESTER!” over the top. If the players had an ounce of that passion in them, we wouldn’t have got totally battered. David de Gea was our only saving grace, as we would have been on the end of the 5-0 scoreline we deserved without him.
Paul Scholes has ripped in to the players for their gutless display.
Coming to Anfield, bravery is the biggest thing. Having the balls to go and play. This is a tough, horrible place to play. It’s a tight pitch, everything is on top of you.
It wasn’t so much the quality of play, it was more not laying a finger on them that got me wound up. Not tackling? Adam Lallana was taking the piss when he was rolling his studs over the ball in the second half! Why didn’t someone just tackle him?
You can come here and not string three passes together but still win the game. There were no standards. There was almost an acceptance of that performance. We wouldn’t have stood for that. I’m not saying there would have been violence, but there would have been tackling. We’ve been here and lost 2-0 and 3-1 but at least there was a bit of fight. Could you imagine us not tackling?
How is Juan Mata captain? He’s a good player and he’s had a good month. But to be captain of Manchester United? I don’t think there are many real leaders in there. Chris Smalling? The goalkeeper? They, possibly, could be captain but are they real Manchester United captains?
The formation is irrelevant next week. Do you know what they should do? Tackle. Just tackle and run, like Liverpool did. United need to do the same. If they do that, things will happen at Old Trafford, I’m sure of it. They will be capable of scoring goals and creating chances. But they need to get the players into the game.
Martial and Mata were ineffective here. They got bullied. Mata looked like a 10-year-old at times. Memphis? You just don’t know what you are going to get from him. But you need to get the ball to these players to see what they can do. They will have more time to do that at Old Trafford.