How to fix Manchester United’s season in 5 easy steps

United’s defeat at home to Everton last night was their fourth of a Premier League season that sees them a startling twelve points from the summit of the table before Christmas has arrived. So, with key players missing, a manager under fire and a home crowd growing even more impatient with life after Sir Alex Ferguson, where do the club go from here?

Well, in the short term, Newcastle United at home on Saturday. In the wider context of this season, these steps might help.


1) Find the strongest, most effective line-up within the squad

Pragmatic football ho! It might not be particularly interesting, but United look thoroughly flimsy at present, offering little protection to their back four and passing up too many decent scoring opportunities. In the short term, there’s a desperate need for the team to be firm and not allow teams to break through their ranks so easily. Ross Barkley waltzed through central midfield towards goal seemingly at will last night, and a better player would’ve punished those errors with more incisive passing and shooting. Phil Jones’ absence was sorely missed in any case, and he’ll be needed in the engine room if United are to sure things up.

phil-jones-faceEssentially, David Moyes needs to find his steeliest XI as soon as possible. At this point, the idea of playing “the United way” is so contrived that fans seem to have forgotten that we haven’t played exciting free-flowing football in a consistent fashion in about 4/5 years. For the time being, the gaps in midfield need to be plugged because our defence is far too often unprotected. Lining Phil Jones up alongside Marouane Fellaini or Tom Cleverley is the very antitheses of attacking-minded, and neither of those partners are particularly popular at Old Trafford of late, but there seems little point in taking gung-ho approach if United are willing to concede goals so easily.


2) Devise some incredible team building exercises

Have each member squad fall backwards into David De Gea’s hands and say “I trust you.”Rent out an oversized cabin in the woods, make rafts and roast marshmallows. Give each of them a Caffe Nero card with all of the stamps filled in for God’s sake, but do something to improve morale, because at the moment, the team spirit that got United through to their 20th league title is nowhere.

Sure, Ferguson has now departed the dugout, and Moyes is finding it so difficult to drag those extra margins out of some of the squad’s more limited players, but even so, the nature in which United fold, or much less fail to respond in the face of defeat this season shouldn’t have been completely lost by a change of manager. It’s certainly harder to replicate when one of the most inspirational figures in the game isn’t willing you on anymore, but is that really an excuse?

Moyes has to improve his team’s response when the chips are down, so situations like last night’s crowd exodus once Everton had taken the lead are avoided. How embarrassing that a club that was scoring late winners for fun last season can’t even be relied on to make a chance or two at the death. Moyes can’t change his personnel just yet, so he must figure out a way to rally the troops at his disposal. United need to become difficult to break down again, and they could do with rediscovering that side of themselves quickly.


3) Prepare for the Transfer Windows

david-moyes-benchThe signs are that United will go back in for Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera in January, and given United’s woes in connecting midfield and attack, that’s something at least (even if he does cost upwards of 30million Euros). If Herrera is what Moyes has deemed as a necessity in January, then Ed Woodward needs to be as fully prepared as he can be to negotiate as soon as the window opens. This will avoid wasting time on navigating an already complicated contract with the Basque club and get the player bedded in as soon as possible.

Moving further ahead, United clearly need more of a long-term revamp with a number of players in their 30s beginning to struggle. After five months with the squad, the management must know what to expect from the players they see daily, and which positions can be given necessary upgrades. Simple as it may be, the targets need to be identified as early as possible to avoid another shambolic summer spent uhming and ahhing over Thiago, being played like a fiddle by Cesc Fabregas and paying over the odds for a player that Everton appeared happy to sell anyway.


4) Qualify for the Champions League

Cringing at the thought of qualification for the Europa League? You should be. It’s a nasty competition where dreams go to die and qualification for it could muck up any chances United have of progress next season. So, in short, a top four finish is something of a must.

Even though the Glazers and Ed Woodward will have you believe differently from a business perspective, it’d be a disaster on the football side of things. We are on the verge of one of the biggest recruitment drives in the club’s recent history, and will require quality players to come into the team. You have to wonder how many will jump at the chance of joining United without the offer of Champions League football. Will bumper contracts do the trick? Because we have so much money lying around the place these days…

The only way qualification will come is if United start to string some wins together. The fabled unbeaten streak actually masked a number of disappointing draws, and as we’re now winless in three league games, it’s imperative that the club gets back into the habit of chalking up victories quickly. At this point, the Premier League title is gone. The sooner the team responds to that fact and starts to react positively, the better.


5) Support the club

Manchester United ChantsSimple one, that. It’s not “United are the team for me but only until they stop winning”. We’ve all been frustrated these last few months, and descending to the level of booing and calling for the manager’s head is only going to serve to make the atmosphere more poisonous and affect players whose temperaments already look a little fragile. We all have a part to play here, and even if a bad result reduce us to angry barks at full time, the support still needs to be there when the next game kicks off.

What are you thoughts on Manchester United’s season? Comment in the section below.

10 Comments

  1. True that the strongest line up should be realized ASAP. Kagawa could be an integral part of the team. But it’s sad to see it’s as if the manager does not have his trust in him. Keeps getting him subbed. And from a tactical point of view the management is poor. Starting line ups are – excuse me to say – a joke. Welbeck on the wings is unheard of. He’s never there. And the least said about substitutions the better.
    The January transfer window should be made use of to make up for a wasted summer. They need to be serious here, the club is going down. I can only see our best players leaving if the trend continues.

  2. i really feel Moyes hasn’t really stepped up…he on his part has to start making the right tactical decision one of which should be allowing Kagawa stay in his prefered role while on the pitch and start using Giggs less!Clevz energy was missed in that midfield against merseysiders.

  3. All your points are right but have u realized every time fellain starts we don’t collect maximum points? Secondly subs are David’s prob. Third, We create chances but we need a technically good finisher. Forget welbeck he’s meant to be a defender or midfielder.

  4. For the Newcastle game: With Rooney missing play Kagawa centrally behind the striker for the full 90 minutes.

    Van Persie up front or if not fit, then Welbeck.

    Show a bit of faith in youth, play Januzaj and Zaha. This will also help to get the fans on side.

    Jones back in as defensive midfielder.

    Next couple of months: quickly start working on January signings. Look in Spain and don’t spend forever trying to get Baines. Midfield is what needs strengthening.

    End of season: There will be a time to rebuild with new signings and returning loanees in the summer. The World Cup will be a showcase for talent on the transfer market.

    Top four finish must be the current target. We definitely don’t want the Europa League. Playing Thursdays is not a preparation for weekend league games. Pity the Scousers didn’t finish fifth last season.

    Fans need to get behind the team regardless of player selection. If you want to moan, do it after the game with your mates etc. or on this website. Don’t give the players stick during the game. We don’t want to end up with the ‘fear factor’ at O.T. being in the minds of the home players instead of the away ones.

    United We Stand.

  5. just play these trio > Januzaj-Kagawa-Zaha ( in every game)

    transfer windows could be some/any solution for our midfield nor defense. or, we could use some fantastic recall loan players; such as Powell, Keane, Henriquez.

    United We Stand

  6. Agree with everything but most importantly does the owners the manager or training staff.Bet Martinez could get more out of them.Wont be the last time Van Persie will be out of action,he,s a bit knakkered.They need to build a Young squad starting with two or three super all round forward thinking game players.Still think Little Rafael on the wing is a good handy player and allways wants to get up the park.The build up was hopeless against Everton,slow motion side passing stuff.Nani is a good player and ALLWAYS handy but cant get goals WHY cant he be used tactically to assist every game all the chopping and changing,no Wonder they all feel out of position.

  7. I agree with all u’ve said.i also want 2 coment oN felaini,he is nt d player we need nw.we need fast,hardworking,creative and attack minded players like nani,kagawa or januzaj in every game.y does moyes play a felaini who only ocupies space in d pitch 4 90minutes?
    Sometimes i ask myslf if moyes doesnt see what we d fans see b4 making subs nd in choosing starting 11.hw could he leave chicharito on d bench 4 80mins with a clueles wlbck on d pitch?hw could he even play giggs nd felaini 4 90mins?didnt he see dat they were nt keeping up 2 d pace of d game?
    If we re 2 get anything out of d newcastle game,then kagawa,nani,chicharito,zaha nd januzaj should be on 4 90mins.up united!

  8. phill jones should be played more in central midfield though sometimes he gets so careless but he is doing a great job. we need to get more aggressive defenders at the back who will not give up a chance to anyone at anytime. in attack, i believe we are strong. if januzaj and kagawa could be played more in a central role and rooney in a free role, i believe we are fine

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