There seems to be no end in sight at Old Trafford as the club lurch from manager to manager in the hope that they will stumble upon the days of old when winning trophies was assured. Incredibly, the subsequent wait for silverware has been so long that the club have lost that winner’s mentality that Sir Alex Ferguson spent decades creating.
You only need to look at the way United were dumped out of the FA Cup in early February by Middlesbrough to fully comprehend how broken this club is and how little fight remains in the changing room.
In reality, it does feel as if the walls are beginning to cave in at Old Trafford with irreparable damage being done. Of course, in times gone by, the shambolic state of affairs at the club was typically blamed on an incompetent manager which has led to four permanent managers being sacked since 2013, the year Ferguson retired.
OFFICIAL: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been sacked by Manchester United 🔴 pic.twitter.com/HeXKpyWN0m— GOAL (@goal) November 21, 2021
Of late, however, there has been a shift with regards to the finger pointing at the club with anger beginning to turn towards the players instead of the man in the dugout. In essence, this new school of thought suggests that the United players have too much control and have been guilty of effectively downing tools when they have a difference of opinion with the incumbent manager. You can see it on match days when the needed effort to win matches in the Premier League is not put in by the players, and it was as recently as November 2021 when Paul Scholes labeled this particular squad as “the laziest players” in the world because of these antics. The Manchester United legend is not wrong.
Rather disgracefully, when United go behind in a game during a time when the players are trying to force a manager out, then there is very little effort put in to win the game and give the man they’re at loggerheads with a stay of execution. You can see this trend unfolding when studying the latest in-play betting markets for the Premier League given that when United concede and trail in a game, the odds tend to favour the opposition to get the job done by winning the ongoing match in question. Needless to say, this causes untold fury on the Old Trafford terraces.
Most of this ire has been pointed towards the likes of Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, and also Cristiano Ronaldo of late. Whilst some of the blame is justified, it seems harsh to call out Ronaldo for a lack of effort.
Granted, the 37-year-old can infuriate when he throws his hands in the air after he doesn’t get his own way, and yes, his general histrionics are now wearing thinner than ever as results go against the Red Devils. But at least Ronaldo is one of the few players on the Old Trafford pitch who is still trying to win by putting in the maximum effort when called upon by Ralf Rangnick.
It’s an important point to remember going forward when you consider that the current furore around this squad of players that is being turned on by the fans and pundits has the potential to do lasting damage to Ronaldo’s legacy at Old Trafford. In addition to that, there probably also won’t be much time for the narrative to change either as whispers of a summer departure for Ronaldo from Manchester grow ever louder.
Where would Man United be without Cristiano Ronaldo? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/enYcGSb0sc— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) February 14, 2022
But if the 37-year-old does leave United then he should be remembered for being one of the few players at the club who did everything in his power to turn the tide when the storms were rolling in. It hasn’t worked, but unlike his teammates, it’s not been for the want of trying.