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Eventful Braga game encapsulates Man Utd's season

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Phil McNulty | 07:22 UK time, Wednesday, 24 October 2012

At Old Trafford

Like bookends at either end of Sir Alex Ferguson's evening, Manchester United's manager drove away from Old Trafford to ponder two pressing problems.

Finding the solution to one created by the outstanding Javier Hernandez will be a pleasure and will be considered in the days before Sunday's meeting with Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge - the other may prove more painful before Ferguson uncovers the answer.

United's 3-2 win against SC Braga in the Champions League was their season in microcosm. The night started with the shambolic defending that has scarred their campaign, and ended with another rescue act performed by the rich attacking resources Ferguson has assembled.

One end of United's team posed questions the other end was asked to answer. Once more they - and more specifically the returning and rejuvenated "Little Pea" - did so.

Ferguson shook his head in bemusement at the careless manner in which United conceded two early goals to Braga's Brazilian veteran Alan. It was a defence reshuffled by Ferguson as he rested Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra ahead of the Chelsea game, but there was still no excuse for the slipshod manner of those opening exchanges.

He expressed his concerns about United's habit of making life difficult for themselves and was no wiser after this game as he said: "I can't understand our defending. I can't get to the bottom of it. It's difficult to put my finger on it and it certainly doesn't give us a good start to games, that's for sure."

Ferguson, with lighter heart and tongue in cheek, also suggested Hernandez's performance had left him clueless about what to do with an attacking quartet that also places Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck alongside the 24-year-old Mexican.

He wanted to secure qualification for the Champions League knockout phase swiftly and without slip-ups after last season's calamity. This victory puts them on the brink of the last 16 and on the surface will bring much satisfaction.

Alan (green shirt) scores Braga's opening goal against Manchester United

Manchester United's defence was exposed early on against Braga. Photo: Getty Images

It was a display that illustrated once more that, notwithstanding any flaws United's squad currently possesses, once you scratch beneath that surface, their stomach for a fight and the character Ferguson has built into his team cannot be questioned.

And the biggest bonus of all was the sight of Hernandez showing all the instincts and natural movement that made him an instant success with 20 goals in United's record-breaking 19th title year before enduring a relatively barren time last season.

The phrase "second season syndrome" was often uttered in relation to Hernandez last term as he did not repeat his initial impact. He has also been in the shadows as Van Persie, Rooney and Welbeck played the main parts this term.

There was even talk of a switch away from Old Trafford, with Atletico Madrid linked with a move for Hernandez should they succumb to one of the many suitors for Radamel Falcao. Ferguson's post-match praise for his player suggests he will not be falling for that.

He praised Hernandez's approach in training, his goals-per-game ratio and the natural movement that is in the gift of all the best strikers. He has the ability to make more than one movement in the same passage of play, hence his ability to find space in the most congested of penalty boxes.

The two headed goals he scored to start United's comeback and conclude the recovery, with Jonny Evans's equaliser sandwiched in between, showed once more that there is more than a touch of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about Hernandez, from the boyish looks to the lethal finishing.

If he has completed his rehabilitation after an educational second season, Hernandez will be part of an attacking force that Ferguson feels he can place alongside the one utilised in his greatest team. He has already drawn comparisons between Solskjaer, Dwight Yorke, Andrew Cole and Teddy Sheringham from his 1999 treble-winning side and his current crop.

What cannot be compared with the 1999 side that won the Champions League, the Premier League and the FA Cup is the present United squad - talented though it is

In another 1999 footnote, this was the first time United had come from two goals down to win in the Champions League since their famous victory against Juventus in Turin in that year's Champions League semi-final.

Halcyon days but, on current evidence, this does not look like a United squad capable of repeating those feats and winning the Champions League. Not with its soft centre and habit of conceding cheap goals.

Ferguson is confident he will sort the problem and surely part of his answer will be to back away from the conviction that Michael Carrick is a central defender. He may be tall and composed on the ball, but has shown nothing to suggest this theory that he is equipped to move back from his natural home in central midfield carries any weight.

Carrick was given a fearful going over at Everton earlier in the season and once again struggled against Braga, in particularly embarrassing fashion when he was tricked and turned by Eder for Alan's second goal.

Ferguson's solution should come in the shape of returning absentees. He can restore Ferdinand at Chelsea but will hope to have Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at his disposal in the not-too-distant future.

He will hope they give United a more secure appearance than they currently carry. The ease with which Braga scored their goals will have been noted by their European rivals and recovering the sort of situation in which they found themselves on Tuesday will be as easy the further they drive into the competition.

But where there is United's superb attack there is hope. And the sight of Hernandez back to his lethal best was the most satisfying sight of another night of mixed emotions for Ferguson.

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    First?

    Good match for the neutral, but if United's defence is as non-existent again Chelsea, it's not going to end well.

  • Comment number 2.

    First, Carrick should never appear in a Man United defence, as Phil has noted, he's done nothing to show that he can be a defender. He's better off in central midfield
    Secondly, SAF needs to sign a central midfielder. Carrick and Scholes are aging very fast, and cannot be relied on every week. Anderson is an attacking midfielder who never gets games, Cleverley is still work in progress. Kagawa will improve with time, even though he's an attacking midfielder, not a winger or central midfielder.
    Thirdly, I wonder when De Gea will stop making silly mistakes. He nearly cost us the game..
    Over all, our attack is excellent, am sure every other team envies us.. but the defence must have got Mata, Hazard, Ramires and Torres salivating..

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't know why Wootton or M.Keane didn't start against Braga. Yes they're inexperienced but at least they're natural defenders. I'm sure we will concede against Chelsea because with Evra back,it won't change much as he's been really poor for some time now. But hopefully or strikers can turn things around (again). And we really need smalling, jones & vidic because if one of the current ones gets injured, it will be Carrick again in defense.

  • Comment number 4.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 5.

    2.At 08:33 24th Oct 2012, Rodgers Kai wrote:
    "he's done nothing to show that he can be a defender. He's better off in central midfield" - He's done little to show he's a good midfielder either. Why anderson didn't start is baffling unless he's going to be used on sunday.
    "Thirdly, I wonder when De Gea will stop making silly mistakes." - Are you referring to the pass to fletcher? The question you should be asking is what was fletcher doing standing about aimlessly? If it was at say barca, the player would have moved to the ball rather than waited for it to come to him. That's the difference, utd wait, barca & other teams move.
    "but the defence must have got Mata, Hazard, Ramires and Torres salivating.." - It's not even the defence, it's the whole set up, the team is frequently inbalanced.

  • Comment number 6.

    The defense is weak and the central midfield is weak. On another note, does SAF have problems with non-European players? I though van Persie would be rested for Anderson, who would have helped with defending on the left wing. And also why substituting Chicharito when he is looking for a hat-trick?

  • Comment number 7.

    Had this several times from various commentators: 'Ferguson can only hope that his defence will be better when he gets 3 of his best 4 defenders back'. You'd hope do wouldn't you? Of course this still doesn't get to the heart of the issue - who is protecting the defence and stopping them getting so exposed? Kagawa is brilliant but we'd have been better off going for someone like M'Vila

  • Comment number 8.

    As a Man Utd. supporter I have my doubts (naturally) about our defence come the Chelsea game. I know the record (net) days missed due to injury cost us last year and seems to be hampering us this year as well. But it isn't only that, there is a sort of complacency, which I am sure Sir Alex isn't keen on. As far as last night is concerned, Cleverly and Fletcher deserve a lot of praise. Buttner is some ways off the competence that is sometimes suggested here.

    Going to be very very hard at Chelsea if we concede a cheap goal. Don't think the diamond will work there either.

  • Comment number 9.

    Have to agree with the 'Carrick ain't no Centre-back' assessment .... he has never been a Bryan Robson (or Glenn Hoddle), and he crucially lacks a short sprint. He's a more manufactured midfielder, and just can't naturally pick up a new skill. At his age its probably way too late for the change.

  • Comment number 10.

    For me De Gea is the biggest problem. He looks a liability and a total waste of money. How can any defence feel confident playing in front of him, especially when having to deal with high balls. Time to sell him back to a Spanish club and cut our losses.
    I agree that the youngsters Wootton and Keane would be better deputies than Carrick. With Ferdinand and Evra in the side United will win nothing. Both these great players are now well past it. However, I'm sure Fergie doesn't need telling this and it's not his fault that he is currently without Vidic, Smalling and Jones.
    Bottom line is with the defence sorted out, United have an excellent chance of winning the Champions League.

  • Comment number 11.

    Ever since Quieroz left we have seemed to have regressed tactically. Last year from a tactical point of view it was like taking a time machine to the early nineties. Fergie, not having a clue how to set his team up, midfield all over the place, defence conceding silly goals and SAF relying on his strikers to outscore the opposition. Sure, they make thrilling games, but ultimately they account for nothing.

    Phil alludes to the dearth of attacking talent is reminiscent of the 99 treble winning side. Whilst we have our RVP, rooney, wellbeck & hernandez as the new yorke, cole, sheringahm & solksjaer. We have our nani, young, valencia as giggs, blomqvist & becks but where is our Roy Keane? And where is our Steve Maclaren?

    Fletcher is coming back from injury, but we are lacking a leader in the centre of midfield. We are also lacking a half decent Assistant Manager.

    Two basic notions of playing 4-3-3 of his "diamond" formation.

    If you're playing 4-3-3, use two wingers and one striker to provide overall balance and width to the team.

    If you want to use 3 strikers in a 4-3-3 then you have to press, and press very high up pitch with a high defensive line, otherwise you open a lot of space in the wide areas.

    If you're using a 4-3-3 diamond then the two "strikers" have to press the full backs and spread wide to allow the no.10 player to run centrally into the box.

    Why nobody tells SAF any of this is beyond me. Shocking, schoolboy stuff and yet we've got 9 points which will mean everything will be alright!

  • Comment number 12.

    Manchester United's problems at the moment are very simple. Injured: Vidic, Jones, Smalling. Having to play a central midfielder at centre half.

    It's really not difficult to work out.

    Rotating the keepers and having messed De Gea about recently hasn't helped either. No coincidence De Gea's best form and mistake-free period as a Utd keeper was when Lindegaard was injured last season between February-May. Just play him Fergie. All keepers, particularly young ones, make the occasional mistake but it's worse if they think the next mistake means they lose their place.

  • Comment number 13.

    @5
    That's right, Fletcher was meant to cover Carrick upfront, but he didn't. He kept misplacing passes and his overall contribution was below-par
    Some times leaves me wondering if competing with Liverpool got into SAF so much that he passes the chance to sign Gary Cahill and opted for an inexperienced Jones.
    @6
    I wonder the that too. Anderson has been with us for 5 years now but has not been given the games he deserves. Yes, injuries may have dogged him, but when he's fit, he is great.
    Last season when we had problems in midfield, we opted to bring Scholes out of retirement while we had the likes of Pogba (who's doing well at Juventus). The poor kid left because he never got games. What happened to giving the youth a chance? Scholes, Giggs, Becks, the Neville brothers started that way. I feel SAF should have played either Michael Keane or Scott Wooton alongside Evans in defence.

  • Comment number 14.

    Ah Man U. So many cracks, too many average players, or old reliance on ones.
    But!
    The best team mentality out there and you'd be a fool to ever bet against them.

  • Comment number 15.

    This weekend we will see an agenda-driven player walk off the field of play during a Premiership game.

  • Comment number 16.

    As others have said the team is unbalanced at the moment. Fergie seems to want to shoehorn as many strikers into his team as possible and it isn't working.

    I have been impressed with Cleverley - he does seem to be growing into this team.

  • Comment number 17.

    10.At 08:54 24th Oct 2012, CarterUSM1 wrote:
    For me De Gea is the biggest problem. He looks a liability and a total waste of money. How can any defence feel confident playing in front of him, especially when having to deal with high balls. Time to sell him back to a Spanish club and cut our losses.
    ________________________

    I suppose you're the type of guy that would prefer for us to have Joe "Lion" Hart?

    Have to shake my head at comments like these.

  • Comment number 18.

    I would love to be wrong - but I fear that Fergie's biggest problem is Fergie. Since Ronaldo left, a number of people have noted that this united side is relatively weak. I'm afraid it is weaker still.

    Instead of getting the hairdryer out, Fergie is starting to make excuses, which is not good enough for the high standards set in previous years.

  • Comment number 19.

    11.At 09:00 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    Last year from a tactical point of view it was like taking a time machine to the early nineties
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The counterpoint of your argument is that Utd have probably never had a strikeforce as powerful as the one they've currently got.

    Last season with 1990s tactics Utd lost the title on goal difference to the most expensively assembled domestic club side ever, and finished above the European champions.

    And I'm sorry, the game has moved on, this is something you're criticising Ferguson for- wake up, there is no room for Roy Keanes any more. The new type of holding midfielder is the interceptor- the Makelele and the Busquets or the deep playmakers like Xavi and Pirlo. The Lee Cattermoles of today are the modern Roy Keanes and they get too many red cards.

  • Comment number 20.

    13.At 09:01 24th Oct 2012, Rodgers Kai wrote:
    ____________________

    I think Jones was the right call, although Cahill at 7m would have been a good (and cheaper) call than say smalling. Jones has a lot of time to improve. The way that I hope he progresses is as a ball playing centre back. Eg in the mould of javi martinez or busquets.

    Well fletch is still coming back, that was what, his 4th game?

    I honestly think SAF is losing the plot with some of his team selections / tactics. Either that or Mick Phelan is incredibly poor.

  • Comment number 21.

    Poor defence, you would have thought that Manchester United had a few defenders out.

  • Comment number 22.

    17.
    At 09:04 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:


    10.At 08:54 24th Oct 2012, CarterUSM1 wrote:
    For me De Gea is the biggest problem. He looks a liability and a total waste of money. How can any defence feel confident playing in front of him, especially when having to deal with high balls. Time to sell him back to a Spanish club and cut our losses.
    ________________________

    I suppose you're the type of guy that would prefer for us to have Joe "Lion" Hart?
    ____________________________

    Very funny! Did you come up with that one by yourself?

  • Comment number 23.

    3 points is 3 points. came into work this morn to a barage of comments about how poor united were.... we won, we got 3 points, we are top of the group..... didnt chelsea lose last night?!?!?!

  • Comment number 24.

    @21 It's astonishing how often that is overlooked :)

  • Comment number 25.

    19.At 09:06 24th Oct 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    _________________________

    "The counterpoint of your argument is that Utd have probably never had a strikeforce as powerful as the one they've currently got." - So what? They have lost to Spurs at home and Everton already! They have looked average against poor european opposition. There is no counterpoint to my argument I'm afraid. If they played Barca tomorrow, they would get hammered. If they played DOrtmund, Real, Bayern even Shakhtar, they would get hammered. They are woefully under resourced in midfield.

    "Last season with 1990s tactics Utd lost the title on goal difference to the most expensively assembled domestic club side ever, and finished above the European champions. " - It just goes to show you how poor the EPL has become. City, the EPL champions were equally embarrassing in CL. Chelsea were poor in the league, but they gave it up a long time ago to focus on the cups, hence the more trophies they won last year.

    "this is something you're criticising Ferguson for- wake up, there is no room for Roy Keanes any more. The new type of holding midfielder is the interceptor- the Makelele and the Busquets or the deep playmakers like Xavi and Pirlo." - The Roy Keane comment was in regards to leadership in the centre of the park. At the moment the players all look around at eachother, nobody wanting to take control. I disagree with you on the "roy keane player is dead". You obviously know little of keane's game or just dislike the man to assume all he did was go round kicking people.

    Still begs to question, where is our "inteceptor" in the mould of makelele or busquets?
    Where is out "deep lying playmaker" in the mould of xavi or pirlo?
    WE have neither.

  • Comment number 26.

    Last season when we had problems in midfield, we opted to bring Scholes out of retirement while we had the likes of Pogba (who's doing well at Juventus). The poor kid left because he never got games
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pogba is on the bench all the time I only saw him once in first team and he got 15min in last match Juve barely use him

  • Comment number 27.

    22.At 09:08 24th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    _____________________

    Hahahaha! Yes, I made it up last season. I thought it was particularly witty. I get the feeling Hart will be in for a howler tonight.

  • Comment number 28.

    26.At 09:14 24th Oct 2012, tom wrote:
    Last season when we had problems in midfield, we opted to bring Scholes out of retirement while we had the likes of Pogba (who's doing well at Juventus). The poor kid left because he never got games
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pogba is on the bench all the time I only saw him once in first team and he got 15min in last match Juve barely use him
    _________________________

    He scored a peach of a volley on the weekend.

  • Comment number 29.

    19.
    At 09:06 24th Oct 2012, Vox Populi wrote:


    11.At 09:00 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    Last year from a tactical point of view it was like taking a time machine to the early nineties
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The counterpoint of your argument is that Utd have probably never had a strikeforce as powerful as the one they've currently got.

    Last season with 1990s tactics Utd lost the title on goal difference to the most expensively assembled domestic club side ever, and finished above the European champions.
    __________________________

    You can look at it two ways. They didn't score enough goals or they conceded too many. Judging by the signings he made this year he must think Utd didn't score enough goals.

    In the Premier League Utd can roll over most teams by scoring more goals than their opponents but in Europe their defensive frailties will be found out against better opposition.

  • Comment number 30.

    knowing SAF, they might not concede against chelsea, but the defence is still very, very weak

  • Comment number 31.

    13.At 09:01 24th Oct 2012, Rodgers Kai wrote:
    ____________________

    I think Jones was the right call, although Cahill at 7m would have been a good (and cheaper) call than say Smalling. Jones has a lot of time to improve. The way that I hope he progresses is as a ball playing centre back. Eg in the mould of Javi Martinez or Busquets.
    ==============================================================
    I'm worried at the dip in form that he had before he got injured, and even scoring an own-goal (which was unfortunate). Cahill was way cheaper, and you need to look at the UCL final vs Bayern to see his qualities.
    I feel SAF messed on that, together with signing Young, who IMO only turned up in the Arsenal (8-2) and Spurs (3-1) games. Other than that, he's dived and can't beat defenders. Thank God we have Rooney who can play upfront or in midfield

    Well fletch is still coming back, that was what, his 4th game?

    I honestly think SAF is losing the plot with some of his team selections / tactics. Either that or Mick Phelan is incredibly poor.

  • Comment number 32.

    28.
    At 09:15 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:

    26.At 09:14 24th Oct 2012, tom wrote:
    Last season when we had problems in midfield, we opted to bring Scholes out of retirement while we had the likes of Pogba (who's doing well at Juventus). The poor kid left because he never got games
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pogba is on the bench all the time I only saw him once in first team and he got 15min in last match Juve barely use him
    _________________________

    He scored a peach of a volley on the weekend.
    ==============================================================
    He's got a couple of games too!
    But on a serious note, we need a quality central midfielder, a Roy Keane-like player.

  • Comment number 33.

    Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost, you are making it sound like Man Utd are fighting relegation. Keane was a great player but this rose-tinted view of him 10 years after his peak is becoming tiresome.

    I don't think Utd are as average in midfield as you make out, and all I can say is if Utd genuinely had an average team and were really struggling, you would probably be placing a call to the samaritans! I think you are being unnecessarily negative.

    "It just goes to show you how poor the EPL has become"- Utter, utter nonsense! In which other country could the club that finished 6th in the league last year win the Champions League last season or this?

    Could Levante, or Vfb Stuttgart win the Champions League? But no, you're right, Man Utd are awful and the Premiership is awful.

  • Comment number 34.

    Cant see what all the fuss is about. Braga played well in the first 25 mins and had a go in the last 10 mins.
    Apart from that Man Utd dominated the game. Have to congratulate Braga for giving Utd a bit of a fright.

  • Comment number 35.

    28.At 09:15 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    He scored a peach of a volley on the weekend.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He scored a goal! HE SCORED A GOAL!

    HE'S THE NEW ROY KEANE!

  • Comment number 36.

    Look, the league section for the champions league is a money making exercise, none of the top sides have really got into gear but even so the 4 english teams have hardly suggested they are good enough all round to make an impact. Yes, Chelsea won the thing but come on that was on the basis of parking the bus and having Lady Luck as your main defender.

    Chelsea since that night have been embarrassed by Athletico, those who write that off should see that differently, having been held by Juve and now dispatched by Shakhtar. It was a fluke last season and yet they lead the PL by 4 points, says a lot for the quality of our league. Its a good job Juve dropped points last night otherwise it would be cheerio.

    City, our champions, continue to be exposed. They have a hard group they say. For heavens sake, you are champions of the so called best league in the world.

    Arsenal.... making up the numbers,no more to be said

    United..... give them credit, they have got the points but the reality is the 3 matches in Europe in what was again seen was one of the weakest groups exposes them again.

    The only way any of the 4 are going to make serious inroads is to hope that, as last January for Chelsea, the player that makes the most impact on the rest of the season signs up for them, for only Lady Luck will suffice, there is nothing else in the locker.

  • Comment number 37.

    28.
    At 09:15 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote
    Last season when we had problems in midfield, we opted to bring Scholes out of retirement while we had the likes of Pogba (who's doing well at Juventus). The poor kid left because he never got games
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pogba is on the bench all the time I only saw him once in first team and he got 15min in last match Juve barely use him
    _________________________

    He scored a peach of a volley on the weekend.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    he did indeed and he's reward was
    BENCH on last night game

  • Comment number 38.

    29.
    At 09:24 24th Oct 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:

    for all the talk about united in europe, i think what needs looking at is the fact that teams coming to play us in europe know we have reached 3 finals in 5 years, they all want a scalp. same with barca, they arent getting any easy games now, they are having to fight it out like the rest of us. though its the ECL, there are never any "easy" games. watching lasts nights game brought 2 concerns to mind, one we need to sort out our injury list and two too much is expected from united, we are expected to nearly walk every game.... or are we, is it just that as an arsenal fan put it to me this morn... united in no way had 65% possession, ITV and x pro's all said so..... lol i know that is a bit of a low blow but thats the sort of rubbish spurted even afetr we come back from 2-0 down!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Phil,
    The vast majority of your blogs are about Manchester united and their players or manager. There are 91 other clubs in England and I'm sure the vast majority would prefer it if you were to spread your journalistic skills a little more evenly.

    No doubt Utd fans will disagree, but there is the alternative of MUFCTV for them.

  • Comment number 40.

    31.At 09:27 24th Oct 2012, Rodgers Kai wrote:
    ______________________

    But cahill has had games where he has been incredibly poor! Even Luiz had a good game against Bayern!! Doesn't make him a top class defender.

    I think Jones will come good. You have to remember he made a step up from blackburn to man utd as a 19yo. It's a big move and you can't expect him to be consistently brilliant straight away. He showed glimpses of promise.

  • Comment number 41.

    37.
    At 09:36 24th Oct 2012, tom wrote:

    same with powell to though, scored a cracker on his debute.... reward.... not even the bench.

    Pogba didnt leave because he wasnt getting games, he left because he was offered more money. what was the big deal over anyway, i mean didnt once see anything special from him, he's meant to be the next veira.... is he planning on becoming a Director of football? because as a mid fielder is an insult to put veira in the same bracet. ravel morrison had the same problem good skills bad attitude

  • Comment number 42.

    As a United fan it is very concerning at the way we are always conceding first, last night was the 8th time in 12 games this season that we have conceded the first goal and, as rightly said by many before, at one point we will get caught and not be able to perform the rescue act that has so far defined our season.

    Having said that, I wonder how many of the other big teams would fare without a handful of defenders. A quick look at the other squads and you start to wonder; would Chelsea still be at the top of the table with Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic out?

    Man City have had their own defensive problems this season with a full strength defence, so how would they cope with having a pairing of Lescott and Nastasic?

    And there is little point in even looking at the squads of Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, etc.

    So yes it is a concerning habit but once we get our full strength team back and some continuity, not to mention Vidic working his way back to his imperious best lets see if these problems persist.

  • Comment number 43.

    33.At 09:30 24th Oct 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    "Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost, you are making it sound like Man Utd are fighting relegation." - Errr no, I think my first comment was that "Utd have gone backwards tactically since Quieroz left". Part of this has been due to the loss hargreaves & fletcher and no replacement for either.

    "Keane was a great player but this rose-tinted view of him 10 years after his peak is becoming tiresome. " - ???? You admit he was a great player, but are you saying carrick is as good as keane? Or utd don't need a DM?

    "I don't think Utd are as average in midfield as you make out, and all I can say is if Utd genuinely had an average team and were really struggling, you would probably be placing a call to the samaritans! I think you are being unnecessarily negative." - Baggio said it best. The EPL is of a poorer standard so man utd can afford to roll over teams by simply outscoring them. BUT in Europe, they get more found out when they play superior opposition.

    "Utter, utter nonsense! In which other country could the club that finished 6th in the league last year win the Champions League last season or this?" - Let's take a trip down Europe memory lane shall we?

    Champions Man City - Dumped out at Group Stage of CL by Bayern & Napoli, and then by Sporting Lisbon in last 16 of Europa League.
    2nd place Man Utd: Dumped out by Benfica & Basle at CL, Bilbao in EL. LAst 16.
    3rd place Arsenal: Dumped out in CLlast 16 by Milan.
    4th place Spurs: Dumped out at Group stage of EL.

    Hardly a spell of dominance in Europe by the 4 teams that were supposedly better than CFC is it?

  • Comment number 44.

    You would never have seen Man Utd's midfield ripped apart at home in Europe with Roy Keane at his peak in the team.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC3c9VzXSI4

    No, never.

    It never happened.

    That Fletcher, Cleverley, Carrick, Anderson, not fit to lace Keano's boots, they ain't.

  • Comment number 45.

    38.At 09:36 24th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    united in no way had 65% possession,
    ___________________________________

    The stats at the end of the game showed had Utd with 54% possesion.

  • Comment number 46.

    Can't defend for toffee.

  • Comment number 47.

    I've got to give it to Fergie though, love or hate United they still get you talking. Fergie's biggest problem has always been his tactics in Europe; he's mastered the Prem League to a dot, but falls short in Europe due to tactical limitations. Unlike the Prem League, where it's a "marathon" so shortcomings can be made up as one goes along, there are few if any second chances in the Champions League. Fergie clearly ought to have opted for a M. Keane or Wootton in central defence alongside Evans, how else will they learn if not thrown in at the deep end?! I believe that whilst he rates Evans, he may not trust him enough to shoulder the responsibility of guiding the likes of De Gea, Rafael, Buttner and one of say a Wootton or M. Keane. That said someone needs to drum it in Fergie's head that Carrick is not a "ball winning/box-2-box" player in defence or midfield, so I encourage you United fans out there to chant out at the next game this happens. Phelan can't "stand up" to Fergie in the way Carlos Q did, but you fans can! Rise against this perceived domestic/European tactical incompetence and say as one "Carrick is no central defender"!

  • Comment number 48.

    Encapsulated the season really, shambolic defending and fantastic attacking. Whenever we stepped it up we looked like scoring, and should have been level at half time after Hernandez's incorrectly disallowed goal. We'll get punished against better teams defending like that though, but hopefully we'll have our full quota of defenders fit by then. It's just about getting through the group at the moment.

  • Comment number 49.

    39.
    At 09:37 24th Oct 2012, Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake) wrote

    hello ;)

    you again.... but at least your not rooney bashing right away after his average display last night.

    Rooney got the armband, theres always going to be a blog on that, united came back from 2-0 down theres always going to be blogs about that.

    theres comment boxes on celtics near heroics and theres a mention for chelsea's defeat.... think on thursday you may get a liverpool blog. im sure if you ask phil nicely he'll do one.

  • Comment number 50.

    35.At 09:31 24th Oct 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    28.At 09:15 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    He scored a peach of a volley on the weekend.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    He scored a goal! HE SCORED A GOAL!

    HE'S THE NEW ROY KEANE!
    ______________________

    I think this blog is better suited to your mentality........

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/19958216

    There is a character limit so you don't have to think to hard, and there are plenty other halfwits on there making pointless non-constructive statements.

  • Comment number 51.

    Its going to be a hard afternoon at Stamford bridge on Sunday. The only positive is that we are vunerable to high balls in the box and that is not how Chelsea are playing this season. We should also cause their defence (which also looks vunerable) some problems. SAF needs to think about signing a top class defender in January. I thought Fletcher did well as a defensive midfiled player last night. He could have a role on Sunday

  • Comment number 52.

    @38. Teams should be coming to United knowing they can win. United are a much weaker team than in previous years, yet Sir Alex somehow moulds average players into gold. When he goes, you'll see how bare the cupboard is. It's no surprise you've conceded so many this year - rubbish goalie, old/injury plagued defence and a midfield that's no help. From what I've seen Rafael has been the best defender and previously he's looked the dodgiest! You were let off the hook last night, no doubt.

  • Comment number 53.

    Oh and someone tell Roy Keane, it's "Sir Alex Ferguson" to him! Anyone hear him on ITV, who does he think he is?! Legend that he was when he played, he's a poor pundit against the likes of Red Nev and an even poorer manager!

  • Comment number 54.

    Yeah that Ferguson is useless !!

    What's he ever won ?

  • Comment number 55.

    •Comment number 11.
    At 09:00 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Ferguson has never been the best tactically. A daft opening formation yesterday, things only improved after the introduction of some width.
    Can someone tell me what Rooney does to earn his £200k?
    From the interview at the end with SAF, I thought that he looked a little tired. Maybe time to retire gracefully?

  • Comment number 56.

    I only saw the goals from the Man U as my attention was obviously elsewhere. But, it sounds like a strong comeback and yet Man U fans on here don't seem overly confident going into Sunday's game against Chelsea which I find a bit of a surprise.

    Hernandez (for that is his name) may have scored two goals but is it a case of one swallow not making a summer? Was his overall play good or was it a case of right place right time and better marking would have snuffed him out?

    As for Chelsea, they weren't bad as such last night but Shaktar were very good. Very, very good in fact! Though I think a key point was Mikel. Not that he didn't play well, far from it when it comes to with the ball. But, because he seems to have a new confidence to play a bit (never try and knock that back) he wasn't stationed where he should be sometimes which gave Shaktar more room in midfield. If Mikel goes forward, Ramires had to stay, something that didn't happen.

    That said, while Shaktar had loads (bucket loads) of chances, their two goals were from a moment of poor defending and from Hazard being careless in possession in the wrong place. So, all is not lost.

  • Comment number 57.

    This is why I think it will be an absolute cracker on Sunday. Oscar, Hazard and Mata, on man u's defensive display last night, should get a cricket score against them. man u however, will get a few at the other end, judging by Chelsea's defensive display last night.

    Chelsea do however, have a better chance of shoring up their defence on Sunday, and if they do that it could be a long old afternoon for ferguson

  • Comment number 58.

    Can't blame for ESG for his newfound method of managing his expectations. We all go through torturous moments as supporters and maybe the view of the pessimist spares one (if one is truly a pessimist rather than posing as one) the highs and lows the average supporter goes through. :)

  • Comment number 59.

    What also amuses me is that when Carlos Quieroz was Ferguson's assistant, Utd were criticised for their 4-3-3 formation during that period, and described as 'too defensive' by many Utd fans on blogs like this. It was always harking back to the golden treble season and how Utd played that year, whether it was 4-4-2 or Roy Keane in his pomp, or whatever. Now, it's incredible, Quieroz is apparently the answer and Mike Phelan is tactically naive. I don't know why people keep looking to the past and refuse to trust Ferguson in his development of young players. The same stuff happened with Ronaldo when people were sceptical at first about him replacing Beckham. Then suddenly Utd miss Ronaldo, they miss Quieroz, it's always looking back at something that people didn't even appreciate fully when it was there.

    People just enjoy the football, try not to feel entitled that Utd should play a certain way or that their performances should always be perfect. Nobody's got anything close to the perfect team apart from Barcelona at the moment, and even they had to fight hard to break Celtic down last night!

  • Comment number 60.

    Man United are missing 3 top class central defenders so not rocket science. Along with that Man United, unlike Chelsea or Man City, give opportunities to young players as well as bringing in established stars. Those players learn on the job, sometimes by making mistakes. That's the short term pain for the eventual long term gain of having experienced players who are loyal to the club. I'd be worried if United had an experienced back four and keeper, but they don't, so I'm not.

  • Comment number 61.

    48.At 09:47 24th Oct 2012, Weallfollowunited wrote:
    Encapsulated the season really, shambolic defending and fantastic attacking. Whenever we stepped it up we looked like scoring, and should have been level at half time after Hernandez's incorrectly disallowed goal.
    ____________________________________

    There were 2 errors , Hernandez was onside but the player who played it in to him received it in an offside position which was misssed by the linesman.

    So in the end the goal was justly disallowed.

  • Comment number 62.

    With respect, Phil, any team that has 3 of its first-choice defence out with serious injury is going to struggle - and that's the primary reason for Utd's current problems. If Chelsea were missing Terry, Cahill and Ivanovic, I suggest they'd have a hard time1

  • Comment number 63.

    our biggest problem is at the back, our midfield will control most premiership midfields, but clearly nearly everyone can walk through our defence at the moment. I'm sorry to say it but Rio is past it, isn't quick enough anymore and teams can exploit that. I fear we won't see the best of vidic again as he seems to be falling apart, and although they are very talented, Jones and Smalling have done nothing to prove they'll stay fit for a long period of time. Evans is our best defender at the moment and he deserves great credit for remotely holding our defence together.

    Fergie HAS to buy one if not two centre backs in january, otherwise we'll be in serious trouble. Would love to see hummels come to UTD, in fact I'd like to see half the Dortmund team at UTD!

    Time to raise the bar fergie.

  • Comment number 64.

    52

    "@38. Teams should be coming to United knowing they can win."

    Teams ARE going to united knowing they can win

  • Comment number 65.

    45.
    At 09:45 24th Oct 2012, repo wrote:

    38.At 09:36 24th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    united in no way had 65% possession,
    ___________________________________

    The stats at the end of the game showed had Utd with 54% possesion.
    =-=-=-=-
    thats my point buddie, i couldnt understand what that had to do with the price of cheese. its was like saying United didnt score 5 goals..... i know we scored 3 out of the 5 good enough! its that attitude of United should win every game 5-0 or get slated.... but united are rubbish.... its melts my head just trying to understand that way of thinking.

  • Comment number 66.

    55.At 09:50 24th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:
    Can someone tell me what Rooney does to earn his £200k?
    ________________________________________

    The Braga players are on between 1500 - 3000 quid a week. So in terms of value for money ....not a lot :)

  • Comment number 67.

    55.At 09:50 24th Oct 2012, parkthebuskickandrush wrote:
    •Comment number 11.
    At 09:00 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Ferguson has never been the best tactically. A daft opening formation yesterday, things only improved after the introduction of some width.
    Can someone tell me what Rooney does to earn his £200k?
    From the interview at the end with SAF, I thought that he looked a little tired. Maybe time to retire gracefully?
    ____________________

    I thought Rooney did quite well actually. He kept drifting in and covering the CMs when they were dragged out wide to cover the Braga full backs. He also provided a lot of width on the left and created space in the middle. He didn't score, but tactically he had a good game. RVP out of all of the 3 was the poorest IMO.

    As I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with the formation as long as you have the right tactics to go with it. Utd did not, hence the formation suffered.

    I wouldn't mind (right now) Fergie retiring upstairs at end of this season if that meant Phelan got the sack. I am sure this would be the case if we got someone like Mourinho or Pep.

  • Comment number 68.

    I see United making it to the next round however I hope Vidic will be fit by then to take his place in defence, I remember the 2010 season we went 11 games without conceding a goal and that was the catalyst to the 19th title, unless we sort out defensive frailties we will have to out-score opponents and currently that’s been giving me stomach aches. Well done in the fight back that’s the 8th poor start of 12 games we have played this season

  • Comment number 69.

    56.At 09:51 24th Oct 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    Hernandez (for that is his name) may have scored two goals but is it a case of one swallow not making a summer? Was his overall play good or was it a case of right place right time and better marking would have snuffed him out?
    _________________

    Hernandez should have had a hat trick (he had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside). He was at his best because his movement is excellent and we played to his strengths. He is a gary lineker style player. If we have a lot of the ball and fire it in the box, he will score.

  • Comment number 70.

    @49. At 09:47 24th Oct 2012, King Red
    Hello mate,
    Phil wrote the post match report about the Man utd game and now this. Two pieces in a row about the same game, same team, on top of all the Man Utd blogs that appear penned by him.
    I'm sure Utd fans love it on the BBC website as it's pretty much home from home. The point is that there are other teams in the Premier League and this flies in the face of the set goal the BBC's official policy for an even coverage. This seems to be being completely ignored by the BBC Chief Football writer. I am just wondering why this is.

  • Comment number 71.

    65.At 09:55 24th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    but united are rubbish.... its melts my head just trying to understand that way of thinking.
    ________________________________

    Some fans are just like to have a gripe , I am not a utd fan , but I think I gave a fair summary of the match on post #34

  • Comment number 72.

    58.At 09:52 24th Oct 2012, Russeljones wrote:
    Can't blame for ESG for his newfound method of managing his expectations. We all go through torturous moments as supporters and maybe the view of the pessimist spares one (if one is truly a pessimist rather than posing as one) the highs and lows the average supporter goes through. :)
    _________________________

    It's not that mate I just wonder sometimes whether I'm missing something or whether Fergie is too stubborn for his own good. It's frustration that you've managed to spot glaring errors that don't get spotted by the boss!!

  • Comment number 73.

    57.
    At 09:52 24th Oct 2012, derwaldmann - 22-01-2011 wrote:

    This is why I think it will be an absolute cracker on Sunday. Oscar, Hazard and Mata, on man u's defensive display last night, should get a cricket score against them. man u however, will get a few at the other end, judging by Chelsea's defensive display last night.

    Chelsea do however, have a better chance of shoring up their defence on Sunday, and if they do that it could be a long old afternoon for ferguson
    __________________________

    Well Terry won't be playing for a start!

  • Comment number 74.

    67

    "From the interview at the end with SAF, I thought that he looked a little tired. Maybe time to retire gracefully?"

    ESG, He can't retire. I genuinely think he will die in the job, what that will mean for man u's fortunes....who knows, but I think he has had the perfect opportunities to retire at least twice in recent years and has changed his mind.

    He now finds himself dealing with a rapidly evolving modern game, where teams like Champions Manchester City can outmuscle united on a regular basis. He is in a proper quandry at the moment. I don't think he is enjoying it anymore.

  • Comment number 75.

    #69 ESG

    So, next question then, how did Braga defend? Would a better defence have done better against balls fired in to the box?

  • Comment number 76.

    49. At 09:47 24th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    im sure if you ask phil nicely he'll do one.

  • Comment number 77.

    49. At 09:47 24th Oct 2012, King Red wrote:
    im sure if you ask phil nicely he'll do one.

    That's doubtful......
    :-D

  • Comment number 78.

    69.At 10:03 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    Hernandez should have had a hat trick (he had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside).
    _________________________________

    See post #61
    If you dont believe me go to youtube or whatever to take a look. The guy who played Hernandez in was 2 metres offside when he received the ball , so justice was done in the end..

  • Comment number 79.

    #70 Kíllìnghölmê_Clᥠ(aka Charlie Cheesecake)

    Phil generally writes a blog about the games he is at. He tends to be at the 'bigger' games. On Sunday, he was at the Sunderland v Newcastle game. He wrote a blog but that didn't generate much interest.

    Phil can't write about other teams this morning because he was neither at another game nor are their smaller teams to write about, it being Champions League.
    I'm gonna guess that this blog on a big game

  • Comment number 80.

    @2 & @6 & @11 - never even bothered reading the rest, what a load of claptrap!!

    They are ageing fast are they, is that some medical condition they have??

    Fergies problem with non-Europeans - can someone tell him that Mexico isn't in Europe then!!

    Wow, what a critique, what qualifications have you got that would convince poor Fergie, who has only been managing Utd for nearly 26 years, to listen to all your drivel?

  • Comment number 81.

    15: What do you mean by-"An agenda-driven player walk off the pitch during a PL game"???

  • Comment number 82.

    This article misses the point. Yes, our defence is bad because we are suffering from injuries and Ferdinand can't play without Vidic etc etc.

    What this article should have been focussing on is the abomination that is United's midfield; and even then it would be an article written 7 years too late. Us having to rely on our strikers/wingers to bail us out isn't something new, this has been going on since the end of the Keane/Scholes partnership (why do you think we are still clinging onto the remains on of it!?).

    Ronaldo together with a younger Giggs and Scholes carried us through for a few years after this. However, with Ronaldo leaving and the two stalwarts ever ageing, a 'soft centre' has emerged (I prefer to use the term 'gaping hole').

    The embarrassment that is our midfield is especially exposed when compared to those contained in other PL teams.

    Chelsea - Oscar, Lampard, Hazard
    Man City - Toure, Barry
    Arsenal - Santi Cazorla, Diaby
    Spurs - Dembele, Parker, Sandro

    Neither Carrick, Anderson, Fletcher nor Cleverley come close to any of these players (even the scousers have got a better player in Gerrard). Yes, Cleverley is one for the future but we need someone now!! Michael Carrick has been nothing more than average since arriving at OT and I honestly cannot understand why SAF insists on regular. Putting him in defence just makes him look even more ridiculous.

  • Comment number 83.

    11. Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost
    “Phil alludes to the dearth of attacking talent is reminiscent of the 99 treble winning side.”

    I thought “dearth” meant lack of / shortage.

    “Why nobody tells SAF any of this is beyond me. Shocking…”

    Have to shake my head at comments like these.

    Evans isn't good enough, Ferdinand and Evra are past it. Good to see Hernandez back, he's an amazing headerer of the ball (is that a word?)

  • Comment number 84.

    #82 Oneun11ted

    But, when all is said and done, they are largely getting away with it aren't they?

  • Comment number 85.

    #78
    No he wasn't, that was clearly shown on the replay I saw this morning. But never mind, we still won despite the bad decision.

    #57
    Does Chelsea taking their Captain out mean they're 'shoring up the defence'?

    #75
    Chico's movement did the defence for the first goal and RVP's run created the space for the second goal. The second goal was just an indefensible ball, like RVP's for Rooney's 1st on Saturday. If a cross is that good, it doesn't matter who the defence is.

  • Comment number 86.

    82

    Carrick is in the same boat as people like Parker and Barry. He is there to do a specific job and by doing this, divides opinion. Banter aside, I do like Carrick, just as I like Barry and Parker. Most teams, Barca aside, need a 'water-carrier' in the mould of Didier Deschamps. Anderson can't do it for man u as he's clinically obese, so it's down to Carrick

  • Comment number 87.

    75.At 10:06 24th Oct 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    So, next question then, how did Braga defend? Would a better defence have done better against balls fired in to the box?
    ____________________________

    The keeper was at fault for the first 2 goals.
    From the Hernandez header he made a right hash of it , couldnt decide whether to catch or punch it and ended up carrying the ball into his own net.
    For the scrappy second goal if he had stayed on his feet he would have saved it , but he decided to do some gymnastics and managed to dive in an arc over the ball completely missing it.

  • Comment number 88.

    85

    "#57
    Does Chelsea taking their Captain out mean they're 'shoring up the defence'?"

    They're not taking him out, he's banned, and judging by last night's performance, Cahill would have been the preferred CB anyway. Nice try

  • Comment number 89.

    Please excuse this interruption but..

    anyone suggesting celtic being beaten by Barcelona as " cruel " needs their heads
    examined.

    those of you in love with " stats " kindly note

    within 1 min 38 seconds of the start celtic were " time wasting " they could not even do that to any great effect either.

    What i saw was a travesty the only players from celtic i saw touch the ball, was some plodder called brown and another one called mc'groo, and this lot wants inclusion to the PL ? hurry up and give them independence otherwise I will have to send forth my Roman Legions , the same mistakes will not be made a second time !

    PS: In order to give you time to fully prepare your defences any planned invasion will not take place until the conclusion of the Midge Season.

    --------------------------------------

    Now then guys and girls back to the topic in hand, Arsenal, sorry I meant yoonited,
    I did not watch the game, all i can say is that Braga cost me valuable points and I am far from pleased.

  • Comment number 90.

    Cannot believe the negativity surrounding United !

    No we aren't perfect by a long shot but isn't it great to watch! Scoring and conceding goals for fun!

    4 Points behind Chelsea (which could be 1, 4 or 7 after Sunday)
    Chelsea away in Cap One Cup
    On verge of qualifying for next phase of Champs league after 3 games.

    This "soft" United midfield that has been carried for so many years has not finished outside the top 2 since Roy Keane was sent packing to Celtic in 2005!

    Oh United are conceding goals.

    Vidic Smalling Jones and Ferdinand are 4 of the first 5 choice central defenders.

    Take Kompany, Lescott, Toure and Nastasic from City or Terry, Cahill, Luiz from Chelsea and guess what! They may concede goals!

  • Comment number 91.

    75.At 10:06 24th Oct 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #69 ESG

    So, next question then, how did Braga defend? Would a better defence have done better against balls fired in to the box?
    _____________________

    The corner maybe. THe two goals that Hernandez scored he just got away from the defenders. Can't really see other defences doing the same. It's typical goals that hernandez has scored for utd.

  • Comment number 92.

    #82

    But do you like Barry Parker, the legendary York City commentator?

  • Comment number 93.

    91

    ESG, do you think ferguson will even bother trying to tighten up the defence for Suanday or will he just play Hernandez, Rooney and Van Persie up front and tell them to go for it?

  • Comment number 94.

    #88
    Yeah he's banned, but is one of the first names on the team-sheet when he's not so him not playing isn't 'shoring their defence up' is it? Cahill looks good alongside Terry, but has looked largely clueless alongside Luiz who always looks clueless.

  • Comment number 95.

    MrBlueBurns

    Q - So, next question then, how did Braga defend? Would a better defence have done better against balls fired in to the box?
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    #85 Weallfollowunited - Chico's movement did the defence for the first goal and RVP's run created the space for the second goal. The second goal was just an indefensible ball, like RVP's for Rooney's 1st on Saturday. If a cross is that good, it doesn't matter who the defence is.

    #87 repo - The keeper was at fault for the first 2 goals.
    From the Hernandez header he made a right hash of it , couldnt decide whether to catch or punch it and ended up carrying the ball into his own net.
    For the scrappy second goal if he had stayed on his feet he would have saved it , but he decided to do some gymnastics and managed to dive in an arc over the ball completely missing it.

    So, is the truth somewhere in the middle? :-D

  • Comment number 96.

    It is worrying the way we shipped goals against an average attack. The main problem is we don't have a set CB pairing due to injuries and Darren Fletcher is only just coming back to fitness.

    If Jones and Smalling come good to form that pairing, we may sure up in defence, but there is no way of knowing yet.

    Still have to question Fergie's signings over the summer

  • Comment number 97.

    74.At 10:05 24th Oct 2012, derwaldmann - 22-01-2011 wrote:
    67

    ESG, He can't retire. I genuinely think he will die in the job, what that will mean for man u's fortunes....who knows, but I think he has had the perfect opportunities to retire at least twice in recent years and has changed his mind.

    He now finds himself dealing with a rapidly evolving modern game, where teams like Champions Manchester City can outmuscle united on a regular basis. He is in a proper quandry at the moment. I don't think he is enjoying it anymore.
    _______________
    I think you're being a bit of WUM here. City have not shown anything that they "outmuscle" utd on a regular basis. May I remind you last season, it was played 4, won 2, lost 2. Hardly outmuscled. In fact, the only game where both teams had full strength sides out, Utd won 3-2!

    His problem is that he's normally had a good backroom staff to support him. Sadly Phelan is nowhere the level of predecessors last 3 being Quieroz, Smith, Maclaren. this is where the problem lies. Ferguson has never been tactically strong, and has been aided by a tactically minded assistant. We've been lacking over last couple of years because of this.

  • Comment number 98.

    •Comment number 67.
    At 10:00 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    RVP out of all of the 3 was the poorest IMO.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He wasn't the best yesterday but when you play a tap in merchant like RVP and don't give him any supply what's he supposed to do?

  • Comment number 99.

    92

    No, but I do like Garry Parker, legendary two-time League Cup winner with Nottingham Forest and victim of the worst ever tackle at Wembley NOT to recieve a red card...from Gazza. Also, recipient of the still un-equalled chant of "one nosey Parker, there's only one nosey Parker"

  • Comment number 100.

    78.At 10:07 24th Oct 2012, repo wrote:
    69.At 10:03 24th Oct 2012, Eduard_Streltsov_Ghost wrote:
    Hernandez should have had a hat trick (he had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside).
    _________________________________

    See post #61
    If you dont believe me go to youtube or whatever to take a look. The guy who played Hernandez in was 2 metres offside when he received the ball , so justice was done in the end..
    __________________

    There was another in the 2nd half where he went through on goal and stopped cos he was given offside (incorrectly!). :P

 

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