As both Manchester Clubs are preparing for this Friday’s Europa League draw, nothing can take away the humiliation both Manchester clubs had to endure last night.
Failure is accepted in football, and as much as football is an unpredictable game, you cannot defend yesterday’s scenes. In City’s defence they were put in the group of death, but with Manchester City’s spending power you would expect better. However for the Red Devils there can be no excuses. The inability to qualify in a group that could have not been kinder to Ferguson’s men would certainly leave a sour taste amongst anyone associated to the club.
It is all to do for United now as yesterday’s result leaves Fergie’s men under immense pressure to savour something from this season. Losing at Old Trafford 6-1 was where the damage was done. Once referred to as ‘noisy neighbours’, City’s win over United has helped contribute to United’s downfall. It was a shocking defeat that will forever be remembered in history and have barely been able to move past it.
They might have kept a few clean sheets here and there, but 1-0 doesn’t send out alarm bells. Since then they find themselves five points behind rivals City, out of the Carling Cup after a humiliating defeat to lower league opposition and now out of this year’s Champions League. If anything, United have not made any real progress this year, but instead look like a team that seems to be going backwards.
Manchester United are a squad in transition and Roy Keane couldn’t have best summed it up. The former United captain said: “People have talked about the young players – you’ve had Jones, Smalling, Young coming in, everybody building them up, but they’ve got a lot to do, it’s a reality check for some.
I’d be getting hold of some of those lads, saying:
‘You’d better buck up your ideas.’ I think their best player tonight was Ryan Giggs. That sums it up – he’s 37 or 38, you can’t be depending on him.”
What he said was spot on and only delusional fans will disagree.There is a sense that Old Trafford has lost its aura of invincibility, hence why you see so many teams having a real go at them this season.
The obsession in this country to hype these so called youngsters is pitiable. England are so desperate to follow the likes of Spain and Germany in a hope to find young players so that they can have something to cheer about for the future. I heard one United fan saying that their bad run was due to Cleverley being out injured.
I mean seriously, who are you kidding? You can talk about Wellbeck, Cleverley, Jones, Smalling, Pogba and whoever else you want to throw in there, but the underlying factor is they will not win you anything in the modern game. The more they are mentioned, the more they start to believe in their own hype.
The reason why United have suffered this season is that they have lost key experienced players this past summer in Van Der Sar, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes and replaced them with players who are not in the same category as them. In addition, the recurring injuries to Nemanja Vidic have not helped their cause and United have never looked stable without their star defender.
Despite starting the season brightly, United fans have had nothing to cheer about recently. Ferguson suffered his heaviest defeat during his 54-years in management, and has since witnessed his team to be lacking in rhythm, purpose, creativity and willpower.
Ferguson will not be rushed into signing a creative midfielder in January, a decision that could backfire heavily. There is no creativity down the middle of the park and as City seem to be getting stronger, United seem to be deteriorating. You look at the two squads and there is no comparison between the two.
Then you would have to compare the top two in La Liga and the Premiership top two, and it just highlights the gulf in class. You can just imagine the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona laughing at the very sight of both Manchester clubs. Are United in decline or are they just a team that appears to be lacking in self belief?
What is recognisable for all to see is that their status isn’t as powerful as what it once was and cannot be relied upon to beat teams. United’s downfall, may be a tad dramatic yet it is somewhat realistic. What does the future hold for Fergie’s boys?