Manchester United Message Board
1) DDG was excellent. Many of the saves he made were routine, but his handling was excellent, and the Di Maria save was world class. He has been treated atrociously by the xenophobic English press, especially when the overrated clown Hart gets away with poor performance after poor performance, yet is still called the 'best in the world'. He's not even the best in Manchester. You wonder if these fucking morons know anything about football. They patently don't. I sincerely DDG isn't hounded out of England - if he doesn't start getting the respect he deserves, I wouldn't be surprised to see him as either Valdez's or Casillas's successor. His mental strength has been fantastic in the face of moronic criticism.
2) Welbeck was very good too. Pace, and good on the ball - he was, with DDG, our best player. I think that left sided position is ideal for him - he has good passing ability, and is good in passing exchanges, while his pace stretched Madrid on a number of occasions. Showed excellent temperament in the way he just kept on plugging away. Now he just needs to learn to make well timed inside runs to start scoring more goals in open play.
3) Our defence in general was very good. Ferdinand was excellent. Rafael settled into the game after a shaky first half. Evra is still a weak link defensively.
4) Our midfield was nowhere. Of course, the idiots at Sky picked on Kagawa being a 'weak' player - a Japanese player being of course an easy target over the so-called 'underrated' Carrick! Carrick is overrated beyond belief, cannot pass when pressed, remains static having passed, and is *always* found out against good teams which play good football. He is not good enough for a team with aspirations of being the best in the world, which is surely what United should be aiming to be. Before anyone says that he was good defensively: *it's a lot easier to destroy than it is to create!* Carrick did the former passably, but was nigh on useless in the latter. For the 6th summer in a row, I'm praying that Fergie pulls his finger out and buys some quality in central midfield. Someone who can pass short and long, has good feet and is skilful when pressed to keep on passing accurately, is mobile and robust. In truth, we need 2 central midfielders. Jones played manfully, and well given that he is a 21 year old with little experience and no firm position. But he is not, and never will be good enough technically to play in midfield for a team which intends to be the best, especially one which only plays 2 out and out central midfielders - Kagawa is not a central midfielder. He needs to be developed into the top centre half that he can definitely become.
Why pick on Kagawa when he kept on having to drop deep and getting the ball in shit areas due to Carrick's inability to pass and move. Ridiculous. Yes, he wasn't great, but at Dortmund, he received the ball higher up the pitch, on the half turn and was supported by technically superior midfield players.
4) Given the run of play, we were lucky to get out of there with a score of 1-1, but RVP should have buried at least one of the chances he had in the 2nd half to give us the win. We have to go into the 2nd leg playing more proactively. In the summer, Fergie himself has to finally be proactive in dealing with what has been a glaring weakness since Keane and Scholes were at their peak. There is no point having world class attacking talent if you do not have a midfield to supply it and dominate the game.
I'm not querying the wide selections as such, although Rooney is completely ineffective out wide in an offensive sense as he can no longer beat a man. But a 'Park' job would have bee most suited to Cleverley. I probably would have left Rooney out of the team, played Welbeck right, Kagawa left, RVP up top, with Cleverley playing the defensive role in an offensive central position.
"Ha, well this is funny: 'Stefan the Fuhrer'?! German/French/Russian/Polish name"
But not English, eh?
My little Kraut know-it-all!
"... yes, I do know more about football and most things than you ever will sitting in your basement all day in the Aussie outback,"
Basements? In the outback?
The only comment I would make is that Fergie tends to pick who he thinks are his best players for these sorts of games. He rates Welbeck and Rooney as better than Cleverley or Anderson so he would rather play them in a more containing role than play 3 nominally midfield players. I think Kagawa was played for a specific task to get about Alonso and where possible break beyond RVP. He didn't, he failed. That was the big -ve of the team. Much better when he brought on Giggs and put Welbeck into that role until he got cramp, then United stopped Madrid playing and started creating more opportunities themselves. You're right just better not playing him at all.
Jim, it is those 5% (I would say 10% as he is often found out against good EPL sides, and when I say good, I'm not talking top 4) of matches which are the difference between us winning European titles and not. That's why it's so important.
Your Pepe comparison re. Jones is very good - but I made the point that Jones definitely doesn't 'work' in a 2 man central midfield. He could do a job in a midfield containing 3 players - ie. if he Cleverley/Anderson had been playing instead of Kagawa yesterday in a deeper position. I just don't think he works in what is nominally a 4-2-3-1. 4-3-3 yes, though far from ideal.
I agree that Fergie is a revelation re. mental strength. There is no substitute for talent though, and in some cases there is not enough, and in others, it is not being utilised correctly. I do not agree with you on Kagawa, and also believe that if we were not going to improve the midfield behind him, then he was a pointless buy. He is not a Kaka - someone who had the power and strength to go along with his creative qualities and was able to create something ridiculous out of nothing. He needs players behind him on a similar wavelength, who are similarly mobile. It's no coincidence that his best performances come when he has a shuttling sort of midfielder behind him who sets quick attacks into motion and moves having passed - Cleverley, Gundogan, Bender etc. If that isn't the case, simply don't play him.
I do think that Evans is susceptible in pace terms so we'll agree to disagree.
I still think midfield needs a similar shot in the arm as when Hargreaves and Anderson were bought and performed so well in the double winning season.
I agree about Rafael. I have to say however, and I will probably get pilloried for it, he has not yet reached the standard his brother did at the end of the 2010-2011 season, and it's for that reason that I think it will be massive shame if Fabio falls by the wayside. I think he is better right back than left back, and I think he has/did have(?) the potential to be better than Rafael.
A perfect example of that mental strength was Rafael. Many players who played as badly as he did in the 1st half wouldn`t have recovered from the experience. It says a lot about him that he was able to dig deep and sort himself out. It also says a lot about how much SAF musr rate him that he didn`t substitute him at halftime even though he was on a yellow card and one more badly judged foul could have seen him sent off.
Stefan, I do think United need to strengthen midfield, have done for ages. But I don't think our players are as bad as you say. I have said Carrick gets caught out in 5% of matches and Jones is clearly limited in some aspects in that position, but compensates in others ( it was like Mourinho playing Pepe there against Barca). And yes it would be nice if Cleverley and/or Anderson could be trusted to do the job in Madrid-type matches ( unfortunately they both can't).
But it does get tiresome repeating the same mantra, especially after such a gutsy performance. And as I have said many times, a winning football team is about more than a group of talented players, its about a mental will to win and our manager gives them that in spades.
I didn't say Evans was the best defender in the world, I said there were no better central defenders. That means I rate him amongst the best. I can't think of one who is better, although there are a few at the same sort of level. And he does not lack pace and just 25 is still pretty young for a top central defender, next to keepers they usually mature slowly.
Kagawa is playing for United, not his last club. If he is as good as he might be, he should be able to adjust to playing with different players in a different system. United are certainly not going to change for him. He was given the job to do on Alonso that Ji Sung did so well on Pirlo. He failed miserably. After a reshuffle Welbeck got put there to do it, and did it well.
But more than anything I want United to stay United. Playing 4/5 players 22 or under. 6 from the UK , kids from the youths etc. God help us if the Glazers got rid of the debt and they went out and 'did a PSG/City/Chelsea' and bought expensive 'names' from around the world by the dozen. Yes lets get a really good youngish central midfielder, but just one!
Ha, well this is funny: 'Stefan the Fuhrer'?! German/French/Russian/Polish name - ergo, 'I'll insult him by calling him 'the Fuhrer' '. You are a neanderthal.
As for being a 'know-it-all': yes, I do know more about football and most things than you ever will sitting in your basement all day in the Aussie outback, so it's probably not a good idea to challenge me, as you'll get burned. Moreover, I'd rather be a 'know-it-all' than a scumbag racist who hates Asians and who cowardly hides behind multiple IDs. It's funny how your 'mates' have criticised others for being racist, yet have turned a blind eye on the many occasions you have been just as bad. Convenient that. 'Butch' is your 'regular' alias - I take it you're a morbidly obese fuckwit.
Jim - 5 years ago, after the semi in the Nou Camp, I distinctly remember you, like me, bemoaning the state of our midfield, which was occupied by Carrick who did his usual rendition of panicking when marked, and Scholes, who was overrun, despite the fact that we left with a 0-0 draw. At the time, you said it would be 'very nice to have our very own Fabregas'. If anything, yesterday's performance, from a midfield perspective, was worse. Jones is a defender and as long as he and Carrick are played in midfield, we can never claim to be a great team playing great football. A resilient one yes. Before you start, this is nothing about tiki-taka football or possession stats, it's about being constructive when on the ball, and having the courage and ability to pass and move it accurately when pressed. Jones - not his fault - and Carrick, who has never been good enough in the top matches, will never be able to do that. Banega is not a suitable candidate because he is mental and doesn't speak English, but 80% of the time he plays against Barca or Real, when he does have the ball, he has the courage to pass and move with it. Forget tactics, Carrick, and to his credit and to a lesser extent, Jones, would not be able to do that. 3 months ago, you said the state of affairs was 'depressing' and that we would need a £40 million investment in midfield, at least. I agreed, and still do. There is no 'sniping' - merely constructive criticism. If we're aspiring to be the 'best' and play the most 'attractive' football, then we have to play better than yesterday.
As for Kagawa, what he did in Germany, and in particular, who he was surrounded by, is highly relevant. He may or may not end up being a success, but playing the likes of Carrick and Jones in midfield alongside him is hardly helping him to flourish. He isn't physically strong, so he needs passing options in close proximity to pop the ball off with regularity - the best we have atm are Cleverley and Anderson, both of whom would have been better choices for the sort of gameplan we had yesterday.
Evans is 25 and hardly a youngster. He was very good yesterday but as you'll no doubt disagree, I think Ferdinand was more important in marshalling the defence. You now think Evans is the best defender in the world. Fine. I don't. He has proven that he can defend well deep. If we want to play more progressively, and that means with a higher line, he has yet to prove himself against really good opponents doing just that. Smalling and Jones are better suited to such a task due to their pace. 'Evans reads the play, he doesn't need physical speed' will be your answer - well let's see him doing it against good opponents outside of the box. That's when I'll be convinced. Jones in particular could be superb from the back, not in midfield, if he's given a chance to learn the position. Utter rubbish for some to label him as 'wasted' at the back.
Well done Devon, you well and truly showed what a charade masquerading as an expert Stefan the Fuhrer is.
Jones brought far more to the game than know-it-all Stefan saw with his blinkered glasses.
After the 'job' he did on Fellaini, Bale and Ronaldo, he's going to be a great asset, wasted as a pure defender.
Sure he has some learning to do, he's not 21 for another week, but you can see the improvement game by game.
I'm no fan of Carrick, but he also had a better game than the Fuhrer gives him credit for, including far more, and longer, forward passes.
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