Reply to the Prof and 'the perfect tactical display'
Tuesday's match was, until the goal, the 'perfect tactical display' given the players we have (or rather lack). Though we created loads of chances, playing on the counterattack at home is however is an admittance of the fact that we don't have players of the quality of Madrid in certain important positions, namely midfield (where Madrid themselves are hardly the best in Europe), and this has to be addressed. Top level teams need elite players. Carrick is certainly not good enough for such an important pace making position, and Cleverley has a long way to go. I don't care that I'm repeating the same mantra. Playing on the counterattack is not 'dominating the game' whatever MU(Pravda)TV tells you. Until we markedly improve the quality of our midfielders, we will have to continue playing off the back foot against top teams. Most on here are happy with that. I'm not. Over the next 12 months, Fergie has to make some big calls. He needs to start placing more trust in Smalling and Jones in defence (injuries permitting) so that we can play a higher defensive line with their superior pace. Either that or sign a new defender he trusts with pace. In retrospect, the failure to sign Varane (failed clearance aside) who we were very very close to signing was a major blow. He is already Madrid's best defender and looks like he is on his way to becoming one of the best in the world - pace, grace, clean tackling and good passing. The same could be said for Vertonghen who was 'clearly not good enough' according to some on here during the summer. He then needs to revamp midfield - if PSG come in with a big offer for Rooney - 25-40 million - we should sell him and use that money to remould the midfield. A solution will also have to be found at left back. Evra is still a defensive liability.
In short, in the summer we need at least one new starting midfielder (2 if Anderson who perenially crocked or not trusted is sold), a left back, and a left footed wide player. I would keep Nani - it's hard to buy talent of his level anywhere. I would be perfectly fine with letting either Valencia or Young go.
One the plus side, Welbeck was excellent, though he needs to hugely improve the consistency of his finishing. His approach play and versatility are huge positives. The defence were excellent, but as I said, I would like to see Smalling and Jones/Evans at the back in the long term, and it will have to happen sooner than later. Rafael was once again as brave as a lion - we will have to work hard to keep him and it won't be a surprise if Madrid and Barca come calling in the next 6-18 months. I hope his brother comes back and is developed as a right back too. Fabio is just as versatile as Lahm and just needs to gain the same confidence as his brother and then he will soar.