The Real Problem at Manchester United

There is no doubt that Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world and the most successful one in England. It’s also a fact that the club has experienced tremendous challenges in the past two or so seasons after Sir Alex Ferguson retired. The team’s poor performance during the reign of David Moyes was not only shocking but also despicable given that it had retained most of the players who had clinched the title the previous season.

The sacking of former coach, David Moyes, and appointment of Louis van Gaal revitalized the hopes and dreams of everyone at the club who had become discontented with Moyes’ style of football and its subsequent results. Louis van Gaal was considered a master tactician given his success with the Netherlands team in the 2014 World Cup tournament where he finished third and had registered a comprehensive, convincing win against Spain, the then defending champions. V

an Gaal received praise during the team’s pre-season tournaments where Man Utd beat teams like Real Madrid in front of a record crowd in Michigan Stadium. He was touted as a manager with tactical and technical experience needed in the English Premier League.

However, Van Gaal’s first match in the Barclays Premier League started on a low note losing 2-1 to Swansea City in the 2014/15 season. While he guided the team to finish in the top four and qualify for the coveted UEFA Champions League in that season, this season’s performances have proven dismal and frustrating at times.

In light of recent performances, Man Utd has had a topsy turvy season characterized by growing discontentment among and criticisms from many of the club’s fans, some of whom have asked for dismissal of the coach.

This begs the question, “What really happened to Man United?” Louis van Gaal has received a share of the blame and criticism as well as some players like Wayne Rooney, the club’s captain.

Despite being fifth in the table and just nine points off the top, Man Utd has real problems. In the words of Paul Scholes, a club legend, Man United are “boring.”  They’ve averaged more possession in most games but they are the least attacking side in the league.

The players seem to be going through the motions and are not digging in enough. Possession football accounts for nothing if it doesn’t produce results. Man United are simply playing negative football despite spending £250 million on new players since Van Gaal was appointed. They sometimes seem to be moving the ball too slowly. Actually, the team has not scored a goal before half-time in its last 10 home games. That’s despicable! Van Gaal’s philosophy is not working, his style of football is unattractive, and his performances are “OK.” That’s not good enough for a team like Man United.

It time for a change; a change in the manager or a change of manager, whichever comes first!


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