Why Manchester United Are Back, But Unnoticed
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The Red Devils are really showing some glimpses of their former selves in recent times and despite being in and out of the EPL powerhouse lately, they are gathering momentum covertly. This analysis was not prompted by their display few hours ago, but that whoever has been keenly following their matches ever since the arrival of Solskjiaer would not think or believe less.
There have been some indices to think they have been secretly building a league winning team without anyone really noticing it. Although they have had matches in which they performed below expectations, what has been consistent with them is that their objective and philosophy are being expressed on the field of play recently. Whether in the league or Europe, their presence is being really felt such that playing them is gradually becoming a tough encounter.
Signs of Rejuvenation
1. Right Recruitment: For a long time since the retirement of SAF, almost the coaches hired and fired have been oblivious of the club's philosophy. They seemed to know little or nothing about the club and tried unsuccessfully to enforce their own philosophy, which were sometimes antithetical to that of the club. It affected both the club and those coaches as they were soon shown the way out of the club. However, Ole seems to have gotten the recruitments right and he's taking the club the direction it should go. With one more transfer window, ManU will be back fully.
2. Reserve and Recruitment Blending: Most of the coaches hired had relied on fat cheques to purchase players who weren't brought up in the ideas of the club. The academy graduates were relegated to the bench and considered fringe players, until Ole arrived. He has since put the destiny of the club in the hands of the homegrown talents and this is paying dividends right now. He has benefited from the crop of homegrown talents at his disposal and he's appreciating their worth unlike the previous managers.
3. Results are being ground out: What ManU were known for in the past was their ability to grind out results at all legal cost. They have gone to win or draw matches right at the death. Nowadays, even matches that were deemed to be almost impossible to get a result have ended in their favours. For instance, they have gone to beat Chelsea home and away, drawn Liverpool and beaten Manchester City and Tottenham. This is a typical Red Devils that know how to blend good and pragmatic football for result purposes.
4. Building a youthful team: Most of the guys are really very young, hungry and rearing to go. What these guys need now is a man who believes in their abilities and can harness them on the field of play. They are now feared from all quarters in the league. The way they brushed aside the teams they played in Europa League is mouthwatering and swashbuckling. They are the best team in Europa League this season and one would really be surprised if they don't go ahead to win it.
5. Sprinting Attackers: One of the many features of the club is to build a solid attack on fast paced attackers, especially fast wingers. They have got these quality in Rashford, Martial, Bruno, Greenwood, James, Lingard etc. They can turn defence into attack in a split of a second and may be very difficult to catch or play against. They look very much like the 2008 team, which has sprinting attackers in Cr7, Rooney, Tevez, Evra etc. Pep Guardiola once remarked that he warned his side of the threat that ManU attackers posed on the counter, but that his boys were still beaten. This is a testament to the arrival sprinting flanks.
6. Beating the top teams: This has often been the quality of a league winner in waiting for sometime now. They always tried to beat the big teams in the preceding season and perfected it in the following season. If they can sniff out results from the big six next season the way they have done this season, they are sure to win the league. Be it Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester City and recently Liverpool, they have always laid the groundwork for the following season by beating the top dogs in the previous season. ManU boys have done it this season, and barring a surprise problem, they are set to win the league next season.
To this end, the league is congratulated for having United return to the summit next season as the king in waiting. They have been building a winning team without others noticing it. Pep prognosticated this week that ManU will try to win the league next season and if you ask Mourinho too, he will have the same opinion. They are a team to watch come next season.