1. What a ride this has been, particularly since the resumption of the Premier League six weeks ago. United have drawn three and won six from nine games during this period, which extrapolated over a whole season would see us around the 90-point mark and in contention to be crowned Champions. Yes, the figures don’t lie and the surge by the team in these last nine matches has been impressive. One might argue that we ran out of steam in the last two weeks and lost along the way the scintillating football played in the first six matches post-COVID. True but I have always been one who sees the glass half full. Even when not playing well, United have still managed to take something from matches and that is a characteristic of great teams. Has this United team reached greatness? Not by any stretch of the imagination. We are still work in progress but the important thing is that we are moving forward and the result is there for everyone to see. Champions League qualification via a third place finish is a fantastic achievement for United in a season where half the team was modified and we are now starting to look like a United team. Credit goes to the players but the biggest shout is for our Manager, who has stood tall in difficult times and never lost sight of the objective. Hats off for Ole. Let’s take a moment to celebrate!!
2. Pogba is a brilliant footballer. There is no doubt about that. My believe is however that he is not being used properly by Ole, or rather our opponents have learnt to play against him. I can see what the Manager is trying to achieve by playing Pogba alongside Matic in front of the defence. The role should give more protection to the defence and make sure that Pogba is constantly on the ball facing forward. It is not working though. First of all, Pogba is one of the worst midfielders in the team at protecting the back four. He commits a lot of fouls because he is clumsy in the challenge and defending is certainly not his forte. Second, opposing managers are devising a ‘cage’ around Pogba, to exert pressure on him when he receives the ball in front of the defence and they are nullifying his potential influence on the game. I have noticed this in the last few matches and against Southampton, we suffered a goal as a result of Pogba losing the ball in our half. The remedy is for me to push Pogba forward, closer to Fernandes in a 4-1-4-1 formation. I would love to see Pogba further up the pitch than his present position.
3. Third remark for today is that we are not shooting enough at goal from outside the box. More often than not, our play leads us to go to the flanks or try the through ball from the middle. Players like Rashford, Pogba, Greenwood, Matic and Fernandes have a good shot in them but I rarely see them trying from outside the penalty area. I am sure the Manager is instructing them to play like this but it should change for the Europa League campaign.
Looking forward to receiving your thoughts on the Facebook page. I will be with you again for the Europa League matches. Until then, I will share with you an article with my views on how to improve this team for next season.
Article contributed by Contributor Roderick. Comments are appreciated on our Facebook page.
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