|Originally posted by wad borkrate |
The kind of sloppiness, complacency and poor tactics that has them currently leading the league? and has seen them in the past five years win it FOUR times and reach the Champions League final on THREE occasions, on a transfer budget only the eight highest in England and positively dwarfed by the likes of Real, Barcelona, Man City & Chelsea
No. I would have thought was obvious. Man United's performance in Europe has been disastrously poor this season compared to their past record, especially in possibly the weakest Champion's League group of the season, so it's clear something is different. Ferguson himself is stumped by it and Patrice Evra thinks United have been overly complacent, which is a very different thing from not caring. United have not prepared well enough for European matches this season, not mentally or tactically.
Comparisons to past success in Europe are largely irrelevant, given the finals of 2008 and 2009 were achieved using a totally different 4-3-3 system heavily influenced by erstwhile assistant coach Carlos Queiroz and based around the talents of two players (Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez) who aren't at the club anymore. United have had quite a lot of squad upheaval in the summer, with retirements, sales of utility players, the recruitment of new, younger players with little or no European experience and a string of key injuries throughout the season. Despite heavy outlay on new players, there is still a rather glaring hole in central midfield, which has left Ferguson resorting to playing Rooney in midfield and then bringing Scholes out of retirement.
Ferguson is a better tactician than he used to be, but his teams have not been playing tightly enough in Europe this season. They have taken to playing far too openly to try and outgun the opposition, a regression to the gung-ho tactics of the '90s which has resulted in scores like 2-3, 1-2 and 3-3 at home. Notably, they are not the only side to do this. It appears to be league-wide trend which has accounted for the abysmal European performances of all the Premiership teams this season. Here's some further analysis: http://www.zonalmarking.net/2012/02...-english-clubs/
By the way, I support a club (Middlesbrough) who reached the UEFA Cup final a few years back, and to all our supporters it was the most prestigious moment in the club's history - more important than reaching the finals of the League or FA Cup, which we had done in the last decade. The Europa League doesn't recieve a high level of TV coverage relative to other competitions because it only involves between one and three English clubs, which are often not particularly well supported (Fulham, Bolton and Middlesbrough being great examples), so there is not as much TV revenue involved. Ferguson pledged to play his strongest squad in the Europa League and did so, as did Manchester City. I watched City go out of the competition to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday at the Etihad Stadium, and the thousands of fans around me were gutted that they'd been eliminated, after Roberto Mancini had played his strongest available squad. Frankly, as someone who apparently lives in Ohio, I don't think you're in any position to tell English fans of English clubs how we treat our competitions.
To summarise, writing off United's European woes as simply not caring because they'd rather beat City to the league is simple blind fanboy logic. United crashed out of the most elite club competition in world football, unable to beat a Swiss team home or away, and they were utterly outplayed in both leagues against a side 7th in the Spanish league. The manager has called it a "bad season", the players label it a "disaster" and every Man United fan I have spoken to has been totally embarassed by their showing. But you keep on telling yourself they went out because they didn't really care.
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