Bournemouth 2 Man United 1, December 12th: Worst performance in a long, long time

December 12, 2015

A friend texted me immediately after the game to demand: “Defend Van Gaal now?” I can’t. The performance was terrible. Bournemouth, bless their hearts, wanted it more. Yes there is a terrible injury list. Yes Van Gaal had to play young players. But where was any organization and spirit? I’ve argued all year that Van Gaal was doing a difficult job well. I ignored the noises from the dressing room, and the anguish from fans and media, but today was an eye opener. 

Why play a teenage left back who has no pace and expose him at this level? Isn’t that cruel?

How do you leave an established international who can play left back on the bench?

Why do you replace your goal scorer with a young player lacking match fitness who has yet to display any kind of form? 

Why do you bring Jones on with 4 minutes to play and everything to play for?

The decisions were curious but much more telling was the attitude of the team. For weeks people have been telling me Van Gaal has lost the dressing room. On this showing the evidence indicates he has. 

The great, great danger now is not qualifying for Europe cos without that carrot none of the big players will move to Old Trafford. 

It was always going to be difficult to revive United. This match more than any since Fergie departed underlined the size of the task. On a day when City showed how to win ugly the red half of Manchester is staring at an uglier truth. United are in danger of slipping back into the lost decades of the 70’s and 80’s, and no amount of marketing and “biggest club in the world” propaganda can disguise it.

Yes it will obviously get better when the injuries are healed. The larger question is when will the spirit return?