Archives For jesse Lingard


Three losses on the trot. The knives are out. Rooney is the fall guy. Mourinho’s not far behind, and United are back to playing Van Gaal’s sideways football. Not a good week. Yet it’s only September as Mata pointed out on his blog, and only City who have real daylight between United and the rest of the chasing pack. Maybe that’s why it’s so painful? City are wonderful to watch. De Bruyne the mastermind of their quick, mobile, swarming play. Guardiola style at it’s best. Liverpool aren’t far behind. Meanwhile United’s giants lumber.

The ruthless side of Mourinho will surely be seen in the coming weeks.  The midfield has to have more dynamism and penetration. Pogba has to turn up. By the time the October crunch away fixtures against Chelsea and Liverpool arrive Mourinho has to find width, speed and a midfield combination that both protects and threatens. The key could be Mkhitaryan.


Surely there is a mix of pace, craft and steel in Mkhitaryan, Mata, Pogba, Lingard, Fellaini, Schneiderlin, and Carrick. When everyone is fit there’s just too many good players available. But it’s Mkhitaryan who is potentially the most interesting. The Czech Republic’s captain Suchy’s foul on the Armenian during the first match of the international break has had a significant impact on United. Mkhitaryan brings exactly the qualities of pace and imagination United need, and we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

The same can be said for Pogba. Underwhelming is too generous a word. We’ve witnessed flashes of brute force, power, and an occasional mazy run. But he aint no Zidane yet.

And what about the rest of the team? The criticism of Rooney is merciless. Yes he’s having a terrible time. However people are quick to forget there would be no FA Cup win without the driving run setting up Mata’s equaliser. The same determination created the winner at Hull. Yes he’s getting caught on the ball far too often. Yes the passes are less than pin point. And yes it maybe time to put him on the bench. But he’s not the reason United are misfiring. There’s no balance in the team.

Mourinho has the players. Perhaps some aren’t fit, but now is when a manager earns his corn. Unfortunately, for me anyway, Mourinho’s darker characteristics are showing. Blaming Luke Shaw publicly for the second goal at Watford isn’t exactly brilliant man management. Especially when Shaw is said to have had a reoccurrence of a long standing groin injury. Mourinho’s reputation for handling young or sensitive players is awful. Not exactly a nurterer our Jose.

Yet this is exactly a period when players need someone to lift them, and to make the best decisions for the team. If anyone needs to step up it’s the manager. Let’s see what the line up is against Leicester on Saturday.



louis-van-gaal-manchester-united-fc-v-pfc-cska-moskva-uefa-champions-league-03112015_17exe4tpuyji313tgpjzl8ku13Not the greatest of displays agreed. So where do we start? Roy Keane’s attack on Wayne Rooney? Paul Merson’s view that United are a Subbuteo team? The Daily Mail’s Snoozeometer Ratings? The mystery player who says he can be 50% better if only Van Gaal would release him from his shackles? (my bet is it’s DePay). Rene Meulensteen echoing the “free the players” mantra. The Manchester Evening News criticizing the fans? Or Rio Ferdinand talking about the missing “animal” players?

Wow. It’s a good job United are second in the league and still have a chance of winning their Champions League qualifying group.

Enough already. Can everyone please shut up?

Rooney can’t carry the team on his own.

The team is set up the way it is because that’s currently the way they can succeed. Anyone remember Boring Arsenal or Don Revie’s first great Leeds team? Or countless Italian, German and yes Spanish teams with a defend first approach?

This is my mantra: Players determine tactics.

Now I’ll get critical. Meulensteen said earlier this week that Jesse Lingard is Andres Iniesta in waiting. You mean the Lingard that’s missed three sitters in the past two games? If Rooney gets those chances they are buried. If Lingard scores the two last night all the stories of woe would have have been spiked. Instead the headlines would have been about United’s latest youth academy product delivering his full potential or some such other guff and United winning the group with a game to play.


The glass is just about half full on Lingard, but he’s nervous and he gives the ball away too many times as well as missing sitters. I’d never start a game without Mata but that’s me. What do I know?

There is no God given right that United are going to blow teams away. Over the years too many Tuesday and Wednesday night Champions League and European Cup fixtures prove that.

Finally the Guardian projected which team will be top of the league on January 1st 2016. Guess which team it is? Correct their home is Old Trafford.

This is a time for patience grasshoppers. An away win at Leicester solves the current angst







Not a lot to complain about if you’ve accepted Van Gaal’s philosophy and the limitations of the squad. As expected Pulis parked the blue and white striped bus and hoped to sneak a goal on the break like last season’s victory. But here’s where it gets interesting. In amongst the yells for “attack, attack, attack”, in among the dire stats of shots on goal, United are effectively parking their own bus. It’s now nine hours since a goal was conceded and any coach will happily tell you good teams start with defence. If not quite a fortress Old Trafford is a much harder place to visit again. United’s defensive organization, Smalling’s enormous improvement, and the screening midfield players mean United are no pushovers at home or away. (Let’s leave the Arsenal result as a blip). Louis-van-Gaal-Manchester-United-Queens-Park-Rangers

Earlier this week after the Champions League win over CSKA Van Gaal again reflected on some of the recent criticism.

“I still think we have improved, but we have to wait and see when this process is complete, if we are champions, because that is our aim.

“It could have been last year or maybe, in my opinion, it can be also this year. But we have to score more goals, I agree with that, but only one more than the opponent. That’s what I am thinking.”

He can be a funny guy Louis, even when he’s talking about the process.

Overall I thought the team played well yesterday. They looked a bit sluggish in the first half, but any team does when confronted with opposition who set up to frustrate and deny. Gradually United’s patience paid off,

Earlier this season I wondered if the club hesitated on the deal for Pedro because Van Gall saw something in Jesse Lingard, and yesterday his goal was obviously the match highlight. The composure to take a touch before the pass/curl finish was very impressive.

Happy Jesse

Will he become a fixture is another question. In my book his touch, tenacity, courage and willingness to work put him streets ahead of Memphis/Depay. A run in the side would bring more confidence, but can he take the next step to becoming a player who can help win the game’s biggest prizes? That remains to be seen. #mufc #mufcfamily

anthony-martial-man-utd_3366844Well it wasn’t quite many happy returns as United were in Moscow for the first time since the Champions League win against Chelsea 7 years ago.

MOSCOW - MAY 21:  Manchester United celebrate following their team's 6-5 victory in the penalty shootout during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

MOSCOW – MAY 21: Manchester United celebrate following their team’s 6-5 victory in the penalty shootout during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Chelsea at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, 2008 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

This time the penalty spot luck shifted to the opposition and afterwards 19 year old Anthony Martial got the straight forward, Dutch, tell it like it is treatment from Van Gaal. This precis is courtesy of the club’s website and culled from TV and print interviews.

Van Gaal’s summary of the game: “It was a stupid reaction of Anthony [Martial, to give CSKA a penalty], but before that maybe it was offside. From the bench I thought it was, but I don’t know. It’s the first time he’s done it and there always has to be a first time! [Laughs] But for us it was very unlucky because I think we controlled the game. I don’t think we played too fast though in ball possession, it was too slow in the first half. We improved that in the second half and scored a fantastic goal. We could have won but ‘could have’ doesn’t count in football.”

On what he said at half-time: “I just gave my advice to the players about how we could win the game because that’s more important than just being angry. A reaction like Martial – yes, it was stupid, but it happens and we are all human beings. Angry is not the right word, maybe disappointed because we were playing too slowly in ball possession. We had a lot but you have to create something from that and we didn’t create much. That’s why I changed the shape and players and I think the second half was a better half and we deserved to draw and maybe also to win.”

On what pleased him in the second half: “We played at a higher tempo. We switched the ball from side to side more and that’s also why we got the goal and created more chances and didn’t give too much away.”

On forgiving Martial after he netted the equaliser: “Yes of course! [Smiles] He was playing again with a lot of threat to the opponent and he always plays at a certain level, he’s very consistent. For a 19-year-old boy I like that.”

On it being an important comeback ahead of derby: “Yes I think that. I can’t complain about the spirit of my team. I am very proud of my players that I can always say that, because last year I said once that it was not good, once. I am always honest, and I say that always to my players in the dressing room. And I can say that to you now because I am honest to you too.”

The positives were the second half performance, when both Rooney and Lingard missed good opportunities before Martial’s excellent header. The resilience to come back into the game. Schneiderlin’s workrate, Martial’s 5th goal in 9 games, and the oh so valuable point that keeps the Champions League momentum going.

Presumably the team were on an immediate flight home and we’ll know by Thursday afternoon whether there are injury concerns for Sunday when the line-up will be interesting. Darmian will be fresh, but Rojo had a relapse and all the CSKA danger came down the right hand side. City’s strength is out wide with Sterling and De Bruyne so as ever Van Gaal will have his tactical thinking cap on. Presumably Schweinsteiger will start with Schneiderlin and Herrera. So the question marks are Rojo/Blind and Lingard/Mata. The more I see of Lingard the more I understand why Van Gaal may have decided spending a bundle on Pedro wasn’t worth it. He’s quick, tenacious, obviously not the finished product yet but shows a lot of promise. His mobility just may get him the nod on Sunday.