It’s virtually over, bar the last embers of a glorious season, but for Ole Gunner Solskjaer and assistanf Mike Phelan, the hard work is just about to begin. Manchester United are certainly in the doldrums and the collapse at the end of the season is not something fans are used to, even worse was the 2-0 capitulation to Cardiff and showed exactly why the Welsh side can claim that their relegation was unjust.
? this group of players…
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) May 12, 2019
It’s clear that after all the bells and whistles marking Solskjaer’s appointment, its business as usual for a group of lazy, unworthy and overpaid players, that barely change gears.
That’s an internal matter, one which may have to be resolved by clearing out those who are stealing a living from the English footballing giant.
Much worse was the sight of fans on social media berating players after their defeat against Cardiff and in particular, Paul Pogba, who proves to be essential and inept in equal measure.
As I’ve said before, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and United’s Paul Pogba share the same disease of ‘continental complacency’ with both appearing to be guilty of performing to their own standards, as and when they choose without seemingly giving a shit !
United fans have seen enough and stayed behind at Old Trafford after their match against Cardiff to vocally destroy Pogba in embarrassing scenes, which are completely unique to its normally placid and loyal fan base.
Pogba to his credit remained calm and gave a low key, yet dignified response after the home defeat against Cardiff. Sadly, there are those that are claiming it was racist abuse but from what I heard, it was more a series of scathing comments on the players football ability.
No Manchester United team in my living memory, has given itself so cheaply and failed to exercise an advantage at a crucial time.
The team that plays for 99 minutes per game, that turns defeats into last minute victories has gone. Without appearing too Shakespearean, those professing to uphold the club’s honour, have literally cut its heart out and betrayed it for extraordinary amounts of money.
The gravy train has hit the buffers and now we’ll see just how many are pushed off the ship and how many elect to jump.
All of this has naturally left a sour taste in the mouths of fans, failure is one thing, but an absence of pride is less forgivable.
The top four dream is no longer, long before their defeat against Cardiff and there’s no champions league next term, which is surely a blessing at present because this team will not be able to compete and having seen Liverpool and Spurs work miracles in the competition, they are a long way away from that level. And looking at their loss against Cardiff, it’s for their good.
United fans will have to lower the bar because next season, will be a reconstructed and untested side that may even finish sixth again.
If you needed an indicator that Manchester United will be unable to compete with the likes Real Madrid and Barcelona for the foreseeable future, it came with the announcement that United’s players will lose 25% of their wages.
United find themselves on unfamiliar ground, they have unquestionably lost the ability to compete through a series of transfer blunders, they now face up to three seasons from challenging at any level, on any stage.
Ole Gunner Solskjaer has no choice but to clear out and rebuild his team and at the same time reduce the outgoings. The fact is that United have been haemorraging money in the hope of finding success, but it has now dawned on the Glazers and chief operations buffoon, Ed Woodward, that as a business model, it’s unsustainable.
The worry for United is how they will be perceived by their transfer targets in the summer. It’s not the unpredictable weather that will deter players from traipsing off to soggy Manchester, it’s the uncertainty of the club’s involvement at the highest level.
The recent instability at Old Trafford and subsequent changes, may also be factors that won’t exactly make United an attractive proposition for potential signings.
United are worth $4.1b (£3.1b), their operating income reported in Forbes in the 2016-17 season was £354 million which was generated from commercial revenue and is the best of all the English teams.
In 2018, Manchester United were deemed the richest club in the world, placing them above Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but that group will be contesting the champions league next season which may well change things substantially.
Solskjaer has suddenly realised that the ease of his initial beginnings in the post have fallen by the wayside and what he saw in some players from his early days in charge, was nothing more than a mirage, something he wanted to see which wasn’t there.
“Since Sir Alex Ferguson left they’ve spent £744m and what they’ve done is try to buy the Harlem Globetrotters, not necessarily players to make a team.”
“Look at what Manchester City and Liverpool have done in that time, they’ve bought the right players without any egos. It’s alright saying sell Paul Pogba, but there’s so much more that’s wrong with that club.”
Former player Gary Neville also joined in by saying:
“Huddersfield Town who have struggled all season. You watch them, they haven’t got the quality, but I like watching them a lot more than the ones in the red shirts, to be honest.”
“At least you can identify with them. There’s nothing I like about this United team at all. It’s just awful. Look at them. They’re the most despondent group of people.”
“As a manager, you want to like your team. I look at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I can’t imagine he’s down there thinking he likes watching this lot – I don’t.”
In the coming months, United will fill the sports pages and hit the headlines with transfer speculation, but it’s on the pitch where they need to be seen to feature most.