First, the good news: Juventus started on a high note. A run of 11 wins from 12 games has taken Eric’s ten Hag men to fourth in the Premier League table, set up a Carabao Cup semi-final meeting with Nottingham Forest, and see Reading reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Said run included successful opposition, but in this series of victories, the team played a more cohesive “specimen” fan “preferred”. There is a greater impetus for attack than a sense of solidity for defense. The victory over Fulham came from a last-minute winner from academy graduate Alejandro Garnacho through a moment of genius wing play. They are on their longest run since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer began his interim tenure in January 2019, and are the only English club to still finish in four competitions.
Ten Hag looks to be a sure bet and has formed a fit football team out of what seemed to be ugly and scrappy. Marcus Rashford is one of the country’s leading strikers and critics have written about Lisandro Martinez’s height to admire his defensive skills.
In almost every conversation with the players’ section, they talk about the better training and collective spirit brought by their manager, and Ten Hag himself talks about the highest standards and rules that need to be maintained in order to make sustainable progress. Many outside spectators contended for the top four positions before the season began. However, in early January, analytics website FiveThirtyEcto gave United a 59 percent chance of qualifying for the Champions League – the third-highest probability behind Arsenal and Manchester City.
That is the good news. The situation on the surface and the environment at Manchester United is positive for the time being.
Now for the not-so-good, bubbling under the surface.
The financial start-up begins with a precarious club, where a series of debts must be paid before future projects can match the ambitions of Ten Hag. The manager wants a new striker for his squad, but he owes over 300million ($365m) in transfer fees to other clubs and Glazer’s ownership appears to be refusing to give the green light to another big-paid acquisition of the type of player he would like. . The proposed renewal of the old Trafford is considered to be delayed, since the November 2012 statement of the ownership of United is “to consider all strategic options, including new investment in the club, sale, or other things that are of interest to the company”.
There is a gap between the needs and the needs of the Ten Hag, which means that the waves the Americans are now riding are in danger of collapse. By the manager’s own admission, Anthony Martial cannot currently cope with the physical burden of playing three 90-minute games in one week – at a time when his club have 12 games to play (including the Manchester derby) between now and the end. Kalends of March Despite Martial’s (relatively) lack of goals and minutes this season, he remains almost irreplaceable in the United States, with a style of play that is difficult to replicate without exiting the transfer market. Wout Weghorst joins on a short-term loan but the side still lacks the kind of 20-goal season figure their rivals hold.
Midfielder Eriksen and Christian Casemiro will be a big upgrade on the “McFred” (Scott McTominay and Fred) partnerships of the past, but both men will be subjected to heavier systems against Arsenal, Manchester and Barcelona in the city. coming weeks.
Teamwork remains a work in progress, slowly adapting to the type of game. Their manager has a number of spins on the field at times, and it has been questioned whether his side are ready to run so quickly after the trip.
This brings us to a thought-provoking question: is it worth it to have one release of competition aimed at reducing energy to something else?
The last time United “tanked” came in the 2016-17 season, when Jose Mourinho prioritized victory in the Europa League (and later added the Champions League) over chasing a top four spot in the league. The team went on a five-game winless run in the Premier League from the end of April to the last match of the season, but reached the final of the Europa League, finally defeated Ajax and won the latest silverware.
There were nervous times, as the last important chance for John Guidetti who saw Celta Vigo win the semi-final delicately, but the history of Mourinho’s gamble seems to be more successful than the 2019-20 season, when Britain finished third. league and suffered defeat in three semi-final cups. Tanking can work for Manchester United, just prioritize the trophy you want to win; A sixth-placed Premier League position in 2016-17 makes the record obsolete.
Ten Hag himself gave little indication that he was the manager of the way to give up the cup competition to focus on the league. The 52-year-old gave the roll call “we want to win every game” when asked about his Europa League group goals, and spent a lot of time praising the form of each competition in the FA and League Cup. Conciliation tends to lead to more profit, and this promise of a run of ten Hag forms could earn goodwill and buy-in from players and fans.
He’s trying to do everything now, building a squad better equipped to win more in the future. A Europa League game against Barcelona means progress in the continental tournament is more difficult than games against Reading and Nottingham Forest, but if United are to win silverware in future seasons then they will need to get into the habit of winning. the fiercest opposition.
Champions League will definitely be the goal of this group of players and other glory, but it can only be achieved against “beatable” teams. There is merit in prioritizing your goals to reduce potential risks and maximize yield, but risk limits the amount of rewards that can win the line.
(Top photo: Feria Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)