Paul Parker: Charm and swagger are now distant memories at Old Trafford
Paul Parker casts his eye over ongoings at Manchester United and does not like what he sees.
NO STYLE, POOR RESULTS – WHAT IS LEFT?
I would be absolutely shocked if Jose Mourinho was Manchester United manager next season, judging both on performances and results. United have consistently played drab football under Mourinho but their stylistic failings were camouflaged by their relative success.
However, now there has been a drop off in results, what is left? Nothing. And the thing is, Mourinho has changed nothing – the tactics are the same. The de facto defence of Mourinho was that he was a winner but United have always been about much more than results; style was also so important.
United didn’t need mad dogs against Arsenal, they needed guile. Arsenal had cunning and guile but United had nothing. Yet, when Mourinho looked to his bench to change the game, on came Marouane Fellaini. Manchester United’s best performances in recent weeks have come about when a player of guile, Juan Mata, plays and plays in his preferred position of number 10. Yet he rarely gets an opportunity to play, presumably because he is not a mad dog.
Marouane FellainiGetty Images
DROPPING LUKAKU AND POGBA A PREDICTABLE CALL
Mourinho dropped Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba for what was a huge game but it was all very predictable. If Mourinho was to drop a player on form then surely it should be Nemanja Matic but, truth be told, he is never going to be dragged off. He made a difference when he first came in but that just isn’t the case anymore. Why is he not being left out?
Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game with Paul Pogba during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.PA Sport
Leaving out Lukaku or Pogba was not headline news – it was sort of expected. Particularly considering that Pogba and Mourinho are reportedly not on good terms at all.
A BAFFLING DECISION
THE UNITED WAY AND WHAT COMES NEXT
United have been known for their style as much as their success – think George Best, Eric Cantona et al – but now commercial interests seem to supersede the essence of what the club is. People loved the charisma of the club, the manner and the swagger but that seems a distant memory now. Sir Alex Ferguson played a fearless brand of football but now the win-at-all costs mentality has bred a destructive brand of football. It is easy enough to be destructive but winning via creativity is where a manger really earns their wage.
Laurent BlancGetty Images
There seems to be some momentum behind the idea of Mauricio Pochettino becoming the next Manchester United manager but I would look to an individual who has won league titles and also managed a national team: Laurent Blanc. He is relatively young, hungry and had success. The argument against Blanc appears to be the fact that he has had some time out of the game – Pep Guardiola had time out of the game and he has done alright. Plus, at PSG, Blanc has experience of dealing with big stars.
On Twitter - @realpaulparker2