At varying times over the last year, many words have been said about the likes of Young, Fellaini, Mata & Rooney and the way they’d been used in an often faltering United team, they’d done little to make me feel like wearing a shirt with their name on the back, or a t-shirt with Crowded house printed on the front, it was confusing, these were talented, in some cases, genuinely world class players, so how was it going so badly at a time where we needed them more than ever?
Under Moyes it was forgivable, we know now in hindsight that it was a man with the desire to do well in the job, but he attempted to rebuild a faltering squad by adding nothing to it and getting them to play a brand of football entirely alien to anything they’d ever known, it wasn’t the way to do things, performances, results & thankfully his dismissal went on to prove that.
We greeted our new man with hopes that he’d be wise enough to get us back into the traditional United style, something that offered speed, threat, pressure and results that had us hoping that we weren’t a Liverpool in waiting who’d spend 30 years plus in the abyss after a successful manager left and the squad lost its edge as the core of it aged into retirement, and for large parts of this season we were left feeling that Woolworths would return to the high street before the good times did to Old Trafford, we had odd glimpses of how good it could be, Newcastle, Leicester & Liverpool at home were all games to life the spirits, bit the fact that our good games this season required the use of only 2 commas spoke volumes for the state we were in.
After the Arsenal defeat I had mixed feelings, the performance was much better, the man in charge had learned that it was time for a revolution in his approach rather than waiting for the players to evolve into it, and that showed, prior to his sending off Di Maria was flying down the wing putting in quality crosses, those crosses were being met a more active and mobile front line than we’d had when RVP was leading that faltering forward line, the midfield was strong in possession and being much quicker in moving the ball around, and aside from a useless winger being converted into an even weaker right back, even the defence was starting to look sharper, not as sharp as some of the vintage pairings I’ve had the joy to see in my time as a red, but certainly better than anything I’d seen since the end of Sir Alex’s last campaign in charge.
As I left the house prior to the Spurs game to travel down to work, I locked the door to Brook towers with hope of victory, but little confidence that we’d achieve it, this is a Spurs side bang in form with attacking options in the kind of form that would take full advantage of any defensive slip we made just as Arsenal did before them, but that performance was prove that the penny had dropped in the dugout and on the pitch, the questionable players of last season were suddenly individually and collectively delivering something special, and the new arrivals from the summer were also blending beautifully into the mix, we’d waited 30+ games to see it, but we were seeing a United side who had it all, a steel in defence, a machine in midfield that could protect it’s back line, and also outplay the opposition in front of it & attacking options that had finally learned the value of being clinical with chances created (Newcastle away could’ve been 3 or 4 nil easily if we’d finished as clinically there as we did on this occasion), so that was surely a performance that would see the media end their endless quest to paint the blackest picture they could of life under Louis…?
No, if anything they became more determined, pundits in the printed press, BBC, Sky & BT all lined up to take great joy in explaining how the superior tactical approach of Brenda and his superior playing staff would roll us over on their way to a successful move into the Champions league places, what great joy that United side took in proving each and every one of them wrong, from the first whistle to the last they played with greater passion, pressure & panache, the hosts couldn’t cope with us, in possession they couldn’t deal with the pressure applied, out of it they simply couldn’t catch us, they were like cats chasing the light on the wall from a laser pen, and let’s be honest, there can be few greater joys in this world than reducing Liverpool to that on their own ground, that we did so with such a wonderful mix of summer signings being used to their potential, existing players adapting to new roles under LVG and Sir Alex era players thriving again in their traditional positions again adds great value to the hope this’s a sustainable style rather than a flash in the pan performance level.
After 27 games and 89 minutes my hope of hearing the champions league music played at Old Trafford next season were shrinking like available funds on Direct Debit day, but after Young’s late winner at Newcastle, and the performances rightly raved about above, I’m reluctant to say I’m certain we’ll be back where we belong next season (I’m from Yorkshire, optimism is something that we believe is for Southerners) but I’m no longer scared that we we’ll be missing out again, and that’s kind of the same thing!