He might just have to poison them all. All the supporters who have spent a better part of over two decades feasting their eyes on riveting football, compelling drama unwinding on the pitch, the compensation for the money they remit to watch and support their most beloved team. The red devils had, like most teams, taken the form of the man at the helm, Sir Alex Ferguson. They breathed fire at the wings with fleet footed magicians in recruit. A league of distinguished gentlemen, like the hairy chested Welsh genius Giggs, the sure-footed eye candy Beckham, and Ronaldo his Portuguese upgrade. United made their luck, they made things interesting by playing the numbers, bodies crashing into the box to make something happen out of nothing. Collective breadths held unabated till the very final whistle because no one knew what these devils would conjure even at death. Will they score? They always do. It’s even beyond winning things, it the base requirement, the very fundamental need of this particular clan of these hedonistic devil followers, a desire to be entertained.
United boss waves to unsettled Red Devils fans after win against CSKA in Champions League.
So if Louis Van Gaal, the great trainer-coach, wants the Manchester United fans to swallow their boo’s and stand stoically by, while he serves his dry dish of short shuttle passing, watching the neon ball whirring from side to side and backwards (then repeat) till we all grey-out, then he might have to concoct a ridiculously sinister plan to eliminate the section of fans that give the current displeasure of the football coming out of Old Trafford some ponderance. Less that, there is no way on god’s green earth to make the fans un-see what they did during the swash buckling, blood and thunder era of United. I think Manchester United have the most sophisticated fans anywhere period, I believe they understand nuances. They would have seen Ferguson himself adopt a more pragmatic approach to re-tool United to cope with emerging European challengers, and to modernize the red devils so that they remain relevant in the super competitive upper echelons of football clubs.
Youngster Lingard was breath of fresh air willing to take risks. Fantastic assist for Rooney goal.
So nobody realistically expects the same level of reckless abandon, of guts and glory football. In fact there is something very refreshing about United’s defensive posture. The quality of the team’s collective defensive acumen is quite surprising, beautifully surprising. Most fans can see and appreciate the artistry on display, witnessing what it takes to maintain the current defensive level. Chris Smalling in particular, has been a delight to watch. Every time he steps on the pitch, he takes out his brush and paints a remarkable piece, with intelligence, pace and clarity. His tackles, whether desperate or well intended are magnificently surgical. You’d be hard pressed to see him rack up cautions, even though he is usually heavily involved in the scrap back there, just so clean and surgical. It is pure art. What is scary is that he is still improving, still has things to add to his top locker.
Chris "Mike" Smalling has been resolute at the back for the Red Devils.
The defensive laurels aside, there is a gaping disconnect between the amount of possession United controls and what they actually do with the ball when it is under their governance. Van Gaal must understand that the unrest in the stands is not motivated by his base need to keep the ball from the opposition rather it is the stark lack of creativity when United has the ball that rends the heart to pieces. Manchester United has the second highest possession rate in the league, but is rock bottom at chance creation. That imbalance is what makes this United side so hard to watch, and the football so hard to love. The red devils are limited to very scant attempts on opponent’s goal due to the way they have been instructed to play. They are the reigning back-pass kings in the league as well, all this makes getting goals quite the chore. Van Gaal will say, he just needs players to take the chances presented in the most important phases, and that will assure victory, only one more goal than the other team truly ensures victory and that is all he needs.
Rooney breaks his goal drought and ends United's barren goal run of three games.
He is technically right, as he normally is. But here is the thing, when those one or two chances that naturally present themselves come by, and are not converted where does that leave us? Why not plan or position to create more chances to quicken the odds, to strengthen the sure hand, and entertain the fans whose money greases the wheels? Just as matter for correction, they are not booing the players as LVG implied during his recent interview. Not even close, they are booing the football they are being served. Asking them not to boo, is like asking someone to smell vomit and pretend it has an aroma of a rose garden.
The fans reaction is natural, its instinctive, and most of all it is warranted – so change something.