OPINION: United Need Better Players and More Tactical Flexibility to Truly Compete Next Season

I really don’t want to spend next season with a squeaky bum, but I think our time has come unless we can find a new Ferguson, never mind a Carrick replacement. Maybe two or three years before the end of Fergie’s tenure ended, the rot had already started?

I think that whoever we buy or however much we spend, if the manager is not up to the rigors of 21st century football, we will always be fighting for fourth or worse. Even Arsenal are now starting to invest in top talent (Sanchez, Ozil) as well as promising future stars (Coquelin etc.)

The reason for Chelsea winning the league was not just the tactical and motivational skills of the “Special One”, but that each player knew their position and their job. Nobody played out of their comfort zone – even Azpilicueta, who’s a right back, excelled at left back because Ivanovic couldn’t be replaced

We, on the other hand, have such a lack of quality replacements in our squad that we’ve had Valencia at right back all season, Jones covering at left back, Rooney – our top goalscorer – having to play deep midfield and Fellaini or Di Maria in attack. When Falcao came on for Rooney on Saturday, shouldn’t we have been rubbing our hands in excitement? Instead, we most likely slumped in our chairs with a sardonic “Here we go…” I know I did.

Van Gaal’s key tactic in the last three losses – pumping long balls to Fellaini up top and using Rooney deep – was antiquated and dealt with easily by the tall and aggressive defenders of Chelsea, Everton and West Brom.

The one decent spark at Crystal Palace was Young roasting Ward, and his constant balls into the box. How nice to see us play with our traditional width and eentually win the game – there’s a clue Louis!

It has been proven time and time again that buying the most expensive players does not necessarily bring you success. Chelsea’s transfer dealings last season were perfect. Mourinho knew who to sell and who to buy, and won the league with a net spend of £23 million. Out were Lukaku, Torres, Schurrle and Ba, in came Matic, Fabregas, Costa and Cuadrado.

A comment I read on a blog after Moyes was sacked which resonated with me was: “It proves that only Fergie knows how to polish a turd.”

[bctt tweet=”Only Fergie knows how to polish a turd.”]

Until we can have a strong squad, not necessarily an expensive one, as in United’s previous history, a training regime that does not damage the players and a manager who knows how to place those players to negate the tactics of his opposition, which Pardew did admirably yesterday, this is where we are and where we’ll stay.

So what might happen next season? Chelsea can really only get better, and City will also spend big to replace a possible clear out of an aging team. Arsenal will also look to strengthen their squad; if they can overcome their injury issues with Wilshire and Walcott, they will be in and around the top three. As for Liverpool, I’m not so sure – as with United, I feel Brendan Rogers, although progressive, hasn’t quite got it yet, and has the handicap of a signing committee who may not agree to the players he needs.

So what of United? Will Di Maria rejuvenate? Will Depay make the difference where we already have at least two players in the same position? Will we find a replacement for Carrick, and possibly De Gea (unless that’s why we signed Valdes)? And can we sign at least three defenders for right back and central?

Even if we do, can van Gaal’s stubbornness, arrogance and somewhat diaphanous tactics take us where we want to go? Let us know what you think in the comments below…