Kata Rocks
THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Are Manchester United finally on their way back to the top?

Are Manchester United finally on their way back to the top?

FOOTBALL: Manchester United have had a rocky ride under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but there are signs that they could finally be turning the corner after completing a memorable league double over Manchester City.

FootballPremier-League
By AFP

Saturday 14 March 2020, 02:30PM


UNITING MAN: Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford has revitalised the club with the team now unbeaten in 10 games. Photo: AFP

UNITING MAN: Bruno Fernandes’ arrival at Old Trafford has revitalised the club with the team now unbeaten in 10 games. Photo: AFP

The Norwegian appeared to be bringing the good times back to Old Trafford when he took over from Jose Mourinho last season but their stunning run of results proved a false dawn.

This season has also been a difficult one for United, who are a scarcely credible 37 points behind their historical rivals Liverpool in the Premier League.

There have been high points, including an opening-day thumping of Chelsea and a 2-1 away win at the Etihad but some desperate lows, with defeats against West Ham, Bournemouth, and Watford.

But there are genuine signs of recovery under Solskjaer, with United now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions and at last playing with purpose and style, illustrated by the 2-0 home victory against City last Sunday (Mar 8).

Bruno Fernandes, who arrived in January, has slotted in straight away, bringing swagger, leadership and desperately needed creativity to a ponderous and flat midfield.

Solskjaer said after Sunday’s win that the Portugal international had energised the whole club and had brought an “X-factor” to United.

Defensively the team has tightened up, conceding just two goals in their 10-match unbeaten run. Harry Maguire is proving a leader at the back and Aaron Wan-Bissaka shone against City.

United are now fifth in the Premier League, which could be good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season, depending on the outcome of City’s appeal against their ban from European football.

Fan bond

Solskjaer focused on the growing bond between his players and the fans after they completed a first derby double over City for 10 years at a pulsating Old Trafford.

The desire, attitude, commitment, the connection between fans and players,” said Solskjaer. “What a day they’ve had today.

It’s a derby. The fans love it, the players love it. You can say it’s only three points, but to beat a team like Manchester City with the problems we’ve had is fantastic.”

United have the chance to end the season on a high. They are just three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League and a reachable eight behind Leicester, in third.

They have a favourable draw against Austrian side LASK in the last 16 of the Europa League and travel to struggling Norwich in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

They are a long way from their domination under the leadership of Alex Ferguson and their season could yet disintegrate - but there are a number of reasons for optimism.

United finally appear to have got a grip on their transfer policy after some high-profile errors.

Fernandes has been the standout story but Maguire, Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James have impressed since their arrival in the summer.

Even much-maligned midfielder Fred is starting to prove his worth with a particularly impressive display in the derby game against City.

Even last-minute January signing Odion Ighalo, who arrived on loan from Shanghai Shenhua, has hit the ground running, scoring three times so far.

United’s in-house talent factory is also bearing fruit. Mason Greenwood has 11 goals this season and fellow teenager Brandon Williams has impressed in his multiple first-team outings.

Let’s not forget midfielder Scott McTominay is still only 23 and has been a hugely valued member of the squad, scoring an exquisite goal against City last weekend.

Their recent run has come in the absence, through injury, of top-scorer Marcus Rashford, who will add firepower on his return.

One measure of United’s recent success has been the lack of talk about the missing Paul Pogba, whose injuries have limited him to a bit-part role this season.

Either the French World Cup winner will come back into the side, giving Solskjaer extra midfield options, or he can be sold for big money, swelling the coffers.

Solskjaer, scarred by last year’s end-of-season collapse, is not getting carried away and was clear that the City win was just “one game”.

We feel we are improving all the time,” he said. “We know we lack one or two, three players, and some experience, to be considered a title contender.

But we are not going to start talking about that now. We are just going to start talking about going up the table, getting more points, to that top four.”

Manchester United visit Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League tomorrow (Mar 15), kick-off 11:30pm Phuket time (4:30pm GMT).

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
All six new Phuket confirmed COVID-19 cases worked or visited Bangla Rd, total cases hit 75

So, the 'Sleep with me hotel' with 200 rooms for persons under investigation is full since t...(Read More)


Nine million fit for B5,000 stimulus relief

Wow, who believes that Government was able in just 2 days time to decide that only 9 out of 21.7 mil...(Read More)


Compromise for crossing the bridges upheld as national police chief visits Phuket Check Point

People in and out Phuket, with or without a train of many cars. People from Phang Nga province who w...(Read More)


Patong residents urged to self-quarantine, door-to-door checks to begin

Papa Paul, i believe the sleep with me hotel rooms are for doctors and healthg workers in Patong. So...(Read More)


Compromise for crossing the bridges upheld as national police chief visits Phuket Check Point

So long as those crucial construction supplies are being let through then we can all rest easy. When...(Read More)


Compromise for crossing the bridges upheld as national police chief visits Phuket Check Point

Everyone screened for infection, they took their temperature, just means at that instant they had no...(Read More)


Compromise for crossing the bridges upheld as national police chief visits Phuket Check Point

"They had no time to prepare" they had 2 weeks of being told to stay in place is what they...(Read More)


Stranded Thai students prefer to stay in US than risk travel

Arrghhh! What is the point of any kind of "lock-down" if it doesn't apply to everyone ...(Read More)


Fears raised for elephant welfare as Phuket camps fold

I fear this will only be the first in a long line of such stories of businesses folding with tragic ...(Read More)


Nine million fit for B5,000 stimulus relief

And who exactly is not eligible? Who in this whole country is NOT adversely affected by this chaos? ...(Read More)