A lack of pride and fight is a worrying sign ahead of the challenging fight for a top four finish

Recently when watching Manchester United play football, you cannot help but notice the lack of pride and fight at the club right now. It is like some of the players have already packed their bags and are currently lying on a beach soaking up the summer sun.

It has been ten matches, in all competitions, since United kept a clean sheet and of the ten matches which have been played since that 0-0 draw against Liverpool, United has lost five of them and in most of those performances, against Barcelona (twice), Wolverhampton Wanderers (twice) and against Arsenal, United has lacked desire, urgency and a sense of pride.

This is a very worrying sign for United ahead of the final six matches of the season, starting away to Everton on Sunday afternoon. United will be expected to win a large proportion of these matches with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stating weeks ago that he wanted his players to get 15 points from the remaining fixtures. Since then United has lost to Wolves and beaten West Ham United.

Keeping that 15 point target in mind, United would need to earn 12 points from their next five matches, which is achievable, even if you take in the fact that over the next week or so, United will face Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea, the latter two matches played at Old Trafford. If United came away with six points or more from those three matches, it will be seen as a massive positive.

United should be motivated to take on Everton on Sunday and even more motivated to face City and Chelsea after that. There are no opportunities to win a trophy this season but there is pride to play for, also the chance to play yourself into the manager’s plans for the new season as speculation suggests that Solskjaer may be planning a clear out this summer, which has needed to happen for some time.

Years ago, after United had lost a big game, or even what would be considered a small game, the next opponent of the club would be worried as a reaction would happen, more often than not. These days, it does not feel like that is something that will happen anymore which is where the lack of pride, determination, and fight comes in.

Players, at least these days, just want to lick their wounds, stay away from social media and bumble through to the next match in the hope of the change a victory could come. These players do not seem to understand that their destiny is in their own hands and that they can do something about the hurt they may or may not be feeling.

I have been a United supporter for a fair few decades now and have the experience to deflect defeats and understand that they are all part and parcel of the game. Some supporters take to abusing the players on social media, which seems to make them feel better, which is helping to cause more problems than it is solving. There is no patience in sections of the fan base and a lack of ability to take a defeat on the chin.

That is an issue for society rather than the players and the club to worry about. It will sort itself out sooner or later, depending on how far the dregs fall to the bottom and react in the most childish ways possible. What we need to start seeing from these players is the fighting spirit that Manchester United has in their DNA, the determination to win and more importantly, the players showing their pride to get the result they need.

If we start to see those things between now and the end of the season, the club will be heading in the right direction, even if some of the players will be leaving the club this summer. It is the club we all care about and they are the representatives at this moment in time.

United will need to take a challenge to Goodison Park on Sunday, aiming to cause a fuss, be the side handing out the defeat this time and walking away with three points and a chance to end the season on a high. Then, the same will need to happen at the Theatre of Dreams on Wednesday evening against City, followed by the same again a week on Sunday when Chelsea visit Old Trafford.

That will be April done with and two more matches left this season. From there, I am sure the players and the manager will have a better understanding of the problem facing United and what is needed to end the season in the top four with the players putting in the performances not only to save the club but some of their careers.

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copyright: JW

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