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The Blame Game: Most blame Mourinho, few blame the players but they are all culpable in a way…

Manchester United’s season is nearly over. The Carabao Cup was won by Manchester City, as was the Premier League, United were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Sevilla and the only chance of a trophy is going all the way in the Emirates FA Cup with Tottenham Hotspur standing in the clubs way. The season has not been the best in the history of the club by some distance but when you factor in the past five seasons post-Sir Alex Ferguson, this is actually one of the best in that period.

United have improved this season, whether you choose to accept it or not. Last season they finished sixth with 69 points, winning 18 matches, drawing 15 and losing five times. United scored a total of 54 goals, conceding 29. This season, after 33 matches, United have done better by two points (with five matches remaining), winning four more matches, drawing five matches and losing six. United have scored 63 goals, conceding 26. Whilst many will moan about this improvement, you still can’t say things are not better.

United started the season in fine form, scoring ten goals without reply in the first three games of the season, topping the league at the time. Things soon started to unravel, as they do, but picked back up again, at times anyway. When United won, supporters were celebrating, when things were not going as well, there was discontent. Some factions of supporters on social media started to call for the manager to be sacked, even the ones who were the main advocates of Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal in December 2015 had turned.

I mean, just over two years ago, some supporters were stating Mourinho was the best thing since sliced bread, talking about how he will turn the club around immediately, win trophies and bring the United of old back. any, conveniently so, forgot about Mourinho’s tactics, his defensive formations, presuming he would adapt to ‘the United way’. That has not happened and probably never will. Whilst United excited at the start of the season, the excitement has not been present for some time now. Mourinho still gets the blame and many defend the players.

Criticism is a factor of life, it does not make you any less of a supporter…

Some supporters are of the opinion that if you criticise, you are not a fan of the club, an anti-Manchester United supporter if that is a thing. Few seem to realise that criticism is a factor of life and if you do criticise, it is because you feel things are not going as well as they should. It is perfectly fine to criticise without being branded as one of those fans who ‘calls for the manager to be sacked’. Mourinho is not void of any criticism just because he has won what he has during his career, the players are not void of criticism either, just because of who they are.

It is perfectly fine to have an opinion of your own without being forced to adopt someone else’s, that is a problem on social media too. Most don’t accept an individual opinion because it does not match theirs. What a pathetic world we live in. If everyone thought the same, we would be in a communist state somewhere like North Korea where everyone, somewhat forcibly, does the same thing, thinks the same thing and does not oppose through fear. That is not how we should be. We all have individual thoughts, ways we see things. There is nothing wrong with this.

Some people take an optimistic route, others take a pessimistic route. There is no right or wrong answer, everyone does not have to be the same, or think the same. Debating is fine, healthy even, it is through this that people find common ground, see that both sides could be right in places. Whilst Manchester United have improved this season, there are aspects which are not right. Whether you agree or not, some of those things lie at the door of the manager, others at the feet of the players, the hierarchy of the club are culpable too.

Jose Mourinho has tried many things, some too conservatively to appease the masses…

This season, Mourinho has tried many things. From formations to players, game plans, team talks and more. Not everything has worked and even in an ideal world, things will fail at times. Most supporters look at what Manchester City have done, their style of play, the formations, the system, the way they have blown teams out of the water. They then compare that to what they see at United and it does not match up. Comparing something not working to something that is will always create a massive void. Whilst that is logical, it is also illogical as it gives you a negative.

Us United supporters love the club. That is why we support the club. We want the club to do well. We want the club to win major honours. Last season, the objective for United was to get back int the UEFA Champions League. It was not through ideal means but the club completed the jigsaw by winning all major honours available, thus earning Champions League football. This season, whilst Europe’s elite competition is again a must, it is likely in the bag with United 11 points clear of fifth place, baring a run of defeats, it is likely the Champions League will be in the bag.

Many started the season by saying Mourinho has won the league during his second season at every club he has managed, some took that literally and banked on it happening. It hasn’t happened and that has caused upset, which has led to discontent. Most people seem to live by the past. Suggest just because something has happened before, it will happen again. There are only a few things certain in life, two of those are death and taxes. Everything else just happens, not because it was meant to, just because it does.

United have a team capable of taking on the best but it has not worked as well as it perhaps would on paper. Mourinho has tried different formations, his tactics have changed sometimes, the players playing have been swapped and changed, new players have come it, some have gone but the same-old, same-old still seems to be present. Now many may suggest this is because of Mourinho, but similar things happened under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal – it can’t be them now so it must be something else, right?

There are players at the club who have played under Ferguson, Moyes (Giggs), Van Gaal and Mourinho. It cannot possibly be a factor, could it? What about the hierarchy of the club, could they have played a part in the problems the club are facing? What about the owners of the club, the Glazers? These things have not changed when the manager and some players have, they have remained the same. Could there be something limiting United from moving forward which is unseen from the stadium, the matches, something behind the scenes? I don’t know, it’s a suggestion.

There are players who are not pulling their weight, not doing United proud – they don’t have to be forced to play for the club – there are other clubs…

I am not blaming a single entity. I think the problem is widespread. The players are the ones who are training all week, to specific plans – not putting those plans into action on the pitch. Looking dejected, laxidasical, unable to perform. Some of those players have been dropped, despite aggression on social media from factions of supporters. Manchester United is bigger than any player, they say, but they ensure that player is boosted by the faction, showing them as the ‘best thing since sliced bread’, as bigger than the entire club. That is part of the problem.

Back in the 1950’s, right the way through to the 1980’s, footballers were much different. The game has changed a lot in that time, that could be a factor too. Now players are athletes, not just a guy who worked five days a week and played football at the weekend. There is a lot of pressure. The eyes of the world are on them, wanting, demanding they perform, do their best in the club’s colours, score goals, win trophies, celebrate in style. At Manchester United, despite the club winning the FA Cup (2016), EFL Cup (2017) and the UEFA Europa League (2017), that is not happening.

Players are being dropped, criticised, left wanting to leave the club if you believe the reports in the media, which nine times out of ten are speculation from some click bait source in another country. There were rumours of the manager losing the dressing room, a player being bullied because he was not doing his job, more player unrest, speculation that an Academy graduate did not want to remain at the club if Mourinho remained in the summer, then another player being linked with a move after more than a month of false speculation.

The media are a danger at times. They write about United because everyone wants to read about them. Not just the supporters of the club but also the ones who hate the club. They like the negative aspects, and there seem to be many of them. Negativity sells, negativity about United is a no-brainer. The trouble is that people believe the media, they assume everything is a fact. Some question the journalist and get some ‘smart arse’ response from a reptilian seeking praise from the masses.

Ahead of the Manchester derby last weekend, Pep Guardiola, out of the blue, told the world he was offered Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan by their agent, Mino Raiola. This apparently happened in January. The Catalan manager had time to ‘tell the world’ about it but chose the eve of the derby. Pogba tweeted a picture with the slogan “say what”, which seemed to debunk the speculation, albeit slightly. After the first half, the timing of the comment seemed to put City in the driving seat, winning the derby and in turn the Premier League.

Pogba rose to the challenge and scored a brace in 90 seconds, levelling the score with Chris Smalling scoring what turned into the winner. City had lost the derby and saw their celebrations curtailed, for a week. For weeks, months even, Pogba was one of the players not performing, subject to scathing criticism from fans and pundits. He just seemed to be a player that had the air about him that he did not want to be at the club anymore. Previously, there were suggestions of a bust-up between him and Mourinho, something both have suggested is not true.

Patience is a virtue many just do not have…

It would seem that with many wanting to sack Mourinho, bring in another manager and continue to repeat the cycle every time they see something they do not like, which based on this season, seems to be every time United lose or draw, it shows, somewhat ironically, a lack of patience. Bringing in a new manager will set the club back once again, the players would need to learn another way of doing things, new tactics, a new playing style and things will probably not be as rosy as you think.

With each managerial sacking, especially in a short period, we are five years post-Ferguson, it is going to, at some point, lessen the quality of the managers the club could attract. If a manager looks back at everything post-Ferguson, the one thing they will see is that a manager will have lasted two seasons, fans will have moaned for much of those periods, showing that despite the club giving managers a chance to resolve the problems, the supporters are less willing of giving those chances.

Mourinho has not done a bad job. Come on, many of you will have been the ones calling for him to be brought in back in December 2015. Now you have seen enough and you want to bring in Carlo Ancelotti, Maurizio Sarri, or another manager who you have watched for a month on YouTube that you feel will do a much better job before they come in, let you down and you call for their head too. What has a football supporter become?

What you need to do is lower your expectations, based on the problems which need to be overcome, get behind your team and show what the word ‘support’ actually means. There are players who need to be shown the door. Mourinho needs to get rid of the players Louis van Gaal brought into the club, the ones who are not playing week in and week out and seem to have no future at the Theatre of Dreams. He said at the start this could take three years, it took Ferguson six years to steer the club in the right direction.

If something is worth having, it is worth waiting for. If you want everything right now, you are just going to be even more disappointed.

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