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Hold the criticism of Mourinho and Ibrahimovic, they need time!

Manchester United announced Jose Mourinho as their new manager back in May 2016 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic being named as the Portuguese managers second signing of the summer, which also saw Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba sign for the Old Trafford club. The winning mentality of both Mourinho and Ibrahimovic was lauded at the time, which continued into the start of the season where United beat Leicester City to lift the FA Community Shield at Wembley, then beat Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City to keep their 100% start to the season. In September, United lost to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford in a three-match losing streak, which was their first blip under their new manager. Criticism was rife and many ‘supposed’ United fans were talking about the new manager and his Swedish striker being failures, which was transferred to the media too.

United then turned their form around from a three-match losing streak, into a three-match winning run, which turned into a six-match unbeaten streak, which ended with a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea. United have now played four matches since that devastating defeat to Chelsea, winning twice, drawing once and losing once. With Arsenal on the horizon, which follows with a must win UEFA Europa League clash at Old Trafford against Feyenoord, United need to start performing, which has seen criticism being slung at Mourinho, Ibrahimovic and many other players, sometime unnecessarily. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a winner, has been for every club he has played for. United will be a challenge for him, as it will be for Mourinho, but to criticise both now just shows what kind of muppets this club attracts, that does not include the media muppets who criticise to keep their respective rags popular as United are hated, adored and never ignored. Andrei Kanchelskis, speaking exclusively to 888sport, speaking about the criticism both Mourinho and Ibrahimovic have been subjected to, said:

“He needs more time as he has only been in charge for a handful of games. We need to wait until the end of the season. It has been three years since they last won a title and everything would change if he won a title there. I don’t think it will be this season though the next couple of months will be so important for him and the team. There are so many games around Christmas and then the FA Cup starts up again and if they begin to win regularly that will bring so much confidence.

“On the whole it’s difficult to judge United’s season so far. We need more time to judge Manchester United, the players and Mourinho. We need to wait until the end of the season to see if there is a change or no change. Right now there has been only 12 games.

“I also cannot understand the criticism of Ibrahimovic. Everybody knows he is a big player for big teams. He always helps these teams and he is the top goalscorer right now at United. Everyone loved him when he joined so why not now? There is no problem.”

The end of the season will be telling, but even then it is too early. This sacking mentality that clubs seem to adopt for their managers just shows they have no ambition. Mourinho has been a successful manager, but his second coming at Chelsea was not as great as he may have liked, ending with him being effectively sacked. Back in December last year, when louis van Gaal was being told by the media he was going to be sacked, Mourinho was the man that many wanted, those ‘fans’ are criticising him now as he has not flicked this imaginary button that many ‘fans’ think is there to get United competing again. Patience is what is needed. If those muppets want Mourinho sacked, who next. Many think Diego Simeone will do a job, but how long before they want him to be sacked too. Manchester United do not need to change their manager every season when the fans do not get what they want. They need stability, and one manager can bring that. Jose Mourinho is his name.

As for Zlatan, he is a prolific goalscorer. Yes he suffered a goal drought this season, but ended that away to Swansea City with two goals. He’s score eight times in all competitions this season, but will miss the Arsenal match due to suspension for amassing five yellow cards so far this season. The Swede will be fit to face Feyenoord next Thursday after having a break during the final internationals of the year over the past fortnight, meaning he will be raring to go against the Dutch side who beat United in the first Europa League match of the season, with United needing a win from both of their last two group stage matches in order to make the knockout stages of Europe’s secondary tournament, which many say they are not bothered about, but will undoubtably moan should United not make the grade. United will be back where they belong, but you need to be patient instead of being reactionary in your criticism, why not judge at the end of the season?

Mourinho may need another two transfer windows to make his mark on his side, which will prolong the period for being able to judge him, but in the business he has undertaken in the summer and the fact he has started turning United around, with a few blips along the way, things may not look great now, but neither does a cake when you have just mixed the ingredients together. You have to bake it first, then decorate it, then it is ready!

Read the full 888sport interview with Andrei Kanchelskis, including his thoughts on the how Pogba and Rashford can become world beaters

Mourinho lacks faith in wingers, says Kanchelskis

Former Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis has spoke about Jose Mourinho’s lack of faith in wingers since he took over the reigns of the Old Trafford club after Louis van Gaal was sacked after the Emirates FA Cup triumph in May 2016. This season, winger are not always utilised by the Portuguese manager, which seems to take away the Manchester United of old with a 4-4-2 formation with United using their wingers blistering pace to cross the ball into the awaiting attackers, scoring goals after goal. This may be down to the fact football has evolved and the much favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and such like being utilised instead. I do miss the days gone by where United would attack as their best for of defence, but with teams structuring their formations to counter against that, every team needs to evolve, or face being left in the past.

This kind of play could be destructive in today’s game, taking the fun out of matches and seeing many 0-0 bore draws, which just seems to be a price many teams will pay, especially if they managed the bore draw against big teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and those that hold aspirations to be a big team, despite not having much history, like Manchester City. 4-4-2 is a great formation, one I do miss seeing United play, but that seemed to disappear with the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, but it may be a formation that returns to clubs one day. Modern football seems to use fullbacks to do the job of the wingers, which sometimes works, but could see the team lack defensive ability on the break should they lose possession further upfield. Andrei Kanchelskis, speaking exclusively to 888sport, said:

“Mourinho doesn’t like to play wingers. They play a different system now and it’s not like before when United played 4-4-2. Now it’s more defensive, looking for results and no longer playing the open football like before, it’s destuctive.

“If I was managing a team against Manchester United I would try to play 4-4-2 because if you play with wingers there is more chance of scoring goals against them. United are struggling to score goals because there is no service. United need better support for their attackers. I had people like Gary Neville and Paul Parker which allowed me to play. They were great defensive players down the right side so we could concentrate on attacking more.

“There are no wingers in any team now, club or international. It is not just a problem for Manchester United, it is a problem for the whole UK. Having wingers is good for the team and good for the fans. They excite and United have always had good wingers – Giggs, Beckham, myself, Ronaldo and Nani.”

United currently use the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard on the wings, especially with Memphis Depay not showing much of his talent since his £25 million move to United the summer before last, which could spell the end of the Dutch winger, who just has not lived up to his expectations, possibly one of the reasons wingers are not being utilised, as United do not have one who is consistent enough to constantly play formations which utilise wingers. Kanchelskis was a great winger in his day, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one League Cup, one FA Community Shield and one UEFA Super Cup during his time at the club, then leaving for Everton, then playing for Fiorentina, Rangers and even Manchester City, despite it being a loan move. Kanchelskis’ time at United was his most successful, with Rangers being second with two Scottish Premier League titles and three Scottish Cups.

United have been looking at wingers recently with Bruma of Galatasaray a player which Mourinho rates, and could well see as an upgrade to Memphis, who just does not look to be setting the world on fire at United, despite the high expectations shows at PSV Eindhoven and for the Netherlands in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is another player who was brought in, a player who can play in a number of positions; winger, number ten and even a second striker. The Armenian is yet to find his feet at United, and could well get a run of matches throughout the winter in a bid to find his feet and get some momentum in order to prove himself at the Theatre of Dreams. Mourinho may just have a plan to bring wingers back at United, but much like the transition after Ferguson, it is not something that can be installed at the club immediately and be made successful in an instant. The world just does not work like that.

 Read the full 888sport interview with Andrei Kanchelskis, including his fears that wingers have no hope under destructive Mourinho

Souness said Kanchelskis would regret not signing for Liverpool

Manchester United signed Andrei Kanchelskis on the 26th March 1991 in a £650,000 deal from Shakhtar Donetsk, making his debut in the penultimate league fixture in the 1990/91 season, a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. Kanchelskis scored his first United goal on the 2nd November 1991 in a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United, going on to play for United until 1995, when he was sold to Everton for £5 million, the biggest fee Everton had paid for a player at the time. Kanchelskis scored 36 goals in 161 appearances for United, but it could have easily been Liverpool where he plied his trade, something he was told by then manager Graeme Souness as United were not playing well, until the Premier League commenced anyway. Kanchelskis, speaking exclusively to 888sport, spoke about the regret Souness said he would show by signing for United, saying:

“Souness said if I went to Manchester United I would regret it and should go to Liverpool. He said United were not playing very well and told me about the Anfield crowds. But I was very happy to join United. Looking back at the trophies, I think it was good for the fans as well.”

At the time, Liverpool were the in form team, winning their last league title in the 1989/90 season, with United not winning a league title, at least in the top-flight, since the 1966/67 season. Both Arsenal (1990/91) and Leeds United (1991/92) would win the Division One title after Liverpool, before the Premier League arrived, which started United dominance in the top-flight, after coming second to Leeds United in the last Division One top-flight title race. Liverpool, being the side in form and used to winning, would have been the wrong choice for Kanchelskis, as he had seen for himself with United’s rise to the top. The Ukrainian-born winger managed to have a good career at United, winning the Premier League title twice, one FA Cup, one League Cup, one FA Community Shield and one UEFA Super Cup.

During the same period Kanchelskis spent at United, Liverpool managed on FA Cup and one League Cup, which shows United were the best decision for the player, and that Souness was just bitter, when is he not, that the Ukrainian winger chose not to sign for his club, who in effect were entering a 26 year period where a league title would not be brought back to Anfield. Kanchelskis, if he opted for Liverpool, may have stayed there longer that he did at United, he might well have helped continue their dominance, but he didn’t, therefore moving to Old Trafford, helping Sir Alex Ferguson side to the top and dominate English period for much of his near 27 year reign of the club. Many players will look back at their decisions, but it is clear Kanchelskis is not one of those, and his medals will show that!

Read the full 888sport interview with Andrei Kanchelskis, including his thoughts that Arsenal will again fail in the second half of the season

copyright: JW