I’ve long since lost all patience with the collection of mercenaries and pretenders who comprise the bulk of the club’s current playing staff. There’s a handful who are still tolerable, but the majority are a complete waste of space who simply don’t merit their exalted status as United players. Fair play then Ralf Rangnick, for seeing through the facades and challenging some of the bullshit emanating from the changing rooms at Carrington.
If Lingard is requesting extra time off and Martial is declining to play, I’m content that this information is out in the open. Call them all out and remove privileges until they are earned. Ole used the softly, softly approach and that didn’t elicit any response so I’m all in favour of Ralf trying something a little more robust. I strongly doubt it’ll have much effect, but it’s reassuring to see all the same. The last person who employed such a tactic was Mourinho and we all know how that ended up.
The main positive of the January window was the departure of Martial, even if this only proves to be temporary. It didn’t take Seville very long to realise what they were dealing with; indeed it only took 3 games for them to rule out the possibility of a permanent deal in the summer. It’s all so predictable. Guaranteed that he’ll be back for pre-season with all the enthusiasm of a disconsolate Labrador, raring to underperform for his 5th manager at the club. There’s not a hope of a another football club being daft enough to offer this fraudster £250,000 a week so we’re stuck with him for another 2 years at least.
There are too many players, senior pros included, content to pick up vastly inflated salaries without giving enough back. Pogba is the prime example, the recent Madrid game once again highlighting his innate shortcomings when placed under the slightest pressure. He’s an absolute disaster of a footballer. Showboating against a tactically deranged Leeds team means nothing if you can’t show up days later for a game of genuine significance. I’m not picking on him here, there’s no vendetta. I’m just sick to the back teeth of seeing the same wretched performance each time he faces an opponent unwilling to give him a dozen touches on the ball.
The presence of ponderous Paul has helped to cultivate the myth that Fred is a decent player, whereas in reality he’s at the same level Eric Djemba-Djemba was 15 years ago. There’s no doubt that Fred is a nice lad, always tries his best and never forgets his Mum’s birthday – but worthy of a place in United’s midfield? Give over. He’s even got a burgeoning fan club on twitter now thanks to a few people who have been going long enough to know better. Being Brazilian, a decent human and not being Pogba does not mean he’s good enough for United. I’ve seen enough to know this for a fact.
Another one with a weird fan club is Cavani, based on half a dozen games last season when he appeared to be motivated at the prospect of playing for the club. Considering he’s spent the entirety of the last 15 years based in Europe, it’s no coincidence that he only developed homesickness once he arrived at United. It’s the same nonsense that enables Pogba to spend 3 months pissing about, sorry “rehabilitating” in Dubai whenever he fancies it. Lingard being given time off to get his head together? He’s 29 years old with the personality of a hyperactive infant. He needs a stronger dose of Ritalin, not additional holidays.
Perhaps the most startling loss of form this season has been Marcus Rashford, a haunted figure now in comparison with the confident young player of 2-3 years ago. It’s not just that his development has stalled, he’s literally gone backwards. The body language speaks volumes and he has the look of someone who’d rather be anywhere else other than slogging away up front for United. My mind keeps going back to his almost meltdown in the Europa League final last year. Desperately looking towards the bench hoping to be substituted whilst Ole dithered, stuck for which cards to play with penalties looming.
Clearly, something is not right. This was supposed to be the year in which he kicked on after playing for most of last season carrying a variety of ailments. I don’t buy the theory that his off-pitch interests have interfered with his football development either. Anyone can see that he’s got half a dozen people managing the carefully crafted, St Marcus the Role Model thing – he’s certainly not dreamt that up himself. Something will have to change quickly though. His contract runs until the end of next season with the option of an extra year. His PR team might be looking for alternative employment if his career takes him to Watford or Brighton next.
Last week’s derby perfectly encapsulated the disgraceful state of United at the moment. Misfiring strikers (those who can be arsed to turn up), a midfield incapable of keeping possession and a quartet of Championship-standard defenders. I was giving Ralf credit for sussing out Wan Bissaka as the weakest link a couple of weeks ago following his extended absence. But no, he’s back in the team again for some unfathomable reason. City had an absolute field day against him, targeting him relentlessly with his team mates blissfully ignorant as to what was occurring.
Watching their effort and industry in comparison to our sorry bunch was incredibly sobering. There’s not just a gap between the sides, there’s a gaping chasm. The cliche goes that derby day is a great leveller, but none of our team seemed in the slightest bit aware of the fact. Christ, half of them turned up wearing sky blue boots, the utter dickheads. We were embarrassed at Old Trafford earlier in the season but there was no intention of settling any scores or seeking revenge. That last half an hour was an embarrassment. 92% possession in the final 15 minutes. At the very least you were hoping for a two footed lunge resulting in a red card and serious injury. Nope, nothing.
I can handle losing to them. It’s expected because they’re miles better than us at present. What I can’t accept is the inevitability of the complete capitulation that occurs time and again. No presence, no backbone, no leadership. United can swap CEOs and managers all they want but it’s about time someone held this group of players accountable. Fergie once described the aftermath of the 5-1 as one of his lowest points in football, driving home and putting his head under a pillow. How many of this current lot were mourning last Sunday’s result? Roll on the end of the season, it can’t come soon enough.
Copyright Red News – March 2022