Both caretaker Michael Carrick and club captain Harry Maguire said Manchester United’s fantastic defensive platform allowed them to beat Villarreal on Tuesday night.
Summer signings Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho scored late goals to secure their place in the last 16, with just one point at home against Young Boys to secure the top spot.
After a tricky first half – and I mean tricky to watch because it really was not a display of top football – United came out with a resilience and solidity that has rarely been seen this season.
Carrick’s introductions of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford helped turn the game in United’s favor, even though the duo are overqualified to be just supersubs.
The last 25 minutes were among the most impressive during the season of the Red Devils, and despite such a disappointing campaign so far, it reinforced what people already knew – there is quality in this team, it has only been so long since a top level manager stood by rooted.
It was a fairly common assumption that United had the talent to fight for the Premier League title, even before Ronaldo’s return at the end of the summer window. The foundation had been built last season, and it is no coincidence that most of the key artists from the 2020/21 campaign have not yet reached their own personal heights this year.
Maguire and Luke Shaw were deservedly named in the European Championship 2020 team in the tournament and Gary Neville testified that they simply suffer from a burnout after such a whirlwind summer. The former has not looked fit all season in any case, largely because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued to rush him back from injury.
Beyond them, Donny van de Beek has long been waiting to show why Real Madrid were so desperate to sign him from Ajax.
Paul Pogba has the quality to play for a title challenger despite the circus of noise that surrounded him in his second Old Trafford spell.
And perhaps most important of all, United have the strongest depth of attack in the attacking area, an almost perfect mix of youth and experience, pace and power, chiseled technology and diamonds in the rough.
Part of Solskjaer’s legacy was about leaving United in a better place than where he found them, broken and completely discombobulated by Jose Mourinho’s reign. It was a mistake to give him a full-time contract, but he at least completed his mission (before he almost ruined it again).
Thomas Tuchel’s 11 months in charge of Chelsea has proven that any top team with even a little talent can turn their fortunes around with the right person to lead them. That change of leadership in the middle of the season made the Blues conquer Europe.
This is not to say that the right appointment – Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers, Erik ten Hag, anyone – will give United such immediate success, but the appearance of a qualified coach will go a long way to stopping their recent decline.
They have the quality, but need the right vision to get everything together – they can not waste the season by just appointing an interim manager.
(This story Man Utd desperately need to appoint a new coach to maximize obvious talent has not been edited by Axadle workers and has been auto-generated from the Syndicate feed.) while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the post for any purpose.