3 negatives from Manchester United's pre-season tour
United’s season is about to start and all is seemingly not well in the club’s camp. Criticizing one’s players in public is not a way to go, and despite some splendid performances by the team, they were largely outperformed by their opponents, failing to play attractive football.
Their style of play was nothing to savor. Here are the three negatives that were fully on show on the tour.
#1 Mourinho's third season syndrome
The infamous third-season syndrome is already rearing its head, and United are treading on the path of implosion in what has become a norm for the gaffer. Real Madrid was where it was on full display.
It all started when he started struggling with managing his players’ ego. Mourinho learnt the hard way when he clashed with heavyweights like Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The dressing became divided, nobody was listening anymore, and the rest they say is history. It’s Mourinho’s third season at the Theatre of Dreams and he has chosen to follow the same path.
Frustrations stemming from the fact that Woodward has failed to deliver a number of players on his list has seen him become aggressive. He has criticized Martial and Bailly for their family issues and performances, criticized World Cup stars for not cutting short their holidays and criticized the team’s ever-present Valencia for failing to be in shape for the season.
Mourinho’s third season syndrome is already at full throttle. United cannot afford to have another dire campaign where they’ll have to play catch up to their neighbours yet again, how he manages to recover from this early season fiasco is left to be seen.
#2 Defensive frailties
Defending has become a niggling issue at the club for a number of seasons now. David de Gea has produced a number of world class performances to save his teammates' blushes times without number.
Attacks win games, defence wins titles they say. The defence saw patches in form throughout the preseason tour, they were just not good enough, and Mourinho resorted to parking the bus a lot.
He was just not convinced enough, and despite the friendly tag, United has failed to express themselves due to his lack of trust in the defence. Smalling suffered an injury in the process, Valencia was absent, and Mourinho played with the likes of Shaw and want away Darmian for most of the games.
McTominay has unceremoniously featured in the defence line - probably as a message to the people at the helm. Against Bayern Munich, United failed to create a chance throughout the 90.
They were pedestrian and contented with sitting deep - it was too deep. Although players like Jones and Lindelof were not available for the tour, the case is not going to improve because these are players that have been tested, but can’t be trusted by Mourinho. You wonder what the season holds if they fail to sign a centre-back to pair the impressive Bailly.