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Dutch Fans Not Happy With Van Gaal Tactics: Could He Implement ‘Total Football’ At United?

Despite a perfect record in the group stages, thrashing reigning champions Spain 5-1 and making themselves one of the favourites, the Netherlands are coming under scrutiny from their own fans.

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Despite a perfect record in the group stages, thrashing reigning champions Spain 5-1 and making themselves one of the favourites, the Netherlands are coming under scrutiny from their own fans.

The Daily Mirror reports that the Dutch media and fans are enraged by incoming Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s insistence on playing a ‘back five’.

It seems to them that three wins from three and being the tournament’s top scorers mean very little, when it’s achieved through counter-attacking football.

When it comes to the Netherlands, since the days of Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff there has always been an emphasis on playing attractive football, using ‘Total football’.

A philosophy that United’s fiery new manager does use but he still believes it is not the only way. Those are the same beliefs that saw him lose the General Manager post at Ajax.

But I do agree with him. At a World Cup, the pressure can be so great that you want any sort of goal or to keep a clean sheet in the last five minutes by any means necessary.

Total football is a fantastically attractive theory of how football should be played, but can van Gaal implement in at Old Trafford? I am not so sure.

Total football is built around creating space and time for the player on the ball and involves the entire team, excluding the goalkeeper, rotating and filling in for each other.

I honestly believe that the majority of English teams, United included are too rigid to play this style.

According to many pundits Wayne Rooney is his most effective in the number 10 role. I can’t see him at 28 being happy rotating to right midfield, away from the goal.

There are numerous players I believe would have the same problem like Carrick, appreciated by United fans but if he finds himself in left wing, would he have the skill or speed to have an impact.

It will be interesting but as we saw with England at the World Cup, players have to play in ‘their’ position or else they can’t do what they do.

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What Would Represent a Positive Season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer From Here?

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A 1-0 defeat to Newcastle prior to the October international break seemingly put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the brink of losing his job.

Is there any hope for the Norwegian, and what could be considered a ‘successful’ season for Manchester United from here?

During the early days of his reign, Solskjaer enjoyed an exquisite honeymoon period, with  being the obvious highlight. However, a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal heralded a decline in form, made memorable by events like a 4-0 thrashing at Everton, a damaging draw at the long-doomed Huddersfield, and a resounding home defeat to relegated Cardiff on the final day.

The Numbers Behind The Decline

After a positive start to 2019/20 for United, the poor form of late 2018/19 has resurfaced at inopportune moments. Prior to United’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle, in the fixture immediately preceding the October international break, United’s meagre tally of nine points stood as the club’s worst after seven games in a top-flight season since 1989.

United’s plight is reflected with particular zeal by their away form. Given how Solskjaer masterminded six straight away wins immediately upon his appointment as United boss, it stands out with particular prominence as a major weakness. Significantly, February remains the last time United won on the road in the league, with no clean sheets recorded – or any game seeing them score multiple goals – during that sequence.

A continuation of the current plight may ultimately ruin the Red Devils’ prospects for years. Indeed, as , confidence in United’s ability to regain Champions League status via the league is waning fast. Furthermore, as evidenced by the decline of one-time title rivals Leeds, operating on a Champions League wage structure while a re-entry into the competition itself appears uncertain is a high-risk mode of existence.

While clubs of United’s calibre are wise to the same type of implosion these days, there can be no doubt that qualification for the Champions League – by any means necessary – will be of peak importance to the 13-time Premier League champions.

Is a Top-Four Finish Beyond United?

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United

Finishing fourth is not beyond United, and any fan who believes that it is has no right to support the Red Devils. That said, for a club that never finished short of a Premier League podium under Sir Alex Ferguson, finishing fourth should never be a benchmark for success with United. Nor should it be the target where keeping Solskjaer in the hotseat is concerned.

For the more forgiving fan, finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ behind the expected top-two – for a jump of three places from 2018/19 – would likely represent sufficient progress for Solskjaer to keep his job. However, a few more bad results will almost certainly spell the end, and following the October international break, United’s quest to re-establish dominion amongst the top four begins in a very challenging fashion.

After a home match against the seemingly untouchable Liverpool, two challenging away games lie in wait. While United will be favourites against Norwich in the first of these two successive long-haul league trips, the Sky cameras have already born witness to a massive shock at Carrow Road, with Norwich ending Manchester City’s long unbeaten run after a truly heroic performance.

However, there are certainly goals to be had in what could be Solskjaer’s last chance to appease the seething masses. Norwich went into the international break without a clean sheet across any of their Premier League matches, having also conceded two or more goals in 75% of their league fixtures by that same point. With all of Norwich’s league defeats coming after conceding the first goal, scoring the opener will be one of United’s primary keys to victory in that crunch match.

The following week sees United make another difficult journey, to face a Bournemouth side that continues to grow under Eddie Howe. Ahead of their own clash with Norwich, Bournemouth’s positive approach to attacking has yielded goals in 28 out of the last 33 fixtures at the Vitality Stadium. Callum Wilson is also full-talisman these days, with Bournemouth losing just once across the last sixteen Premier League home games where he has scored.

Europa League: More Than Just a ‘Bonus’

The opportunity to arrest some dire away form is very much there, and if done successfully, the necessary improvements in home form will inevitably follow. However, assuming that no podium finish is forthcoming, only a second Europa League triumph in three years can stop 2019/20 from being perceived as a total washout.

United’s culture of success and endeavour rightly demands the presence of this trophy in the Old Trafford cabinet. As the top seeds of their Europa League group, it would be nothing short of criminal if United failed to take the initiative, but their performances to date have been underwhelming in terms of results.

While a  provides some type of foundation on which to build a successful Europa League campaign, the fact that United won by a mere 1-0 scoreline in their easiest group game (at home vs Astana) is somewhat less encouraging. Regardless, United have the necessary skill to utilise those results as fuel towards negotiating the group with ease.

‘Success’ Reflected in Personnel Retention, or Simple Honesty.

The January transfer window will also be of massive importance to determining whether or not United’s 2019/20 campaign will be considered a success. With Romelu Lukaku gone and Alexis Sanchez very unlikely to be here next year, ensuring clarity on the mindset and feelings of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial will be crucial. Both men can be game changers, but there is an undercurrent of belief that Solskjaer lacks the experience necessary to command their full respect.

Pogba in particular is seen as a man potentially on the move, as reflected most crudely in the presence of a ‘next club’ market for the Frenchman, with  come the new decade. Ultimately, if no trophies or podium finishes are forthcoming, then knowing with certainty the true intentions of United’s top earners – even in the event of their departure – would give 2019/20 some feeling of success about it.

 

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“I’m relaxed”: £85m-rated Man United target remains coy when questioned about his future

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Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly remains coy when questioned about his future

Manchester United summer target Kalidou Koulibaly has remained coy when questioned about his future (h/t the Sun).

The Senegalese international is currently representing his country at AFCON and he is unsure whether he would be at Napoli next season.

He said, (h/t The Sun)

“I don’t know. I think so. But I have to play the AFCON and then after that, I’ll go back to Napoli.

“Everyone’s speaking about me, but I’m only speaking about Senegal because that’s my objective today and I want to achieve something big with Senegal.

Koulibaly also added that he is relaxed and doesn’t want to speak about the future.

“I don’t want to talk about my future today. I’m relaxed, I want to focus on the Afcon and after that return to Napoli and we’ll see what happens.”

The 28-year-old had his breakthrough under Carlo Ancelotti and has become one of the sought-after centre-backs at the moment.

In fact, the former Metz player played a pivotal role in Napoli’s successful Serie A run, eventually ending up second in the table.

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Koulibaly has featured in the Serie A team of the year in every season since making his switch from Genk and was named as Serie A’s best defender last season.

United dealt with Harry Maguire transfer blow

Meanwhile, Harry Maguire has chosen Manchester City over Man United, who have been targeting him for a while now. With this decision, the Red Devils are forced to move for another centre-back. However, Koulibaly’s £85m price tag looks a hefty one.

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4 Interesting Facts About Manchester United You Never Knew About

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Manchester United There is a stadium strategically located on the banks of the River Irwell in the Greater Manchester part of England. And for the locals, it is none other than the Theatre of Dreams. But as far as the uninitiated is concerned, this titular landmark is home to Manchester United – one of the most successful teams in the history of English football. United is a big name in the sport, with trophies embracing both domestic and European level.

A team amassing a history worth 140 years, this prestigious football club has given the world of English football something to always look forward to. Sure, there are hundreds (or even thousands) of records written, but you probably have not heard of these amazing facts. So, without further ado, here are some fascinating facts about Manchester United that you have never heard about.

#1. Sports Betting The red devils have always been a huge name in the world of sports betting. In fact, a variety of online casinos tend to offer anextensive selection of betting markets on every single match.

In case you did not know, football is one of the most popular sports in the world of sports betting. And with its never-ending fame, online sportsbook and other betting avenues offer massive numbers of betting markets across the world. Given the fact that sports betting is both beneficial and crucial, there is a need for you to stay afloat and use the information to your advantage.

#2. Only Two Non-British Managers Since the start of the team’s official managerial records in 1892, the Manchester United have had been successful in employing at least 22 full-time managers. Until the inclusion of Dutchman Louis van Gaal in 2014, the club has never managed to embrace a manager of non-British descent. In fact, Van Gaal and his successor named Jose Mourinho (a Portuguese) are deemed to be the only two non-British managers the team has had in its history.

Based on its start since day one, the red devils have had around 11 English managers, one Irish manager, six Scottish managers, one Portuguese manager, and one Welsh interim manager. One can say, though, that this diversity has somehow helped the team reach global success.

#3. The European Cup Journey The annual European extravaganza was known before as the great European Champions Clubs’ Cup – or simply known as the European Cup. And yes, this was its name way before it became today’s UEFA Champions League. Believe it or not, the English Football Association (FA) had a peculiar branding of the competition, calling it as far as a “distraction.” But despite the so-called “branding,” Manchester United did not think twice about joining the competition. And mind you, it did so in a great attempt.

That is because the club became the English Champions back in 1956. This allowed them to become the first ever English team to participate in a European tournament. The red devils’ journey was not only brilliant but also memorable. For starters, they trounced Anderlecht 10-0 during the first round to register the highest score-line by the team.

In addition, they made a stunning comeback during the quarter-finals against the more favored Athletic Bilbao. No one ever expected such a comeback, especially from a team that had only joined the competition for the first time.

#4. Scoring 1000 Goals At Home In Premier League Yes, that is right – the Manchester United is the first team to ever score more than a thousand goal at home in the ever-graceful Premier League. Thanks to the deflected strike of Anthony Martial, the team managed to grab a 1-0 win against the Everton. Since 1992, the club had now scored 1,000 goals at their popular home.

Ultimately, they have become the first ever Premier League side to accumulate more than 1,000 goals at home. And, oh, let’s not forget the fact that Wayne Rooney was the player to bag 99 of these scores. As for the 549 goals, they were reportedly scored during the second half.

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Man United to appoint assistant manager who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson as club’s first technical director

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Manchester United to appoint Mike Phelan as the club’s technical director

Mike Phelan is set to be offered the chance to become Manchester United’s first-ever technical director, report the Daily Mail.

The 56-year-old, who was assistant manager to Sir Alex Ferguson, returned to Old Trafford when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker manager. Now, our club officials want to keep him around on a long-term basis.

With Solskjaer appointed as the permanent Manchester United manager last month, the club wants Phelan to remain at Old Trafford and take up the role as technical director.

Phelan, a highly-respected figure at Old Trafford, could now oversee the club’s rebuilding job with a permanent position similar to his own at Central Coast Mariners in Australia, adds the Daily Mail.

Should Phelan be appointed as United’s first technical director, the Daily Mail claim Michael Carrick will be ‘effectively’ promoted to Solskjaer’s number 2. Kieran McKenna, who is also a part of Solskjaer’s coaching team, will receive fresh new terms.

Would Phelan be the right choice for a technical director?

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Manchester United celebrate after beating PSG

We definitely need a technical director at the club before the rebuilding process starts in the summer. But I have my reservations with Phelan taking the role of a technical director.

Read more: Manchester United interested in raiding London giants for 22-year-old defender

Phelan is apparently the most important figure in Solskjaer’s coaching team, someone who helped the Norwegian tactician in overseeing United’s incredible run of form since December. Thus, I want my club to go for someone very experienced for the technical director’s role and keep the 56-year-old as our gaffer’s right hand.

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