Tuesday, 12 March 2013
UNITED BECOME COMPLACENT!
That we've been winning most of those games since has been papering over the cracks of what has been a long term problem for the club.
I have blogged here that because United do not press and hurry the opposition when they lose possession, it gives them an uphill battle keeping out their opponents at the other end of the pitch. Clever players like Modric, Mata, Hazard, Ramires, Ronaldo, et al will always find a way past your brick wall of defence if you give them time on the ball to pick a pass or to have a go at goal. Modern European football suggests that you need to press and hurry such players when in possession so as to deny them any sort of chance to use their talents.
After going 2-0 up against Chelsea without really breaking sweat, you could see a load of complacency creeping in among the players. Most of our players could not be bothered to run harder when they lost possession. It was more like a training routine that they were going through. It was only ever going to take one goal from Chelsea to make us too nervous to play our football. I thought we embarrassed ourselves in that second half. Only Chelsea wanted to win the game and you could see that in the way they run hard and closed us down---two things we lacked in that second period.
I know the club has been rocked by the manner in which the exited the Champions League but it doesn't mean domestic duties get any easier. Whereas the players could still make some sort of historical achievement by winning the domestic double, they have to understand that even those two titles will have to be won by blood and sweat---the same energy that was needed in Europe.
Luckily for us, we escaped with a replay at Stamford Bridge, but anything like what we put up last weekend will not be enough for the Cup. The player and manager have spoken about how they've all been longing to win the Cup. I hope it gets into their heads that City and Chelsea are looking at that Cup as the only realistic chance of silverware this season. If we really want it that bad, we have to play with the desire and passion that our next two opponents in the Cup will provide. Anything less, and what would have been a more than one trophy season will end in an anti-climatic sole league triumph.
Granted, that will do it for me, as I regard being League Champion above any other triumph, but it will help the cause of the boss and the current crop of players to win a Cup that we last won pre-Glazer.