Manchester United – Alex Ferguson Shifts Focus From Problems

Instead of talking about how bad Manchester United were in the first half, Ferguson just praised his lads for their second half in a 2-3 losing effort against Tottenham. Rather than focusing on the problems his team had encountering speed against a super Spurs counter attack, he talked about how Paul Scholes did a masterful job in the second half.

When Tottenham decided they’re going to try and keep it together and hold on to their lead, Scholes had the chance to show how good of a build-up man he is, even with 40 so close. But the way he and Carrick were overrun in the first half by Dembele and Sandro; the way Rio Ferdinand looked twice, first on the Jan Vertonghen goal which was a complete collapse on United’s behalf thanks to some nice decoy work from Jermain Defoe, and later hopelessly trying to catch up with Gareth Bale.

Ferguson didn’t talk about putting Nani, a player who punched a teammate in training, in the lineup when he should have been sitting in the stands. He didn’t talk about the lack of support to Portuguese winger gave Rafael, and his selfishness throughout the match. Everything is forgotten because his goal, and because Wenger simply doesn’t have any other options at winger.

And Rafael. For every wonderful goal he scores or some brilliant play he creates when he strides forward on the right flank, he creates a hole at the defense with no one to cover him, not against faster teams. Gareth Bale had one of those matches when he showed why everyone values him so much – for his athletic abilities and for recognizing weakness when he sees it.

And then there’s the midfield, which has always been a problem for Manchester United over the last couple of years. One-paced some like to call it. Slow it the correct word, and completely inefficient defensively in an open match, with Untied trying to press. If they were building on counter attacks, both Scholes and Carrick do a much better job at defending. But with United so thin and weak at centre back at the moment, any kind of combination Ferguson has that doesn’t include Tom Cleverley seems a bit outdated when it comes to chasing players like Dembele and Sandro, who ran all over during the first 45 minutes.

Then there are the good things to take out of this match, the second half, by they can be misleading. Tottenham had two famous 5-3 and 5-2 losses stuck in the back of their minds, pushing them back. United enjoy an immense fear factor, especially at home; more than they do actual quality ever since Cristiano Ronaldo left or when Rooney is having an off day or when Antonio Valencia isn’t playing. Too many or’s, meaning the team simply isn’t good enough.

Kagawa should have been more helpful to United’s troubled duo in the middle, but in terms of what he gives to the offense, Ferguson has to be pleased. He knows how to find players in open space and knows how to place himself in these spots without any coverage. He needs to get a bit more selfish, but the overall signs are good. Robin van Persie had a bad match as long as his midfielders and wingers were out of the game. When Wayne Rooney came on for Ryan Giggs a new breath of pace and life was blown into the United side, with RVP and no.10 showing some nice combinations that give red devils fans some hope for the future.

But too ignore all the bad (the majority of it) will just be playing blind. United have serious problems that need to be fixed by changing tactics, because there are no more options left on the bench. Ferguson preferred talking about injury time and penalties not given instead of addressing real problems. He does what’s good for his team when he talks to the media. He needs to find what’s good for his team when they’re playing dangerous opponents.

Images: Source