Manchester United Are in Huge Danger of Missing Out on the Top Four6 min read
Manchester United have gone through a testing time with some incredibly lacklustre performances against both Tottenham and Newcastle United.
José Mourinho now finds himself at the centre of a debate in which Man United’s fans ask whether he is the right man for the job and if he is still good enough to deliver success back to the club they adore.
Sacking Mourinho Not the Answer
It has been an odd season for the Red Devils. While they have climbed four places in the Premier League and sit in second place, it still seems a very underwhelming year has taken place given how far off they are to Champions-elect Manchester City.
The difference in quality between the two clubs is gigantic, and there is a real danger of that gap only widening unless Manchester United’s power brokers keep their sensible caps on and don’t make any rash decisions.
By tradition, Manchester United are not a sacking club – they permit time for managers to be accustomed to their new surroundings and give them the best chance possible. With David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, the Board felt that things were at such a low point – in terms of performances and results – that the only viable option was to sack the manager, and they were right to do so.
The club are nowhere near that point right now. While things are always greener on the other side, Mourinho hasn’t done a terrible job this season as some are keen to point out. He does, however, have a battle to overcome in the race for a top four finish.
United are currently to finish out side the top four – and although it seems unlikely, their recent form suggests further slip-ups could follow.
Formation is Part of the Problem
At some points throughout his career, the Portuguese boss’ worst enemy has been himself. As we have seen this season, Mourinho’s stubbornness to adapt to a 4-3-3 formation has cost Man United valuable points that they could have done with now. He has opted for a 4-2-3-1 for the majority of the season – a formation which prohibits Paul Pogba’s attacking licence and allows the oppositionto dominate in midfield.
With the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool all within four points of Manchester United, the race for a top four finish is going to be exceptionally close. A run of poor form, as the Red Devils have embarked on, could be detrimental in securing qualification to Europe’s top tier competition next season.
It is clear that Man United’s attack is not as coherent or fluid as Liverpool and Tottenham’s, which could pose a real problem in the latter stages of the season with fatigue taking centre stage. Chelsea are nearly as inconsistent as Mourinho’s team, but they somehow have a way of just keeping their head above water.
United Should Sacrifice Cups for Top Four Finish
With the Red Devils taking on Chelsea at Old Trafford in a weeks’ time, it could well be a top four-deciding match that carries huge importance. The Blues are driven by one Eden Hazard, while United are struggling to get out of third gear.
This season has shown many faults with Man United’s squad and their lack of pure quality in a number of positions. Injuries haven’t helped, but every team succumbs to them at some point, and so that is not an excuse to be made. Although they have brought in Pogba and Nemanja Matić, the midfield poses the most questions with it currently looking totally uninspired.
Mourinho has to be careful in managing the three competitions Manchester United are left in, and it might be worth prioritising the Premier League over them all. In truth, winning the Champions League is a figment of the imagination right now, and the FA Cup still has many rounds to conquer.
While this season could be rather underwhelming for Manchester United, it would be a total shambles if they were not to qualify for the Champions League. The pressure is certainly on the Red Devils right now as they simply cannot afford to slip up.
My Top Six Prediction:
1. Manchester City
2. Manchester United