It remains to be seen whether Gary Neville will go on to be one of the great managers, but if his punditry is anything to go by, it seems as though his tactical nous is definitely growing. His post-match assessment of United’s performance against Sunderland was spot on, with his remedy for United’s failure to win games being quite simple; too add pace.
Yesterday’s contest seemed to highlight two clear areas that are in need of desperate improvement. First – which comes as no surprise – is the glaringly obvious need for central-midfield acquisitions. Today, the partnership in the middle of the park consisted of two players who should not be anywhere near the starting eleven. Tom Cleverley, a player so low on confidence that he seemed caught in two-minds whenever a decision needed to be made, and, Darren Fletcher, who has been a great servant of the club, but is now more of a sentimental pick. The need for some ball-winning, risk-taking passers who have a great engine and worth ethic has never been greater.
Secondly, it seemed obvious during the first half how little pace their was in the side, and that is something that needs to change. When Rooney and van Persie received the ball, they were often forced to go backwards as there was little or no movement of the ball. It was only when Welbeck came on that we started to take control of the game, and started to push Sunderland further and further back. Just as Gary Neville said, we are a club that breeds pace and incision and today was another game where those traits were sadly missing.
One thing is for sure, the rebuilding job of Manchester United is going to be a quick fix, but if there is one man that I trust to lead such a job it is Louis van Gaal. Back him in the transfer market and add some much needed pace to the team, and we will start to see him turn this around.