NIGHTMARES AT THE THEATRE OF DREAMS!
The season started on a high note for Manchester United FC as everything looked all set for a season-long impressive performance. With the record signings of the super-duper duo of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, much was expected from United to whom much has been given but the recent form of the club is questioning the sustainability of the tempo which they started with, as many soccer pundits are already ruling them out of the list of the title contenders.
The Red Devils had consistently suffered a poor run for the past few weeks, having been knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the first round and dropped to sixth on the Premier League log and unfortunately, their woes became compounded last Saturday as they were pummeled to a 4-2 defeat at the King Power Stadium. The consistent lacklustre performance of the team has been attributed largely to poor decision making on the part of the manager, Ole Gunner Solskjaer while players’ errors and poor performance were downplayed.
It is a common belief that coaches usually find it difficult to make clear-cut decisions when they have to do it with a star-studded team and this seems to describe the state of Ole at the moment. Lampard was caught in the same web last season when he landed some huge signings that raised a lot of unreal expectations in the media but when things began to go south, the media came hard after him and this might have created a distaste with the board that eventually led to his dismissal.
The issue with the English media is that it tends to be more fault-finding in its reportage and this creates undue pressure for the embattled manager. Ole’s case isn’t an exemption as he has recently come under close scrutiny by the Oliver twist kind of the English media. Right now, Ole is not in the good books of the media but his remaining as manager depends on how happy the players and especially, the board are with him.
Recent reports have however revealed that the position of Solskjaer is not under threat, as the owners, the Glazer family, are not yet seeking his replacement, perhaps because the board is taking responsibility for a decision they took as opposed to Ole’s preference regarding signings. But even at that, he needs to effect the necessary improvements because if the poor run continues, he might be risking an unceremonious departure from the theatre of dreams
One major example of faulty decision-making from Ole was during the UCL group fixture where Lingard was substituted for Ronaldo, apparently, if the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had remained in the match, the score lines could have been different.
This however does not rule out faults on the part of the players but when asked most of the time, they find a way to exonerate themselves and put the luggage at the feet of the manager. Technically, the coach gets the bulk of the blame because he is expected to manage the style of play with the current form and strength of his players but when things do not go according to plan because of a player’s error, the head is the first point of call. My heart goes all out for Ole at this trying time!
United tackles Atlanta and Liverpool in two crucial games at Old Trafford this week, and a defeat in either will leave them with an uphill task of succeeding in the Champions League or Premier League. Solskjaer needs to get his players to step up in their game, else, the nightmares at the theatre of dreams will continue unabated!