From the boardroom to the penalty box, these key changes could help United challenge once again
Chelsea v Manchester United, Monday 17 February, 7pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
Discontent in the stands. Shoddy performances on the pitch. A manager who’s at the wheel but doesn’t necessarily know how to drive. It’s been an, er, interesting season for Manchester United so far. So what next?
Chelsea away, that’s what. The beleaguered Red Devils will be hoping they can give their quest to finish in the top four a much-needed boost when they travel to Stamford Bridge, live on Sky Sports Premier League. But even a win over a side they beat 4-0 on the opening weekend of the campaign is likely to only paper over the deep cracks running through the club.
However, all is not lost. There are still certain things this titan of English football can do to scrape itself off the floor and regain its place among the elite in the future. After all, Frank Lampard has got Chelsea purring again. Here’s how we think United can bring the glory days back to Old Trafford…
How much more time does Ole Gunnar Solskjær deserve? Things don’t look to be improving under the Norwegian, who’s now been in the dugout for 14 months. Sure, patience is key when you’re rebuilding a club, but installing a world-class manager like Mauricio Pochettino must be mighty tempting for the board. The Argentine is tactically astute, calm and a master of getting the best out of players. He’s the perfect fit.
Buy a striker
A forward has to be a priority for United in the summer transfer window. Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are a pair of absolute diamonds, but Anthony Martial can’t be relied on to pull his weight up front. A striker with proven ability (maybe even someone in the twilight of their career, à la Zlatan Ibrahimović) would ease the pressure the team’s young attacking stars could be feeling.
Appoint a director of football
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s knack for cutting lucrative commercial deals is impressive. After all, can you even call yourself a Premier League club if you don’t have an official noodle supplier? Let him loose in the transfer market and it becomes apparent he’s out of his depth. What United need is someone to take control of the football side of things behind the scenes, reshape the squad in a sensible way and leave the finance men to do all the finance stuff.
Offload the deadwood
A quick look at the United squad will tell you there’s a staggering amount of bang-average footballers at the club. There they are, sat in their Audis, clogging up the road leading into the training ground. Jesse Lingard? Phil Jones? Andreas Pereira? You’ve had enough (first-team football) lads, it’s time for you to leave. There’s plenty of promising young talent at Old Trafford, but there is also a literal coachload of players who have routinely failed on the pitch – and they need to go.
Hope that Liverpool and Man City falter
Yeah, that’s probably not gonna happen. In the meantime it’s best they just do all of the above.
When is Chelsea v Manchester United on TV?
Watch Chelsea take on Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Monday 17 February on Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502). Coverage starts at 7pm.
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