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Discussion Starter #1
Recent games at anfield , the bridge and goodison all 1-0 up. Normally you would expect a United team to go and and score again in at least one of these games. You would also expect 5, 6 or maybe 7/9 points , instead of just 2.

I'm utterly convinced that if this team had played the same way at 1-0 as they do at 0-0 then we would be 3-4 points better off right now. It's clear to me there is some psychological thing going on about protecting a lead or thinking the job is done or something. All these goals also came pretty early in matches and all of them seemed to then drift away (along with the points).

Will this be our downfall in the league this season? Are we a lazy team or over confident in our defence? You don't need to be a genuis to know 1-0 is a precarious lead. In under 10's leagues we tell the players to just play the same at 1-0 as at 0-0 and forget the score.
 

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The subject has been mentioned elsewhere and my own opinion is that Fergie tries to close the doors too early, and we pay the consequence. Bill Shankly once said that the best form of defence is attack - and he is right. A defending team rarely gets the cookies!!!
 

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desmondo your right, but at the same time things that look glaringly obvious to too us may not to SAF.we should be 4 points better off (wins at goodison and the bridge)
Also agree with RD, i believe that SAF wanted to shut up shop at Anfield and at the bridge BUT not so much at goodison.


Lessons have been learned already i think.I would be very surprised if the same issues arise.I think we need to start scoring a little more freely as we did last season and then we can take the lead, sit back and pick teams off....but not just yet.

we also need to keep an eye on the goal difference as that could be important at the end of the season.
 

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ye i think we miss too many chances sometimes and what happened at Anfield and Goodison was uncharacteristic in terms of the defence panicing. When's the last time we have surrendered a 2 goal lead and not won. That's an interesting one can't think when. It's hardly West Ham in 2000 surely it has happened since.
 

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You have a point.

I just want to add that it is not fergie's instructions, because he was lamenting that too after the game.

The problem seems to be psychological, but where it originates from sure beats me.

The three games you name are all away games, but we saw some inability to kill off games last season too.

Even last night at 2-0 up we didn't kill off the game. Not for want of trying, but the younger players were getting fancy and doing unnecessary flicks and first time passes instead of keeping it simple.

Fergie's got to address this, because it's costing us points.

Got to say that I'm a bit disappointed with Giggsy during the Everton match in that he doesn't seem to be able to vocally inspire his team mates.

Could it be that this is related to another thread about onfield leadership. A player o kick some butt and rouse the troops. It's easy to say they are professional footballers and they should know better, but everybody needs some inspirations sometime.
 

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As usual Des, you make a decent point but I think you arent putting enough
emphasis on the fact that these were tough games, AWAY from home.
Anfield, Stamford and Goodison are very hard places to go.

If we had lost these leads at home (even against these teams) then I would
whole heartedly agree with you. But scoring these early goals hasnt helped us
really. We have backed off when in front but thats only natural, especially in
these tough games away from home.

We have to remember that during this time we have had players trying to get fit
or others that were injured.
They were Berba's first few games and Ron had just comne back from injury.
These are our big players and they werent quite ready.

Also, going 1 up at SB and Anfield is decent. We cant just expect to be going 2/3/4
up each game, especially there.

We are in a decent position in the league with the easier games to come in the new year.
I dont think we have much to worry about.
 

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burnzy1987 said:
desmondo your right, but at the same time things that look glaringly obvious to too us may not to SAF.we should be 4 points better off (wins at goodison and the bridge)
Also agree with RD, i believe that SAF wanted to shut up shop at Anfield and at the bridge BUT not so much at goodison.


Lessons have been learned already i think.I would be very surprised if the same issues arise.I think we need to start scoring a little more freely as we did last season and then we can take the lead, sit back and pick teams off....but not just yet.

we also need to keep an eye on the goal difference as that could be important at the end of the season.
I'm not sure, if those second half performances can be attributed to SAF. He himself lamented the performances, so it would be quite hypocritical if he was the one encouraging to shut up shot. Hypocritical, but not impossible.

Thing at Anfield was that Scholes was off form and Carrick went of at half-time.

Fergie was short on players that day with Park, Hargo and Nani unavailable, so he kept Anderson on the left instead of moving him infield otherwise it might have been a different story.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Jazz 16 said:
As usual Des, you make a decent point but I think you arent putting enough
emphasis on the fact that these were tough games, AWAY from home.
Anfield, Stamford and Goodison are very hard places to go.

If we had lost these leads at home (even against these teams) then I would
whole heartedly agree with you. But scoring these early goals hasnt helped us
really. We have backed off when in front but thats only natural, especially in
these tough games away from home.

We have to remember that during this time we have had players trying to get fit
or others that were injured.
They were Berba's first few games and Ron had just comne back from injury.
These are our big players and they werent quite ready.

Also, going 1 up at SB and Anfield is decent. We cant just expect to be going 2/3/4
up each game, especially there.

We are in a decent position in the league with the easier games to come in the new year.
I dont think we have much to worry about.
I think you missed the point. I'm not expecting us to go 3-0 up at the bridge , what I noticed was that Chelsea looked a lot less like scoring at 0-0 than they did at 0-1. It's the performance levels at 1-0 that's the problem. In the first half at the bridge we were the better team and looked more like scoring (espeically at 0-0) , then once we scored it just started to dissipate and we stopped looking for the second goal with any conviction.

Let me put it like this. It's as if the team mentality at 0-0 is "let's try to win this game , we have to be positive to win things , let's try and dominate play and score " When we do this we look good and often we DO score.

1-0 up seems to be " Ok , we are in the lead , now what do we do? , we would like 2-0 but maybe we should sit on the lead. Let's just see if the second goal comes " The result? We seem to lose our way in games and the other team senses this and comes after us. They are only 1-0 down and they know it's a slender lead.

So overall , my point is that whether the second goal comes or not it doesn't matter because in going for a second goal we will play better with more conviction and less indecision. Fear , indecision and overconcern with the scoreline is always the enemy in football. Always.

Another side issue here is the inability to be clinical and provide that killer strike. During all these games I mentioned I'm watching it (at 1-0) thinking "come on lads , step it up and kill them off while you have the chance". To me it's like watching a great boxer who strikes a blow watches his opponent stumble but then doesn't think to hit him again hard after he gets up.

Three 1-0s , 2 points? Hard away games I know , but early 1-0's as well .....none of them were followed by a second goal. United have player over 3 hours of football at these grounds after scoring first but didn't score in that time. Duh? Ok , thye are tough fixtures , but we are the double champions. Are we saying that if Chelsea were in similar positions in thse games they would only have got 2 points and no win?
 

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desmondo said:
Another side issue here is the inability to be clinical and provide that killer strike. During all these games I mentioned I'm watching it (at 1-0) thinking "come on lads , step it up and kill them off while you have the chance". To me it's like watching a great boxer who strikes a blow watches his opponent stumble but then doesn't think to hit him again hard after he gets up.
Good analogy Des. I see your point and you are right.
I just think its the players natural reaction to 'sit' on a lead.
Thats how my team plays its football as well as most teams out there. ;)
Sometimes we get the 2nd goal and sometimes we dont.
Ya need the bit of luck too. I see your point although I wouldnt consider it a 'major' problem.
We cant win every game.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jazz 16 said:
Good analogy Des. I see your point and you are right.
I just think its the players natural reaction to 'sit' on a lead.
Thats how my team plays its football as well as most teams out there. ;)
Sometimes we get the 2nd goal and sometimes we dont.
Ya need the bit of luck too. I see your point although I wouldnt consider it a 'major' problem.
We cant win every game.
I have seen kiddies teams who play the same at 1-0 as they do at 0-0.

I agree it is natural for teams to sit on a lead , but what do you mean by "natural" isn't it also "natural" for players to lash out when a bad tackle comes in? Isn't it "natural" to just keep hoofing the ball to the front men when you are under pressure as a defender instead of passing? Isn't it "natural" to head the ball hard at goal instead of heading it down with less power?

All of these things are examples of situations where players are told to resist their "natural" impulses and do something more professional and effective instead. So to me just because it is "natural" to sit on a 1-0 lead doesn't excuse it. A professional footballer should know that what is "natural" is not always the best thing to do and should not succumb to the impulse to relax on a 1-0 lead.

It's "natural" for fans like me to get frustrated with their team if they see them play well , get ahead in a game and then somehow not play so well and concede. If that's "natural" then my view is that United should start learning how to play "unnaturally" asap if they actually want to retain this league. Liverpool meanwhile look as if they are addressing the way they approach league games and team selections in an attempt to address points lost in previous campaigns. In the past it was "natural" for them to drop points to drawn games that should have been nailed. They are no longer doing this. We seem to have developed a bad habit. I'm hoping it won't continue.

Personally I think it all stems from our European campaign where sitting on a 1-0 lead away is not such a bad idea because conceeding might not cost you over 2 legs + the away goal thing. In the EPL it's different because the points often go to the teams that show more adventure and aren't afraid to lose.

To put all this in perspective , those away games (Liv, eve, chel) have been virtually a disaster. We are only 2 points better off than if we had lost all the games! After being ahead in ALL of them?
 

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Cant argue with any of that Des (for a change) ;-)
Top post!

Only thing Ill add is that we now have the tough games out of the way.
We have played Fratton Park, Goodison, Anfield and SB all done and dusted for the season.
If we started sitting on 1-0 leads when we play this lot at OT then Id be really worried.
 

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desmondo said:
Recent games at anfield , the bridge and goodison all 1-0 up. Normally you would expect a United team to go and and score again in at least one of these games. You would also expect 5, 6 or maybe 7/9 points , instead of just 2.

I'm utterly convinced that if this team had played the same way at 1-0 as they do at 0-0 then we would be 3-4 points better off right now. It's clear to me there is some psychological thing going on about protecting a lead or thinking the job is done or something. All these goals also came pretty early in matches and all of them seemed to then drift away (along with the points).

Will this be our downfall in the league this season? Are we a lazy team or over confident in our defence? You don't need to be a genuis to know 1-0 is a precarious lead. In under 10's leagues we tell the players to just play the same at 1-0 as at 0-0 and forget the score.
Think it is pretty similar to a thread last season but it is still an emotional one nonetheless. I wholeheartedly agree and absolutely hate it tbh. Suddenly handing over the initiative and looking second best just after being commanding and taking the lead is certainly strange, inexplicable and hard to swallow.

Complacency (thinking that it will be good enough)?

Lazy (thinking that the job is already done and no more is needed to be done until...)?

Lack of confidence (to score more especially against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool)?

Negative (out of fear of losing the precious lead especially against better teams and thus focus on defending it instead)?

Whatever the actual reason(s), I don't know for sure but I am more inclined to believe it is a mental thing rather than the opponents suddenly discovering that hey, they could play better than us (unless we allow them to, like playing with less urgency, slower to the ball, sitting back to contain and adopting the attitude of "let's see what you can do now" etc?).

Not being able to kill off the opponents like the 1-0s we had against Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton is a concern indeed and not something to be taken lightly, I would beg to differ. In fact, I think it IS a problem and will be even more pronounced as it gets harder and harder to win the league as the gap increasingly narrows amongst the teams.

Sure we can't win every game in reality but perhaps we also need to examine honestly whether we surrendered the lead because we went down fighting or was it because we 'took our feet off the pedal' and 'accident' then struck most gleefully. Otherwise, why would most managers, players and fans be left in anguish thereafter in most instances, explicitly or not?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
versa said:
Think it is pretty similar to a thread last season but it is still an emotional one nonetheless. I wholeheartedly agree and absolutely hate it tbh. Suddenly handing over the initiative and looking second best just after being commanding and taking the lead is certainly strange, inexplicable and hard to swallow.

Complacency (thinking that it will be good enough)?

Lazy (thinking that the job is already done and no more is needed to be done until...)?

Lack of confidence (to score more especially against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool)?

Negative (out of fear of losing the precious lead especially against better teams and thus focus on defending it instead)?

Whatever the actual reason(s), I don't know for sure but I am more inclined to believe it is a mental thing rather than the opponents suddenly discovering that hey, they could play better than us (unless we allow them to, like playing with less urgency, slower to the ball, sitting back to contain and adopting the attitude of "let's see what you can do now" etc?).

Not being able to kill off the opponents like the 1-0s we had against Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton is a concern indeed and not something to be taken lightly, I would beg to differ. In fact, I think it IS a problem and will be even more pronounced as it gets harder and harder to win the league as the gap increasingly narrows amongst the teams.

Sure we can't win every game in reality but perhaps we also need to examine honestly whether we surrendered the lead because we went down fighting or was it because we 'took our feet off the pedal' and 'accident' then struck most gleefully. Otherwise, why would most managers, players and fans be left in anguish thereafter in most instances, explicitly or not?
I hope we won't get accused of fergie bashing again! I think , like me , you have spotted something that's not right with the United psyche in this team. We sometimes look like a team of pretty boys without the teeth. There's something to be said for kicking an opponent when they are down (metaphorically) , I'm darn sure that Chelsea would have had a bundle of points from those games given a 1-0 early lead - they are just more ruthless - not better - just more clinical. Everton should have been put to the sword in the first half - and when you don't kill an enemy he can get off the ground and kill you.
 

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desmondo said:
I hope we won't get accused of fergie bashing again! I think , like me , you have spotted something that's not right with the United psyche in this team. We sometimes look like a team of pretty boys without the teeth. There's something to be said for kicking an opponent when they are down (metaphorically) , I'm darn sure that Chelsea would have had a bundle of points from those games given a 1-0 early lead - they are just more ruthless - not better - just more clinical. Everton should have been put to the sword in the first half - and when you don't kill an enemy he can get off the ground and kill you.
Unless there is some tactical changes (eg last season's game at Stamford Bridge when Anderson was taken off almost immediately to be replaced by JOS for the obvious objective that unfortunately backfired on us), nobody can fault or doubt Fergie if the same players remain on the pitch playing in the same positions.

And I am not talking about an all-out onslaught like we are desperate to draw level and leaving gapping holes behind. Just the same normal mental approach before we score would suffice. It is precisely a deemed slackening or a little nonchalance that it is perfectly alright if we don't score anymore as long as it stays as 1-0 (hopefully) that is the issue and concern here. This is not killing off the opponents but encouraging them to turn the table on us instead which some managed to at our expense, leaving us to count the losses. What for?! I do feel we lack the ruthlessness of Chelsea like you mentioned. This could well be the reason why no team fears us like before.
 

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Well, Fergie seems to acknowledge the problem. Hope he will do something about it once and for all.

Exerpt from another thread....

mirror

"Goal difference is important," he said. "It could count at the end of the season. Over the years we've always had the best goal difference. It's not the case at the moment and that's a challenge for us to do something about it.

"We can't afford to waste too many chances. We were careless in the second half against Everton when we ended up drawing 1-1. We should have really punished them but we got caught up in the game a bit.

"Against West Ham I felt we took our foot off the pedal. We relaxed too much and you can't afford to do that in the Premier League or you will be punished
."
 

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Discussion Starter #16
versa said:
Unless there is some tactical changes (eg last season's game at Stamford Bridge when Anderson was taken off almost immediately to be replaced by JOS for the obvious objective that unfortunately backfired on us), nobody can fault or doubt Fergie if the same players remain on the pitch playing in the same positions.

And I am not talking about an all-out onslaught like we are desperate to draw level and leaving gapping holes behind. Just the same normal mental approach before we score would suffice. It is precisely a deemed slackening or a little nonchalance that it is perfectly alright if we don't score anymore as long as it stays as 1-0 (hopefully) that is the issue and concern here. This is not killing off the opponents but encouraging them to turn the table on us instead which some managed to at our expense, leaving us to count the losses. What for?! I do feel we lack the ruthlessness of Chelsea like you mentioned. This could well be the reason why no team fears us like before.
I think they fear us alright but I don't think we realise how much they fear us. My anxiety at the moment is that Chelsea look stronger than before (despite losing at home) and we look weaker. Chelsea are killing games off that they wouldn't have done last season. Even Liverpud are taking risks and are doing things differently.

My other thought is that with the Champions league and EPL x2 now there is less hunger to win things. I think 2 seasons ago there was more hunger and more drive and determination. I honestly don't think we will get going until we fall 7 8 or 9 points adrift and then panic will set in , but why should we have to be that way?

I think mentally I'm still scarred by that performance at anfield which was an utter disgrace in terms of committment after taking the lead. It made me wonder if we are becoming a "continental" team with eyes on europe and Liverpud are focussing on the EPL more (which we know they are).

We shall see what happens with up and coming away fixtures and whether the "hanging on to 1-0" disease continues. It's a strange thing to do for this team because there are so many goals in this team that 2-0 is a realistic thing to aim for. If we were a boring team and goals were hard to come by then sitting on 1-0 would make sense to me.

I actually think we have serious fundamental attitude problems at the moment that are being glossed over by our talent. I don't fancy us for the title and unless we show more desire (eg west ham 2-0 should have been more because goal difference could easily count) then overtaking liverpud might be hard. This might seem over panicky at this stage of the season but I can see the cracks. We look like a team that's got a bit fat on success and might need a diet to get it going again. Teams that aren't hungry rarely win titles , right now Liverpud and Chelsea look much hungrier.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
versa said:
Well, Fergie seems to acknowledge the problem. Hope he will do something about it once and for all.

Exerpt from another thread....

mirror

"Goal difference is important," he said. "It could count at the end of the season. Over the years we've always had the best goal difference. It's not the case at the moment and that's a challenge for us to do something about it.

"We can't afford to waste too many chances. We were careless in the second half against Everton when we ended up drawing 1-1. We should have really punished them but we got caught up in the game a bit.

"Against West Ham I felt we took our foot off the pedal. We relaxed too much and you can't afford to do that in the Premier League or you will be punished
."
He can see the problem , I hope that he has worked out WHY it's happening. We can all see that Everton got out of jail and we didn't punish them - but why? Why didn't we punish them? I feel re-assured that fergie is putrting his finger on this issue but it would feel much better if he could say what's causing it. I wonder if he keeps that card under his chest? What do you think?
 

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this problem is annoying because this team can be a great one but they continue to take their foot off the gas and in many games they go from cruising to being in a battle and not many of the team like to battle -rooney ,vidic ,hargreaves anderson and tevez i see has good battlers some of the others due to age and laid backness don't enjoy a physical battle anymore ? this is the only explination i can convince myself with because this is happening way to regular.
 

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Jazz 16 said:
If we started sitting on 1-0 leads when we play this lot at OT then Id be really worried.
It almost happened again, isn't it?! And this time at OT!!

1-0.... Foot off the pedal again, allowing Hull City to play.

1-1.... Suddenly you see the urgency in our players wanting the ball and closing the gaps down. The contrast was too obvious to miss and illustrated different mind sets.

2-1.... Kept going this time.

3-1.... Kept going but starting to get sloppy in final touches to add to the scoreline.

4-1.... Foot off the pedal again, getting sloppier now with passes.

4-2.... No change to the above.

4-3.... Got anxious, nervous and ill tempered. Brought in JOS to protect a very slim lead. Great relief at the final whistle.

Wtf! We are at OT!!?!?!?!?!?

Point is it is not the scoreline that matters but the mentality. Be it 1-0 or 4-1, we have to maintain the right desire and attitude to sustain the pressure (working towards scoring more) and to deny opponents from playing. One thing does lead to another....

I don't see Chelsea taking a 1-0 lead and foot off the pedal, at Stamford Bridge or not.

Who says this is not a problem?!
 
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