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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Begbie said:
totally agree. I don't know whether it's arrogance or what... it's just getting out of hand now. We never did this last season - in fact we were very good at shutting teams out with just 1 goal advantages - now we're just gifting teams goals. It's not good to see.
Not good to see at all because it will cost us against better teams. I'm beginning to wonder if there's something about them being European Champions . For United it's like " we are the top european team so why don't you just lie down and give up after we score" -- for opponents it could be " right , here's a great chance to beat the euro champs"

I'm betting that other teams are starting to notice this thing now and will not be downhearted at 0-1 , they will just think " united have this habit of not being ruthless , we can get back into this" . If we are not careful it will develop into an encouragement for other teams.

Also , does anyone think that the team are thinking about how many games they might play and pacing themselves? Also , avoiding injury might be a factor?

Whatever it is , it's a habit they need to correct asap. A few clean sheets would be a start
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Jazz 16 said:
Ok Id agree to some extent that GD is important, but not how most of you are making out.
Its NOT the be all and end all. Yes its nice to score loads and have a great GD,
but its the points on the table that matter the most. Thats the point Im trying to make.
It's not about goal difference really , it's about moving from 1-0 to 2-0 in games and killing games off. Last season Chelsea dropped points because they didn't kill some teams off with a second goal (eg wigan at home) , this cost them the title. They couldn't get that second goal.

It's not the 6-0 games that bother me , it's the 1-0 up games that end up being 1-1 (eg everton) . These are the games and results that DESTROY title challenges. Not all games can be killed off , but many can , and everton should have been 3 points - and the 2 points dropped will look much worse in april - guaranteed.

The recent Hull game is yet another example , we must learn how to kick teams in the b***ks hard and be ruthless. We need to practice this mentality at home in every game so that when we go away (like arsenal) we are ready for the kill. I'm very interested to see what happens at the emirates - especially if we go 1-0 up - "we want 2 , we want 2" should be the cheer from the terraces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
RedForceRising said:
Er... I'm just going to echo what moondog said.

We were less than 20 minutes away from needing the better goal difference to clinch the league.

it's important and it also builds a team's confidence.

Last season we scored the most and conceded the least, but this season our defence has been porous on occasion.

The steely determination and confidence from the back 5 is not what it was last season.
The steely determination and confidence from the back 5 is not what it was last season.

I'm not convinced thats the problem , I think it's a team that started to think it's better than it is and that all it needs is 1-0 and it's game over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
CROoney said:
I DON'T THINBK IT HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH OUR DEFENCE.. sorry for caps - i thinks it is amixture of few things

1.beginning of the season form - as a united fan you surely know that every season it's the same old talk...some of us are questioning what's wrong and some of us are posting that " cool down , don't panic "threads...
it's just us - we are known to be slow starters and i think that considering our schedule we've been quite good actually...so far...

2.away matches - away matches have been our achilles tendion for the last couple of seasons imo...not so much because of the results but becasue of the way we play...instead of showing who's the boss and smashing teams with 3-4 goals margain we seem to play well for some period and then end up defndeing for most of the 2nd half
I agree. Arsenal are vulnerable right now and we have to take advantage imo. I think if we commit to the game and believe we can score twice we will be a terrible handful for them. I think we have a great chance of getting 3 points at the emirates so I will be dissappointed with a indecisive performance. But I fear that's what might happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
CROoney said:
i have a feeling it will be chelsea a-like match....

i don't think we're going to attck them....

the main aim is to avoid defeat, cos if we lose-we're in trouble
I'm not sure that's the main aim really. Obviously any defeat is bad and to be avoided but given recent experiences I would be less confident if United took the "let's avoid defeat " approach.

The difficulty is that sometimes the best way of avoiding defeat is not to try avoiding defeat but to try and win. This may sound very silly at first but if you think about what has happened to United recently (and other teams) you will see this truth. If we focus on trying not to lose then it may be that we end up losing.

I guess the question really is "how best to avoid defeat?" or "what approach is the most likely to give a good performance and result?" . My take on this is that a good United performance is brought about by a consistent searching for goals and an upbeat attacking tempo (not reckless mind). I disagree with those who think sitting on a 1-0 lead is the best way to go.
 
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