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While there maybe some minimal validity to the questions over the strategy and substitutions used during yesterday's debacle, it is ridiculous to believe that SAF simply 'lost it' over the summer break.

I have felt uneasy watching United from our first preseason game. From VDS to Rooney they have looked indifferent, sloppy and uneasy, resulting in countless uncharacteristic mistakes and a lack of effort that I have never witnessed from a United team.

Unfortunately, I believe the problems run fairly deep and cannot be overcome with a change in strategy or player selection.

Complacency

Following up on last season's extraordinary achievements was always going to be difficult. It is looking increasingly like the team is expecting to win just by showing up. With the competition level now present in the premiership (not to mention the CL), that is just not going to happen. If United are to turn this campaign around they need to get back to the basics - simple, smart football. More importantly, they need to start working a lot harder.

Christiano

If there is one fault I will attribute to SAF, it is his somewhat understandable efforts to keep christiano ronaldo at United.

When your best player (perhaps) declares that he would prefer to be somewhere else, it is very unsettling to his teammates - especially following one of the teams best seasons ever. The turmoil created by this CANNOT be underestimated.

Players generally react to this type of situation in one of two ways: they will either be angry at cr for his obvious lack of loyalty and respect for the club OR they will start to exaggerate the players importance and begin to question whether they can have any success without him. Because cr is injured right now, I think we are witnessing these reactions, both of which are VERY counterproductive.

This season has presented SAF with these two challenges that, combined, are perhaps the greatest in his illustrious career. How he deals with them may signal United's future direction.

Yes, I think it is THAT serious.
 

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Both very good points.

The players didn't show up and as they did against Newcastle and to a certain extent Pompey, sort of expected to win the game without having to put in too much effort.

I hope Fergie has an open and frank discussion with them about wht they want to achieve.

On Cristiano, it is a cancer that is starting to spread in world football: players who are so talented that even great managers will let them get away with usually unacceptable behaviour, because they are so gifted and can turn a game.


I can only hope Nani starts playing like I hope he can, so he can be useful to us for awhile before he starts crying for a move to Madrid or where ever it is he may want to go to. This would allow us to off-load Cristiano for a nice fee and maybe buy some bright British talent like Ashley Young, who won't mind the weather and playing for Man Utd.
 
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