Parker: Pogba and Fred United's worst midfield since Rafael and Park
Paul Parker thinks Manchester United are in dire straits with little hope for the rest of their season after losing 2-0 to Manchester City on Wednesday.
After the performance against Manchester City last night, Manchester United need to just get through the season and move on, and hope that things improve in the summer.
They are now relying upon Tottenham and Chelsea to slip up, but right now I don’t believe they can beat Chelsea on Sunday. In fact, I don’t believe Manchester United can even score a goal. There is nothing good to say about United these days, because you can’t see where the next win is coming from.
A dejected Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / manager of Manchester United at full time during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old TraffordGetty Images
Paul Pogba, in particular, was very poor last night. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield of Pogba and Fred is the worst they have had since Rafael and Ji-Sung Park started for United against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve in 2011. This is the poorest United squad in a long time, and people have been fooled over the last few years.
The FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa Cup wins were achievements, but instead of papering over the cracks they appear to have plastered over them so that people haven’t realised just how far United have fallen behind Manchester City.
Manchester United's Rafael da Silva (C) celebrates scoring against Queens Park Rangers during their English Premier League soccer match in London February 23, 2013 (Reuters)Reuters
United’s hierarchy have lost focus and it can only go on for so long. They keep talking about bed partnerships, tyre partnerships, and other sponsorship deals. But companies won’t want to be associated with the club if they keep losing. The club’s fame is a double-edged sword. When you’re down, the press and public will keep focusing on your shortcomings, which won’t attract anyone to the club.
One of the problems with the United side is that there aren’t enough kids coming through who understand the edge of needing to make a success of your career to feed and take care of your family. The players now are more interested in social media. When the elements turn against them, they don’t have the steel to persist in the face of difficulty, they want to move on somewhere else and show the best of themselves somewhere easier. The treat a club as a way to highlight themselves, not something that they need to work for to help themselves improve and win something.
Mike Phelan and Sir Alex Ferguson (PA Photos)PA Photos
My former team-mate Mike Phelan, Solskjaer’s assistant, has been suggested as a potential technical director. He has great experience after fulfilling the same role under Alex Ferguson, but he had a difficult time as a manager at Hull City, when he wasn’t given the best of chances.
Other candidates might have more experience as a manager, but I still think Phelan is suited to the technical director role. He’s a thoughtful person, who understands the culture at United and will know what they need from any new signings. The biggest problem is whether the person in control of signings is willing to give up his influence, and to stop being the person telling people what he’s going to do, leaking rumours to the press. Everyone now wants to be seen as buying and selling.
Paul Pogba Getty Images
That causes problems across football. Managers live and die by their results, and they are fine with that assuming one thing - they get to choose their players. If they have a say on their personnel, they can have an argument if things go wrong. Now, though, managers get what they are given and are told to get on with it, which undermines the manager. If a player comes into a club, he’ll know whether the manager actually wants him or not. Managers can no longer control their players like they used to.
Because agents and executives are now in charge, the money men are the most important figures in football. Players don’t respect managers anymore. If you tell a player that he needs to work hard, he may claim it is a form of bullying, they are not prepared for adversity as they grow up. They are physically strong but mentally weak. The best players are those who are playing to win something, to take care of their families, often found in the lower leagues, but managers either can’t or won’t buy them.
Ed WoodwardGetty Images
Players are encouraged to work for their credit cards, the money and the social media presence. They used to be encouraged to work for the trophies. When you retire, people won’t care how much money you earned, you won’t be remembered for your net worth.
Players will be remembered for their achievements on their pitch, but they just don’t act like that anymore.