Manchester United Nears Historic Anti-Record: Top Club Becomes Average
The hopes of Red Devils fans for a return to past glory remain unfulfilled.
Struggles in the Current Season
Manchester United, who had a disastrous start to the current season, suffered their eighth loss out of fifteen matches. On Wednesday, the Mancunians suffered another home defeat, losing to Newcastle 0:3. The reigning English League Cup champions were eliminated in the 1/8 stage. It's worth noting that in the previous tournament final, Eric ten Hag's proteges defeated Newcastle.
Is the Current Team's Misfortune Just a Rough Patch?
Is the club on the verge of a comeback to its former glory, or have the Mancunians become an ordinary mid-tier team, with fans left to celebrate just the fact of the club's participation in European competitions? On one hand, the team's current position brings it closer to a 60-year-old anti-record. In the 1962/1963 season, MU suffered nine losses in the same period. On the other hand, it's hard not to notice the calmness of the Red Devils leadership, who continue to trust Eric ten Hag. By the way, the Dutch specialist also displays Olympic calmness.
Ten Hag's Perspective
«This is below the standards expected of Manchester United – we are not performing well enough. But I am a fighter. I know that performance doesn't always improve, and this season, we have had many failures, which we need to accept. Can I turn things around? I understand that when there are no results, it's logical to question it. I did it in all my clubs, and I did the same thing last year,» said the head coach of MU after the League Cup defeat.
Changing Expectations for MU
Eric ten Hag also touched on the topic of standard expectations from MU. Few living Red Devils fans witnessed the nightmare season of 1962/1963. However, Alex Ferguson's era is remembered not only by English club fans but also by football lovers worldwide. Over 26 years of unwavering leadership, Sir Alex led MU to 13 English Premier League championships and won the Champions League twice.
So, what should we consider standard expectations in the end? The club's development trajectory indeed began to change in 2005 after the purchase of a controlling stake by American businessman Malcolm Glazer. However, this became evident after the departure of the legendary Ferguson. The succession of coaches did not restore the club to its former glory.
Successive Coaching Changes
David Moyes inherited a robust and illustrious team. However, in a short time, with the support of the leadership, the specialist succeeded. Louis van Gaal also had a reasonably powerful squad but made mistakes in transfers and ultimately vacated the position of the team's manager. There are also questions about transfers during José Mourinho's tenure at the club. The purchase of Paul Pogba recently ranked second in the list of the worst transfers of the Red Devils. It was the arrival of the French footballer that many associate with the subsequent division within the team. Charismatic Solskjaer, who replaced Mourinho, managed to reunite the team and regain the fans' favor. Still, the Norwegian's authority was insufficient to decline Cristiano Ronaldo's invitation. The transfer had fatal consequences for Solskjaer's career at the English club.
Ten Hag's First Season
Eric ten Hag successfully weathered the trial of his first season. A strengthened Manchester United delighted with stability at Old Trafford. The club won the English League Cup for the first time in six years (the same tournament from which the team was eliminated yesterday). It remained unclear whether the reserve of strength for the next season was preserved for the Red Devils coach or if the resource was exhausted back then. Currently, the results lead to discouraging conclusions.
Balancing Business Model and Legacy
What can fans of one of England's oldest clubs expect? Will the pragmatic business model that keeps the Red Devils in the optimal earning zone prevail, or will the priceless legacy of one of the oldest teams eventually outweigh it? The situation may be positively influenced by the arrival of other shareholders. However, even in such a scenario, one should not hope for an instant result.
But as long as the coach believes in success, as long as the team maintains a fighting spirit, and "Glory, Glory Man United" is heard over Old Trafford, Devils fans continue to believe that the legend is alive. There is still another golden era ahead.
Published by Patrick Jane