Football

Manchester United: How they fell behind their European rivals

Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid (©GettyImages)
Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid (©GettyImages).

Champions for the 20th time in English football, Manchester United fans have something to cheer about, and making it to 20 titles now has put them two clear of Liverpool, and it will probably be a long time before any other Premier League side reaches 20.

But while United have become masters of the English game, they have not looked as threatening on the European stage, being eliminated from the group by FC Basel in 2011/12 and crashing out to Real Madrid in the last 16 tie of 2012/13. There are a number of factors to evaluate the Red Devil’s deterioration, and the first is that they have no identity as a club.

Barcelona have their tiki-taka style which has become famous all over the world, Bayern Munich have their rich total football style with never say die attitude and Juventus have their ruthless counter-attacking style, which made the club a world-renowned name in the late 1970’s. 

United have never had their own unique style, and simply just try to move the ball up the pitch to Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie. A very English style that is more suited to smaller clubs in the Premier League. If Manchester United do want to take Europe again, they should work on their own unique set-up, but with a manager like David Moyes, that may not happen.

The current crop of United players lack quality. David de Gea has his moments on goal, but for a top club, he is too inconsistent and would be better suited at a club targeting a Europa League finish, not European domination. 

The defence is also poor, as Vidic is an important player in the line-up, but is usually injured - Rio Ferdinand has never been a world-class defender, and this season, United’s highest conceding season since 2005/06 shows that without Vidic, he does not look good.

Rafael and Evra are also poor, and in Buttner, United have potentially one of the best wing-backs in the Premier League, but much like, the now highly rated, Paul Pogba, the Red Devils aren’t willing to give him a chance.

Michael Carrick may have one of the best pass percentages in Europe, but the vast majority of them are short and not game changing. He also can't influence a game like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andrea Pirlo or Xavi can. 

While Robin van Persie is a lethal finisher on his day, he is highly inconsistent, and was lucky with a few offside calls that never came this season, while Wayne Rooney, like the vast majority of English players, is over-hyped by the press and the fans.

Manchester United also have a feeble excuse for youth, with United fans trying to cover up that fact by proclaiming that Nick Powell and Wifried Zaha are the next big things, when in truth, they are not. 

Nick Powell has not shown us anything special yet and Zaha may be looking good, in the Championship. United’s youth school is also nothing special and it means that currently they don’t have a bright future, while Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona, AC Milan, Liverpool and Real Madrid have bright young talents, and could leave United behind in the years to come.

 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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