Yet again, it’s Groundhog Day at Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of Manchester United (Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

There is a familiar feeling around Old Trafford.

It is the anguish of fans as they see a once-dominant team stumble again, progress on the pitch stall and rumour mill going into overdrive on whether another Manchester United manager will be sacked. It is a deep, dark and foreboding feeling, one that Manchester United fans under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson were safe from but since his retirement, it’s been an all too familiar and unwelcome feeling.

There is a worrying pattern whenever there is talk in the media about the manager getting the sack at Manchester United, the players suddenly start playing with energy and passion before eventually reversing into the terrible form that has led their manager fearing the sack.

We saw it under Jose Mourinho when United were 2-0 down against Newcastle and Mourinho unleashed all his attacking forces to eventually the scoreline into a 3-2 win for Manchester United. I still remember the commentator screaming “This could be the start of a new dawn at Manchester United” after Alexis Sanchez scored a last-gasp winner.

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Alas, it was a false dawn for both Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez, United got thumped the following week by Liverpool and Sanchez’s United career never really got going before his departure to Inter Milan this year.

This cycle is starting once again, poor starts followed by second-half heroics to give the manager a bit of breathing space is something that recent Man United teams have done and it beggars belief, that instead of suddenly bursting into life in the second-half, they can’t do it from kick-off.

I fear that United players are doing this simply to preserve their own skins so that they can continue getting paid for their poor performances, after all a new manager may lead to players being sold, so it’s easier to play good for a game or two, enough to save the manager before being dreadful again.

Next. Manchester United aiming for short-term pain and long-term gain. dark

The problem with this strategy is that it’s not sustainable eventually United will face top teams like Liverpool who will condemn them to an incredibly embarrassing defeat, that the manager will get sacked. The players will then get pumped up and play football that’s out of this world like Ole’s first couple of months before repeating the cycle once again.

Manchester United may very well win against Manchester City again later this week, but no United fan should be proclaiming this as a new dawn, this has happened far too many times in the past to be called a new dawn and that should something not be done to stamp out this toxic cycle within the culture of Manchester United, no matter how experienced, how top calibre a manager is, United will never be able to build a long-term legacy of winning trophies, trophies like the Premier League and the Champions League.