Can United finish in the top four? Probably not, but don’t blame Ole

Football fans (United fans and yours truly included) can be a fickle bunch. A run of defeats or wins can produce intensely varying emotional reactions.

One month Ole is the second coming and the next month he’s worse than Moyes (ok, maybe not).

But here are a few things we do know for sure, once we wade through a lot of the BS:

  • United are a better team playing on the counter.
  • United have sorely missed a quality leader in the middle of the pitch with Pogba missing most of the season (and AWOL on the pitch since March).
  • United are still a striker short, although Martial is performing admirably well.
  • This squad needs considerable investment but hasn’t gotten it when needed.
  • Imagine a season where Fernandes was bought in the summer and United had invested in a striker as well.

    More chances created. More goals scored. The team doesn’t need to sit back as much. Defending actually gets better. Better results.

    And – if you dare whisper it – Pogba doesn’t throw as much of a stink for wanting to leave and actually plays more often.

    Given City’s troubles, United would now be challenging for 2nd place, despite Ole’s training methods, tactics or whatever else you wish to blame him for.

    This isn’t a defence of the Manchester United manager. But the biggest criticism of him since his permanent appointment last season is that top players didn’t want to play for him because they expected Pochettino to be appointed instead.

    As such, the board probably did the right thing by selling Lukaku. But not buying a replacement (even one, a la Javier Hernandez, that would be coming off the bench)?

    And not bringing in Fernandes when the club clearly needed both a creative midfielder AND a leader, at a time Pogba was looking to leave?

    That is regressive thinking and will cost United tens of millions in the Premier League revenue share when they finish the league outside the top three / four.

    Man City’s potential ban (which will probably be reduced to 1 year, or might even get suspended) may yet take United to the Champions League.

    But let’s not rely on others’ misfortune to get us across the line. This squad needs reinforcements, and it’s not Ole to blame if he doesn’t get them.