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3 Manchester United players who must step up along with van Gaal

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Wayne Rooney

Blame the manager all you want, but when your players don’t perform to their abilities, there is only so much the coach can do. Brendan Rodgers went through the same at Liverpool and the best example would have to be Jose Mourinho who is also experiencing the same at Chelsea. How can a group of Premier League winners flirt with relegation just six months after lifting the title?

For van Gaal, there definitely seems to be some flaws in his methods and of course, the manager has to extract the most out of his team. However, he is not helped by the current form of some of his player.

Here is a look at three Manchester United players who equally need to improve along with their coach

Wayne Rooney

The Manchester United captain has been criticized enough but still seems to be an indispensable name of the starting eleven, when fit. The striker has scored 2 goals in the Premier League in 12 games this season, an appalling statistic for a striker, and Manchester United’s supposed main man.

Wayne Rooney

Given that he is indispensable, for the sake of the team and the fans, the England captain really needs to put a shift in over the festive period when there is a flurry of games. Manchester United, who were deemed title challengers initially, now look like top 4 challengers. Even for that, with many teams in the frame for the coveted Champions League spots next season in the form of Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Leicester City, they cannot afford to take anything for granted.

The team needs goal and Wayne Rooney must deliver.

Juan Mata

The Spaniard looked to be Manchester United’s most influential player in the start of the season. Mata was delivering week in, week out and finally looked worth the money David Moyes spent on him, especially because he was playing well consistently.

However, in the last few weeks the player has looked nothing like his former self and his performances have validated Jose Mourinho’s decision to offload him and do so at a hefty price.

The last match against Bournemouth saw Manchester United lose 2-1 and the lack of creativity was staggering. He made no key passes, was dispossessed 2 times and an impressive pass accuracy of 90% yielded no result because there was little innovation involved on his part. Of course, Mata is not the only one to blame but he has the responsibility to provide the team with the much needed spark. He is experienced enough to have a positive impact despite the rot in the team and not use it as a sorry excuse. And despite van Gaal’s tactics that may curb attacking threat, the Spaniard is offered the most freedom in the team and the system and is often supported by not one but two defensive midfielders.

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman was hugely impressive upon his arrival. It looked like a masterstroke to spend the kind of money United did on him despite the fact that he is a “raw” teenager.

anthony martial

Lately, his form has been pretty bleak in front of goal. His last goal in the Premier League came back in September, when everyone thought United had landed a superstar in making. While that might be true, Martial has to improve in front of goal. It doesn’t look like he lacks composure or is nervous, just that his shooting seems to be off. He did score in United’s defeat to Wolfsburg recently so that might be an encouraging sign for an upturn in form.

It might be unfair to criticize a 19-year-old who shouldn’t be solely responsible for a team’s results but the unfortunate situation he finds himself in sees Manchester United being overly reliant on him, especially since their senior striker is evidently not doing too well.

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