“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.” Donald Trump.
Some might question likening a game of football to a battle, or the season as a whole to a war. However the two really aren’t that far apart. Wars aren’t just fought on battlefields; they’re fought in parliaments, boardrooms, and yes, on the pitch. Whilst you can mostly discount the loss of life, the focus on tactics and mobilizing your army (or in this case squad) in order to gain the advantage isn’t that dissimilar. I always want United to win, granted on some days I want it more than others. Or perhaps more accurately, on some days I hate losing more. Generally playing City is one of those times when I so badly want to win… yet right now I’m remarkably calm. I have gained newfound perspective on football in the last few years, something that is proving very handy with the changes that the club is going through. I have never been one to subscribe to negativity, or seen much of a point in mass panic. Looking at the bright side is something that I find to be much more constructive, especially when it comes to football. There are 38 matches to a Premier League season, yet so much is being put on two games and two losses. In my lifetime we have played big games and lost them, and we have done so in seasons where we have gone on to win trophies. We have had worse starts to seasons with both better and lesser squads, and gone on to win trophies. We had Sir Alex Ferguson though… and I suspect the reason that people are panicking now more than before is that this is no longer the case.
One of my main issues with modern football is the general lack of patience that is shown by owners and fans alike. If you aren’t performing to the best of everyone’s abilities within a handful of games you aren’t good enough. It doesn’t always take weeks or even months to settle into a new club, either as a player or a manager. It could take a season. It may even take two. Sadly it’s not very often that someone is given the chance or more importantly the time to settle in. David Moyes is settling in at United, but he is still getting to know his squad in a competitive manner. It is a very different situation going from being the opposition manager and planning for how to play against players, to being the man in charge of those players. It’s a very different situation being at a club where your fans adore you for finishing above Liverpool, to a club where the fans expect you to win titles, and not just games…especially when some of the latter of those fans have been so spoilt and are so used to having one man that always save the day. The very thought of change scares them silly, especially when the change sees someone who has never won a trophy take over. Moyes hasn’t had an easy start. United have had on paper and reality, the toughest start of the season of any of the top teams, and all things considered I really don’t think we are doing that bad…
I have been a very strong supporter of Moyes becoming the new Manchester United manager for several years. He screams United. His attitude to youth, training and the game suits us. However I never expected it to be a smooth ride. It wouldn’t have been for whoever had come in after Sir Alex. Yet despite some ups and downs in both the transfer window and the early season, things seem to be going quite well. Moyes addressed something that Fergie has failed to for years: the need for a bit of muscle in the middle, getting Fellaini. Other transfers fell through, but the manager wasn’t necessarily to blame. We started the season strong. Hell!… Moyes even got his first bit of silverware, even if it was just the Charity Shield. We beat Swansea away, drew to Chelsea at home, both of which were better results than the equivalent games of last season. There have been bad results, there’s been some pretty bad football, but how can you expect a new manager to get to know his team, to experiment with formation, tactics and players when he’s playing some of the best teams in the league?
All the pieces of the puzzle aren’t going to necessarily fit together straight away.
There are 38 games to a league season. There is the Champions League, the FA Cup and the League Cup, all there for the manager to take advantage of…to learn from. We may not win a trophy this season, but we may not have won anything had a different manager taken over, or if Fergie had still been in charge. We may not win a trophy, but we will be in contention for them, and to be perfectly honest…I fully expect us to win something.
Sometimes a horrible match and result such as today is a blessing in disguise, it gives you a kick up the backside and you learn from it. Today was one day and one game out of so many, so we may have lost the battle, but the war is far from over.