Lessons Man U. Taught Chelsea
3 emphatic goals to 1! that was the end result of a very eventful Premier league Shocker, between Alex Fergusson’s Manchester United and Andre Villas-Boas’s Chelsea. In a game where the end result could easily have read 6-3, like in tennis, due to flagrant, but pardonable, misses by Wayne Rooney (missed penalty, strike on the Goal post) Goal empty misses by Fernando Torres and Ramires etc!
Chelsea, largely thanks to Billionaire Abrahamovic and the now legendary Jose Mourinho,have become in the last decade, one of the most influential teams in the English premier league, European champions league and in fact, world football. Under Mourinho, they dominated the English football scenery and are blessed with very talented world class individual players. They however have been very epileptic since the “special one” Jose Mourinho left Chelsea few years ago. Re-enter the Manchester United dominance.
On May 2, 1993, Sir Alex Fergusson won his 1st championship title with Manchester united as manager! (Man U’s 8th title at the time) Having won the FA cup 2 seasons, prior to this. Co-incidentally as at 1993, Liverpool had 18 league titles and the absolute record. Today, 18 years later, with Sir Alex Ferguson still in charge, Man united has a total 19 titles, having won 11 titles in 18 yrs. And Liverpool still on 18, PHENOMENAL!
So who else is better eligible to give us and Chelsea a lesson about how to win consistently but Alex Ferguson’s Man United? That, they did this weekend!
This Sunday, the 18th of September 2011, Manchester United officially announced its intention to retain its title and stretch its title record to 20 ! Manchester continues to teach the likes of Chelsea (and all interested) lessons filled with so many chapters on how to be a regularly successful team! Below are some observational lessons they have taught us:
Money is great but does not buy you a performing team! Plan ahead! The players in Manchester united all play as a team, and this is possible because they have been prepared, moulded from the past to be ‘the Team’ of the moment. Anderson, Cleverly, Jones, Smalling amongst others, are players who have been in the background waiting for their moment to take centre stage as they are rightfully doing now. Some of these players are even ?lent ?out (and progression observed) to other premiership teams to pick up playing experience. But with a clear understanding that their end goal is to return and perform for Manchester united as they did against Chelsea Buying and assembling star players or coaches as is practised by Chelsea amongst others for example does not guarantee you sustained success over a long period of time. Money has to be well spent on the right players, with a right pre-defined philosophy and the right way to get continued results.
A Solid defence is your base for success: The defence is the base for Man United?s game. Everyone participates in defending. So much emphasis is put on their defending that even the attackers have explicit roles to play. A perfect example is Wayne Rooney, coming back as deep as his own half to steal balls off Chelsea Midfielders, and immediately re-initiate attacks.
Investing in Youth Stars is as good as Gold! With an average age of 24, Manchester United has a base to only progress now and for the future. Man united plan and play with young ambitious players, who are clearly aware that they are an integral part of probably the greatest club in the world. They know that to keep their place in the 22 man team, they must always perform, or give their best! This explains why they notch victory after victory, title after title etc Man United?s 3rd Goal vs. Chelsea sums up this point glaringly!
“Change of Pace” football is key: In contrast to Chelsea at the weekend for example, Man United has a game plan that incorporates frequent change of pace especially when they attack. All three goals they scored had this in it. You could rightfully argue that the youth factor helps this fact. This change of pace was absent in Chelsea at the right moments and could be a reason why Fernando Torres is struggling -due to the relative ‘lenteur’ it takes for the ball to be moved from his defence line to him upfront. How many times have we seen Rooney, Nani, and Jones etc explode suddenly from their half into spaces to wreck havoc on their opponents? Nani’s goal yesterday is witness to this! The way he just increased his pace to waltz through three Chelsea players and strike an unstoppable ball into the roof of the net was self explanatory.
Always pressurize your opponents in your own half: When quality players like Hernandez, Nani, Rooney, Torres, Young are allowed to operate in the opponents half without consequential pressure you receive goals like Nani’s goal. Where he almost was practically escorted by 3 Chelsea players to shooting at a goal. And what a great Goal it was! Chelsea defended a large part of the game, retreating backwards and at times running behind their direct opponents due to bad placements, inferiority in numbers and sheer cleverness by the Man united players. Instead of running towards their opponents by frontal confrontations as was done by Man united.
Stand as a coach and club by your star players when they are in trouble: Drogba has been very instrumental to recent successes by Chelsea, and for reasons un-interesting to us, has been kind of side lined by club and Coach in Chelsea. On the other hand, scandals that rocked the private lives of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs were so well handled by Sir Alex Fergusson (Rooney got a new contract, Ryan Giggs Is still in the club) that these players have no other option but to be performing for their clubs, they feel not let down by their employers and club during trying times( Rooney scored again vs. Chelsea-His 9th goal of this campaign-,Giggs scored and saved Man united a point in their Mid-week champions league encounter vs. Benfica Lisbon)
These players are financially secure and their source of motivation has to come from elsewhere, that?s where Sir Fergusson comes in.
Sir Alex Ferguson is a Living Legend: At 69 years of age (Born on 31st December 1941) he is so tactically, man-management, team building, innovative and clear thinking strong it is unprecedented!
The changes he made during the game and the way he has been able to keep all these big profile players in check, keep them success hungry, choose his right staff and win games like this one vs. Chelsea is quite Phenomenal. He is twice the age of The Chelsea manager and is still able to mange or coach in an equally modern playing style ,surrounded with players young enough to be his grand children ! To be able to still keep a player like Ryan Giggs, who has won everything possible in club football still motivated is an eye opener for us all.
I really do not know if Manchester united will be crowned champions this coming summer, it really is too early to say, as experience reminds us, there will be dips in team form, injuries, unlucky days etc but one thing they taught us all in their Sunday afternoon lecture, and that we could all be certain of is that, they will be serious title contenders in all fronts and they might even get better, due to the youth players in this team.
The Manchester lesson for this week is over.