Are Manchester United that bad?

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Pep Guardiola laughed when asked about Manchester United as title challengers. How far away are they from competing at the highest level?

It’s no secret that Manchester United are experiencing a turbulent period, brought on from the culmination of player misconduct, poor results, and a general sense of unease. The following article will dissect Manchester United’s current situation, challenges, and future steps they must take once again to become formidable contenders for the coveted Premier League title.

Player misconduct has been a prevalent issue over the last few years, casting a dark cloud over the club. Arrivals of high-profile players such as Jadon Sancho were expected to usher in a new culture centred around hard work and success.

However, violent off-field incidents involving players such as Mason Greenwood and Antony have raised questions about the club’s discipline player screening process. These events not only damage the club’s reputation but also severely impact team performance, disrupting player relationships and training sessions.

The club has had a coterie of managers over the last couple of seasons which has resulted in the club wasting resources

Injuries have plagued United’s squad during the beginning of this season. Big names such as Varane, Shaw, and Malacia have all been absent from the squad, leading to reserve players being thrust into the starting lineup. These disruptions not only limit Ten Hag’s strategy but also impact team cohesion with the constant change of playstyle. Injury management will be an essential skill Ten Hag must master if United are to adapt and accel this season.

The club’s managerial changes over recent years have hindered United from building long-term goals; the club has had a coterie of managers over the last couple of seasons which has resulted in the club wasting resources. This has led to a sense of lost identity, with each new manager trying to implement new tactics on top of the previous ones. Ultimately, the constant shifting and changing of ideals have affected player performance and fan perception of the club.

However, Manchester United are taking small steps to combat these challenges: Erik Ten Hag has been United’s manager for a whole season already, and although not perfect, he is trying to establish a unique playstyle.

The club has signed prolific, exciting youngsters such as Rasmus Hojlund to try and mitigate the injury problem. Player misconduct is still a massive issue with many off-field incidents still being looked at. The club has tried to regain some reputation through the use of PR and club-issued statements.

Ultimately, United have a mountain to climb if they want to battle the giants of Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Nonetheless, once they solve their current challenges, they will make a formidable opponent.

Image: Wikimedia Commons – Steve Collis

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