It was always going to be a big ask to win the league, but to capitulate in such a gutless manner was an insult to the travelling support and all of us who believed in them.
To concede a first minute goal is just one of those things, but it’s how you react to such set-backs that separates Champions from also-rans at the end of the season.
Let’s not kid ourselves, in that first half we could have been four nil down – we were totally over-run. It was evident that Ancelotti got the team wrong (again). We had no width, we had no pace, we had no movement in the midfield. We played Essien, who has had a disastrous season, for 90 minutes, yet Ramires who is virtually the only inventive player we have started on the bench. Kalou lightweight & rarely plays well from the start of a match. Surely Ancelotti must see these things too?
It’s unfair to focus just on our short comings, because as bad as we were, we would have struggled to overcome United when they play with such focus & determination. We barely chalked up 20 reasonable minutes and that simply isn’t good enough.
This was the biggest game of the season, not that you’d know it by the lack of attitude we demonstrated. Perhaps we were complacent as all the pressure was on United – they were the ones that had surrendered 12 of a 15 point lead, we were the form team, we had put together the longest winning streak of the season.
But it didn’t look like complacency, it looked like fear & United took advantage & terrorised us. The performance reminded me a lot of our loss away to Liverpool – negative, tentative & an almost an air of disinterest. Disappointing doesn’t even begin to cover it.
In 2007 we finally lost the title at Arsenal – Mourinho marched across he pitch to do his famous “chin-up” – we had nothing to be ashamed off – we fought tooth & nail – we were relentless – even when we went down to ten men – we could hold our heads up because we fought all the way – where was that attitude yesterday?
Should we look at the manager or the players themselves for this? Could there be such a thing as too many senior players in a team? Too many players who think they have seen it, done it, got the medals? They feel that a manager has nothing to teach them? Especially a manager who will most probably be managing somewhere else next season. Only the players themselves will know the answers to these questions.
Personally i think we do need some new signings who are hungry for success & then there are our youngsters too – we need to use them or lose them. Ancelotti needs to put a bit of trust in them because they couldn’t have played any worse than some of our so called stars last night – at least they’d have put some effort in.
Perhaps we also need a manager that can get angry occasionally – sometimes he is too nice, too reasonable. I am not advocating anyone as manipulative as Fergie or as batty as Wenger but Carlo does make me wonder whether he has the where with all to motivate the team when necessary & whether his mild demeanour allows us to be on the rough end of refereeing decisions – refs being safe in the knowledge that he won’t kick up a fuss.
The season now will meander to a less than illustrious end with only supremacy over Arsenal to play for – it all could have been so different. The media will inevitably focus on the manager’s position & we will invariably face another closed season of upheaval & speculation – can’t wait.
Well done United – the best team won, but in truth, you had little competition.