3 Players Who Need to Improve for Manchester United This Season
Ole Gunna Solskjaer’s reign as Manchester United manager has not been pretty to say the least, having won just three of the previous 14 Premier League games since his switch from part time to permeant boss.
This term has been equally as poor as the Reds perch just two points above the relegation zone, along with being the joint third lowest scorers in the division. Their recent 1-1 draw with league leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford, combined with an unbeaten start to the Europa League journey will have slightly raised the mood in Manchester but won’t hide the fact that many at United are still underperforming. Here are three players who need to start raising their game for the once feared force in world football.
Jose Mourinho added Fred to his long list of transfer recruits whilst he was still in charge at United and like most of these acquisitions, the Brazilian has failed to make anything in the way of a positive impact upon the Reds rotten form and sales of Manchester United tickets.
At the eye raising price of £52 million, Shaktar Donetsk will feel they’ve got the better end of the deal after they let the midfielder leave last year, especially the fact he has only two assists and one goal in 33 United appearances.
These numbers are even more startling when you take in consideration the reason he was brought to the club: Mourinho believed his creative brain and passing vision would give another dimension to United’s game, which has been extremely unapparent up until now.
However, their may be a limelight for Fred- following his rare start as the Reds held Jurgen Klopp’s men at home man were impressed by his steady afternoon in which he kept his game short, simple and effective. Now, he needs to push on from this and make up his hefty price tag by acting as that dynamic spark that has often been missing in the midriff of Solsjaker’s set up. He also admitted he is beginning to settle into his new home with his family, which can hopefully coincide with his development on the field.
As one of the more experienced figures in United’s dressing room, often heads will turn in the direction of Juan Mata to set an example to the less experienced members of the squad.
Despite his admirable work off the pitch, Mata’s contribution on it hasn’t matched the same standards. Admittedly, he has only started on four occasions in the league but is yet to register anything in the goal contributions category.
Since his move from Chelsea back in 2014, there’s been a consensus that he has been moved out of his most productive position, in the area behind the striker as an attacking-midfielder. Instead, the Spaniard has often been pushed out onto on the left wing, forced to track back and defend, with little joy.
Now, with United’s growing injury list and Solskjaer’s new found 3-4-1-2 formation that deploys a man ahead of the two sitting in front of the centre-backs, Mata must try persuade his gaffer that he still has that imagination in his locker to provide the strikers with meaningful service.
Another member of United’s uninspiring midfield, Andreas Pereira is probably having his best season as a Red, however this is not a lucrative comparison considering he has played a mere 45 senior fixtures in five years.
Pereira’s best exhibition of his talent to date came as Solskjaer masterminded Liverpool, with the former deployed in behind Matty James and Marcus Rashford, his late runs and link up play a real handful to his opponents.
One good game doesn’t warrant you a regular place on matchday and perhaps Pereira was fortunate to get the nod over the likes of Mata or Mason Greenwood, particularly has he had the third lowest passing accuracy of any outfield player on the pitch.
For the time being, the 23-year-old must grab this opportunity with both hands before United dip into the transfer market for a creative midfielder, meaning Pereira needs to add to his goals (zero) and assist (one) statistics.