Terrace Talk: Man United - We can’t just wait for teams to slip up

Congratulations, then, to Everton on their magnificent 1-1 victory at Old Trafford. I say ‘victory’ facetiously because, judging from Duncan Ferguson’s full-time shenanigans, they had clearly won some sort of trophy, right?

Terrace Talk: Man United - We can’t just wait for teams to slip up

Congratulations, then, to Everton on their magnificent 1-1 victory at Old Trafford. I say ‘victory’ facetiously because, judging from Duncan Ferguson’s full-time shenanigans, they had clearly won some sort of trophy, right?

Dearie me, Dunc — turn the emotionalism down a bit or you’re going to end up headbutting someone. It’s a long season, after all, as some United fans may already be glumly reflecting.

The glumness lies in the dawning realisation that this team just cannot break down sides that are well organised and sit back, no matter how poor, and that we are therefore in for many more boring afternoons like yesterday.

Remember — Everton were two points off the drop zone at kick-off, and any team coming off the back of results such as United’s against City and Spurs should’ve been comfortably putting them to the sword at home.

Instead, we laboured painfully and with almost no imagination. What a curious position to be in, that we are actually more effective against better teams away from home than when dross visits Old Trafford.

Ole surely can’t be happy about the prospect of United only ever being any good as a ‘sit back and hit on the break’ kind of team. Red fans certainly won’t be happy anyway — they pay to see our players play, not to watch the other lot pass the ball while we wait for them to slip up.

Moreover, that last quarter of an hour should’ve seen an old-style United siege, but at no point did it ever feel like the charge for three points was going to catch fire. Where was the all-out movement and commitment? Martial, back to his sulky worst, exemplified the general malaise.

Still, chin up. We certainly weren’t the most disappointed Reds of the week, were we, Mr Corbyn? We did at least avoid defeat, thanks to firm crowd favourite Greenwood and his magic peg.

The way he drove that ball with total confidence into the few available inches of space was simply majestic. We can’t get enough of the lad at the moment, and the buzz when he replaced the reliably useless Lingard was electric.

Hang on; it is being whispered in my ear by my shoulder-angel that we mustn’t label Lingard useless, wretched and so forth because the under-performing multimillionaire social media star has “off-field issues”?

With enormous self-restraint, I am going to resist commenting any further on this week’s stage-managed revelations. Suffice it to say that they did not find universal favour amongst Reds.

‘J-Lingz’ and Martial aren’t the only two in the doghouse this week — Pizza boy Shaw and wimpish flapper De Gea also took their fair share of flack. When Shaw was baited about his size by City fans last week, and I believe Reds were finding it hard not to join in.

Perhaps he, too, has off-field issues we need to hear about in some onion-wielding emotional interview? Assuming he doesn’t eat said onion mid-interview.

Meanwhile, the window approaches and we have a figurative advent calendar of tabloid transfer speculation on the go. Each day you open a new door and another potential target name appears. Mine appears to be defective, as every other door has ‘Haaland’ behind it.

I’m amongst those who are a bit dubious about the campaign to sign him, not least because his Keane-baiting dad was such a bitter ****head. Yes, one shouldn’t visit the sins of the father on the son but, hey, genetics can be a tough master.

More seriously, I wonder whether the Blessed Berb had a good point when he opined the other day that introducing him now might spoil the development of a possible Greenwood/Rashford relationship.

Then again, it’s a rare fan who complains about money being spent. And after all the signals previously sent about purse-strings being tight until the summer, it’s comforting just to think that there might’ve been second thoughts.

It is Christmas, after all. I’ll leave you to dream about what Super Ted might be putting in Santa’s sack. And no, sadly, it won’t be resignation letter, cheeky.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox