In a post-match interview on Tuesday night, United manager Jose Mourinho described Luke Shaw as using ‘his body with my brain’. Quite clearly Mr Mourinho has been employing some sort of mind control on Shaw. This could well be the reason that United are drawing so many matches this season; if Mourinho’s brain is having to concentrate on controlling Luke Shaw then this would obviously leave little processing power for tactical thinking – particularly in the latter stages of matches when no doubt Mr Mourinho’s psychic powers would no doubt be waning.
Perhaps United should have gone for a manager with a bigger head? One would think the obvious choice would have been the man with the biggest bonce in British football – Big (headed) Sam Allardyce. Of course, should ‘Big Face’ have got the nod (pun intended) ahead of the man now being called ‘the Hypnotist’ (by me) there would most probably have been a continuation of the defensive bore-fest employed by professional tortoise impersonator – Louis van Gaal. Big Face may even have built on LVG’s defensive philosophy by employing his famed 7 – 1 – 1 formation, deployed to such tedious effect during his spells with Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn. I guess now we will never know…thank f***k!
However, Mourinho’s current tactic of playing without any defence whatsoever, exciting though it is, does not seem to be paying off quite how he planned so far this season. It may have worked with past United teams whose philosophy was to score more goals than the opposition because, more often than not, they were successful in doing so. But this season, with Pogba hitting the bar more often than George Best in his prime, and a strike force who, without the sublime talents of Mr Ibrahimovic, display about as much penetration as a soft porn film, cannot afford to simply attack at all costs.
All the talk in the media at the moment is of United signing a big name forward for next season, Antoine Griezmann being the obvious target. But perhaps Mourinho should be concentrating on building a defence as solid as castle battlements (complete with ugly gargoyles reminiscent of perhaps Jaap Stam or Steve Bruce) as opposed to the current system that appears to be based on something resembling Swiss cheese.
Ironically, English international defender Phil Jones has been more effective defensively since being out injured; when fit, and playing, opposing teams happily pass the ball to their nimble forwards who would easily skip around Jones – a player blessed with the mobility of a corpse in a tar pit. Jones’ defensive partner, Chris Smalling, came onto a game towards the end of last season which probably saved his United career. His form this season has been adequate, at best. Unfortunately, Smalling has had to return to Castle Frankenstein to have the bolts in his neck replaced and could be out for some time yet. Therefore, Mourinho has no alternative but to field Luke Shaw to try and shore up a defence that appears as convincing as a Donald Trump election promise. Let’s hope Jose’s psychic powers can hold out until the end of the season.