Manchester United’s tendency to concede late is fast becoming an Achilles heel for them, with goal-scoring problem already in the locker, conceding late just adds to the misery of Van Gaal at Old Trafford.
There’s a saying in football that many managers tend to speak out to their players – ‘don’t drop your intensity after 70-minutes’. It sounds like a sentence managers can speak to the players in half-time interval of each game but there is some relevance that managers think of these things before the game only.
It’s a natural thing that players become a bit disintegrated in terms of their intensity around 70-75 minute mark, so managers generally make substitutions around that period and change team shape a bit according to the given match situation. At this high level of football, these things should be sorted out and many managers and players do sort this out on their own.
Manchester United has had this tendency to drop off after the 70-75 minute mark and to be honest this thing is a continuum from Sir Alex Ferguson’s era and not solely in this Van Gaal era, they seem to loose their way and grip on more than few occasions but having said that, under Sir Alex they even scored late goals too, but for Van Gaal’s current United, scoring is a curse which seem to go away and add conceding late into it, just makes the misery of the Dutchman at Old Trafford increase two-fold.
Well, if we talk of this season, United have conceded 15 goals in the second half of games and 10 of them have come in last 15 minutes of the game which clearly states that this 70-minute mark crossing doesn’t give a good signal. Just take instances of them conceding late against Newcastle, Southampton and as recently as yesterday at Denmark, where they conceded in the 77th minute to loose the tie. `
If we go 6-7 years back in the era of Sir Alex, United were early sleepers at that time too, we should remember one game in 2007 where Arsenal came from goal down to win it in last 7 minutes of the game, in post-match presser Arsene Wenger said that his team played against two ‘kinds’ of United, one before the 70-minute mark and one after 75-minute mark. There has been many instances under Sir Alex of conceding late but scoring late was also in the locker that time.
There was always a thinking that Van Gaal will atleast take two seasons to make United an elite club in Europe again, but come the second part of second season, his team is fast becoming a joke and conceding late just take out any fight left in the team, the problem under Van Gaal in conceding late is that players don’t have confidence of scoring goals, so once they concede late, the match seems over and that’s it.
It doesn’t seem very bright for Van Gaal for United and this perennial problem of conceding late just keeps on hurting him and his team, frankly speaking, this Manchester United will take 10 years and not become an elite club in Europe, that’s how low the quality of this squad is.
In general footballing terms, drop in concentration even in the last second of the game is not allowed for players and even for managers screaming in the touchline, it’s a funny game where the game might be won or lost from the last kick and can be very painful for the team loosing from those instances.
I asked one question, is this conceding late problem of United a coincidence or not and the answer seem the latter one, it’s becoming a headache, a new headache for Van Gaal to deal with his team, drop in concentration is not allowed in football at any time and dropping off after 70-75 minute mark itself is a bit of a forlorn thing to happen.
By Mizgan Ahmed on 19th February, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans