Manchester United: Closing the gap to glory

Nicole Deans expresses her opinion on Manchester United’s current form and predicts what we should expect from the Red Devils this season.

It is true that Manchester City were simply untouchable sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League last season, going on to win it. Manchester United may have been the runners up, but a close second they were not. 19 points, to be precise, separated the two teams.

Believe it or not but last seasons second place position was in fact their highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

So, what can the red side of Manchester do to hone in on their neighbours and fight for the title of this upcoming season?

Squad strength

The first step would be to strengthen areas of the squad. It was apparent that United simply should have been scoring more goals. However, splurging on more attacking players most likely wouldn’t change this. With the likes of Lukaku, Martial and developing young talent such as Rashford, the issue isn’t the lack of goal scorers, but the lack of service to them and the style of play.

While David De Gea has once again excelled for his club, it is apparent that the back line needs strengthening. There have been some inconsistencies with form from the likes of Chris Smalling and a lack of a real connection with those Jose Mourinho has played together.

United are missing that Ferdinand/Vidic esque compatibility. It would be brilliant to get a full season out of Eric Bailly whose physicality adds a real presence to the team, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to think of investing also.

Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld would be a good choice for a centre back. Although after Harry Maguire’s World Cup showing, it is no surprise that Jose is reportedly interested in making him an offer.

With the uncertainty of Luke Shaw’s future and fitness, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider a long term solution to fill in at left back too. Credit where credit is due though, Shaw is putting the hours into his fitness and we can’t fault his attitude.

Fulfil potential

The Red Devils also need to get the best out of those who aren’t fully filling their potential. One example being World Cup winner Paul Pogba. Fred might add some much needed creativity in the midfield area and allow Pogba to go forward, have more freedom and hopefully give him a boost. Lazio’s Milinkovic Savic is said to be unsure on a move. Watch this space though because that could be intriguing!

On the subject of freedom, with the security of an improved solid defence and more free flowing midfield, this would potentially give attacking players more confidence upfront. Thus leading to more goals scored.

All is quiet on the transfer front at the moment but whatever decision Jose makes, surely this isn’t the finished product yet?

Intensity and flair

Ultimately, regardless of money spent on said transfers, without the right mentality and style of play it will mean nothing. Jose Mourinho has drastically improved the team. There is no doubt about that and he deserves some praise.

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It just has to be said that United don’t suit a safe approach. There have been too many games lacking real intensity and flair. Of course there are times all teams have to sit back but the tempo has been overly slow at times.

United’s pre season efforts hasn’t given too much away with many first team players still resting. So who knows what is to come.

The winning mentality has to come back if there is to be a way back! The rest should (hopefully) follow.

You can follow Nicole on Twitter @UnitedSheStands

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