Another day and another poor performance by Manchester United. A nil-all draw to Burnley at home, in a game where United created 37 shots on goal.
While the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and even Liverpool seem to play attractive football week after week, United struggle to find a scoring and passing rhythm.
It seems to be a recurring theme for United in the past four years since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
So what is it that is making Manchester United struggle?
Surely it isn’t all Jose Mourinho’s fault because it began prior to his time at the club.
Under David Moyes the club had an ageing list that required rejuvenation but not to an overdramatic proportion. Unfortunately for Moyes, he had the inexperienced Ed Woodward running the transfer business and his incompetence to land targets never gave Moyes a fair chance at succeeding.
Watching Moyes on the touchline was like watching the Titanic sink. No matter how hard he tried, Moyes had little chance of succeeding because the players he inherited didn’t support his philosophies that were only proven to succeed at mid-table clubs.
While the players didn’t support Moyes, Moyes himself must take some of the blame for his failures. Moyes sacked long standing United assistance, Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen, in favour of his right hand men from Everton Steve Round and Jimmy Lumsden.
The change in coaching staff was the start of Moyes’ demise because the United players who were once training to compete with the likes of Carles Puyol and Xavi were now at training being compared to Phil Jagielka.
While Moyes’ demise was the result of the players and his own failure to change, Louis Van Gaal’s failed tenure at United was solely due to his own misgivings.
Van Gaal had an agenda to change the entire playing list and culture at the club. While some coaches would have looked at the success the club achieved in 2012/13 when they won the title in Ferguson’s final year, Van Gaal still believed the club needed a dramatic overhaul to become successful.
In his first year, Van Gaal sold and loaned out Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Shinji Kagawa, Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher, Nani, Tom Cleverly and Javier Hernandez.
All nine players featured prominently in Ferguson’s final season and many were considered leaders at the club.
Van Gaal’s ruthless player turnover tore the heart out of the club and the lack of leadership on the field was the result of many of United’s lacklustre performances during the Van Gaal era.
So now to the Jose Mourinho era, which hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. Why are United continuing to struggle under the self proclaimed ‘Special One’?
Mourinho’s first problem is the playing list. Mourinho has said countless times that he is happy with his playing list but in reality Mourinho would wish he had inherited Ferguson’s squad.
Mourinho has a squad of players purchased by three different managers. Having a squad of players from three different managers results in dysfunctional performances and a lack of balance, which is evident in many of United’s performances. Mourinho needs time to work out which players are required and which do not fit his philosophy.
Another key reason for Mourinho’s lack of success is the amount individuals in the team.
Liverpool, Tottenham and Leicester’s recent success is due to the team playing as a team, with players working for one another. At United there is a sense of players playing for themselves instead of for the team.
A lack of pressing and covering for players is a reason the team has struggled so far this season and were smashed 4-0 by Chelsea.
Only Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford have shown any heart for the club, while the likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini play every week but seem to be sponging off the clubs finances.
There is no ‘I’ in team and the quicker Mourinho realises there is no time for individuals, the quicker the success will return to the Theatre of Dreams.