Thursday, May 03, 2007

United's choice of boots cost them dearly in Milan horror show...

United were on the wrong end of what can only be descrided as a 3-0 hammering in the San Siro last night. The result killed any lingering hope of an all English Champions League final - but many will be happy about that given the history between United and Liverpool.

The Red's performance was nothing short of embarrassing as time and time again they didn't pick up players around the United penalty area. United weren't helped by the absence of Rio Ferdinand, however Vidic returned but looked understandably a bit rusty.

What I couldn't understand was the United players choice of boots/studs. The conditions weren't great, Milan had relaid the pitch for this game, it was perfectly flat, but when the game kicked off it did so in heavy rain.

However, many of the United players couldn't stand up due to water on the pitch, this factor played a large part in the Red's downfall. United had gone one down early in the game to an excellent Kaka goal - though he was left totally unmarked on the edge of the box, before that Van der Sar had to make a good save from Seedorf, then just a few minutes after the Brazilian scored inexplicably Heinze who had already fallen over about three times collected the ball on the left edge of the United box and instead of clearing his lines he played it back to Vidic who then fell over as he tried to clear the ball, the ball wasn't cleared and eventually Seedorf crashed it home. That second goal left United with a mountain to climb.

What followed was nothing short of embarrassing really as United didn't hurt Milan in any way shape or form. Tactically Milan had all the answers as they closed down United time and time again. The Red's best chance fell to Fletcher who was put through by Rooney, but just as the Scot was about to shoot, he slipped and fell over as he kicked the ball and sliced it wide. That was the story of United, sloppy all over the park, falling over like the Keystone Cops, it was a night to forget. Not one player barring possibly Van der Sar can hold up his head.

While United players were falling around, the Milan players were not, I'm not saying that the Red's would have won if they'd chosen the right boots/studs, but I'm saying that if they'd paid more attention to the length of studs then they wouldn't have been falling over and that second goal wouldn't have gone in and Fletcher might well have scored. Getting such details wrong at this level is frankly unacceptable.

Next up it's Man City, the Red's wont have any time for moping we need to win this game or at least take a point, losing the game would be fatal.


  1. There are many reasons for this defeat, and the choice of boots may have been one of them although I would be surprised if they really got that wrong - it is much easier to slip going backwards (defending) than if attacking. Utd were on the back foot for all of the first half.

    The reasons for defeat are more along the lines of:

    1) Tough season at home. Fatigue and injuries are the result of having to concentrate so much on the Premiership. Both Liverpool and Milan could 'relax' in the closing stages of their leagues.

    2) Milan got the tactics right and played brilliantly. Benitez knows how to organise his team much better than Ferguson. Especially against Mediterraenian competition where the setup of the team is the name of the game. Man Utd have their way of playing which is effective against domestic competition and very occasionally leads to a steam-rolling of Italians (Juve 99 or Roma 07), but only very occasionally. English clubs must choose between success at home and in Europe. Getting both right is almost impossible. The treble of 99 was incredible and will not be repeated soon - lets not kid ourselves about the amount of luck that was required for that...

  2. I acknowledge that we were completely outclassed and that Milan would've destroyed anybody last night. Even if we had different boots I reckon they would have still beaten us, they were awesome. What really puzzles and pisses me off is the fact that we went out without even as much as a wimper of passion. There was not one moment were we looked as though we were going to try and make something happen, the keeper didn't have a save to make!!
    Having an off night is one thing, but not making up for it by working your bollocks off and forcing yourself back into the game is another. I am not saying the result would have been different but the line "It's better to burn out than to fade away" would not have been out of place last night. Coming out of that, what a waste of a substitute was Lousi Saha? The guy looked like he had 100 places he would have rather been. Alan Smith should have been thrown on, at least you are guaranteed passion from him. I have always liked Saha, but that was diabolical. Any thoughts?

  3. I think there's a element of truth in both of your replies. Yes, the United players must have been tired and the injuries haven't helped one bit.

    But the United players contributed greatly to their own downfall by not picking up their opposite numbers. Take the Kaka goal, he was left completely unmarked as he ran into the box. Much the same as Seedorf was when he had that early drive which Van der Sar tipped it over the bar. The organisation and marking was totally and utterly shambolic.

    We made Milan look better than they actually are and I think Liverpool will feel that they can beat them, they could be right too.

    I was talking to another Red today and he agrees with me that those United players who went out wearing blades as opposed to traditional studed boots cost us dearly. Heinze fell over nearly every time he went near the ball in the opening 15 minutes.

    And going back to the first leg, we had four defenders who only had to mark Kaka - yet he scored two goals... our defending and lack of proper preparation cost us big time, there is no excuse for getting your choice of footwear wrong. I'd expect that even at Junior level. As I said that was really embarrassing.

    Regarding going out with not so much as a wimper. Sadly we've been here too many times under Fergie, I thought Giggs in particular let the side down, he looked frightened to death and never go into the game, Ronaldo looks to be carrying a knock and Rooney was isolated.

  4. Let's be honest here, that game was an unmitigated disaster on multiple levels, and personally, the choice of footwear was close to the bottom of my list of reason for losing. I won't disagree entirely, but the fact that nobody on the entire side could hang with Seedorf and Gattuso last night, let alone touch Kaka, was far more telling then anything else. Tactically, Rooney was stranded alone out there because Gattuso was single handedly crushing both Carrick and Ronaldo the ENTIRE game. Personally, I would have like to see Smith in the lineup rather then Fletcher since you're guaranteed to get some ferocity on the pitch when he's playing. I could go on, but honestly I don't think I really mattered who you put out there because Milan was slick, tough, and unstoppable.

  5. Raging. I agree with all of your points, but you cannot play football if your backside is planted firmly on the pitch, which is where Heinze, Fletcher and Vidic found themselves at crucial points in the game. It isn't meant to be an excuse. I'm pointing out that if United cannot get the basics right, ie correct choice of footwear, then what chance is there when it comes to tactics?

    Over the two legs bad defending cost us dearly, it wasn't just the back four the midfield was awful in the second leg.


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