There is a serious internal culture problem at Manchester United

Manchester United will need to overcome whatever is their problem if they want to be successful. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters

Manchester United will need to overcome whatever is their problem if they want to be successful. Photo: John Sibley/Reuters

Published Aug 20, 2022


Cape Town - It has been a truly horrible start to the league campaign for Manchester United. There is now no denial that something is seriously wrong within the club’s internal structures.

Under new manager Erik ten Hag, the Red Devils opened the league season with a 2-1 defeat against Brighton, before following that up with a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Brentford.

The club is getting basic aspects of the game wrong. There is a serious internal culture problem at the club, which is preventing a talented crop of players from achieving their true potential.

The fact that Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire – and even to an extent David de Gea – have never achieved their true potential on a regular basis, is not their fault alone, but also the fault of a problematic structure within the club.

This problematic internal issue was also the reason Paul Pogba never realised his true potential in over five years at United, and why, now, even Bruno Fernandes’ game has gone down.

Ten Hag arrived at United with an impressive reputation, which was carved out at Ajax Amsterdam. He however arrived with no experience in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

It is still early and the problems the club face are not his fault. However, he faces a difficult task to revive a demotivated and wounded United side, something that their several managers – since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013 – have struggled to do.

United have also repeatedly committed transfer mishaps for almost a decade now, with seemingly no interest in refining things.

Unlike Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who does a thoroughly exhaustive research process before signing players, who are sometimes not the most glamorous names around, United have taken a shotgun approach, which has involved giving a big-name player a massive amount of money to join the Old Trafford outfit.

The Casemiro case proves that United may again be trying this.

If one thing is certain, United do not seem like a team that would suit Casemiro’s style of play. If he does move to Old Trafford, there is no doubt that money is likely to be a big motivating factor.

United have paid the price for not investing faith and money in younger talent, which they could groom over time.

The Glazer ownership has rightfully attracted criticism, as the club is seemingly run by people who feel that shotgun success stories are possible in football.

In reality they are, but the chances of them happening are minimal, especially in the current day and age.

For United to get back on track, Ten Hag now needs to not even focus on a top-four finish, which would have been the club’s mandate a few weeks ago.

He now needs to get them to play basic football correctly.

The team needs to resemble a functioning unit instead of being all over the place and being made a mockery of by opponents who exploit shoddy holes in their tactics.