As Gazidis considers candidates, he must be worried by Man Utd’s mistakes

Manchester United 1 Sevilla 2
Ben Yedder 74 Ben Yedder 78 Lukaku 84

As he figures out who to appoint, Ivan Gazidis must look at how Man United  got it wrong  with their managers since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Sir Alex appointed his friend David Moyes and when that didn’t work, Ed Woodward had to hire Louis van Gaal, whose team passed the ball sideways and put The Theatre of Dreams to sleep.

Last night Alexis Sanchez lost the ball 20 times and Danny Drinkwater, talking on the Sky’s Debate after the game, told Ian Wright that Sanchez’s problem is that “He’s still trying to play the Arsenal way.”

Do I agree with that? Not entirely

Right now Manchester United have a squad but no team, no real blend or balance.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 by playing Rashford high on the left wing. The kid scored the two spectacular goals and the manager should have left him there. He knows that now but will never admit his blunder. A team gets its confidence and fluency from results, from the rhythm, from the partnerships in its previous matches.

Sam Wallace pointed out on the Sunday Supplement, the Special One is a master of “the bespoke tactical performance.”

Mourinho tried that last night but United stumbled and stuttered and then Sevilla brought on a supersub who snatched two fine goals.

The conundrum that football managers always face: How do I make one part of my team stronger without making another part weaker?

That challenge, that conundrum, has existed for 100 years and won’t disappear any time soon.

Mourinho dropped Mata to beef up his midfield with Fellaini and it didn’t work or even come close to working.

His team selection missed the point.

The task in the second leg, after a goalless first game in Seville, was simple: score first. Attack, seize the initiative by scoring the first goal, galvanise the home crowd.

Mention of the belligerent Belgian reminds me of an Arsenal board meeting when the big midfielder was playing for Everton.

A director asked Wenger, “Why don’t you sign Fellaini?” and the manager’s angry reply was, “Because he can’t pass the ball for shit!”

Someone on the board revealed that to one of my friends soon after it happened.

Arsenal’s immediate future depends on Gazidis making the right choice. That is why good executives do and that’s why he is paid about £3m a year.

My former flatmate, a friend from Manchester University, took his time on decisions and gave himself a day off at weekends. Occasionally he’d talk about himself in the third person and one day he explained that “Chris Wright doesn’t make decisions on Sundays.”

One of his other mantras was, “On an important decision, I always take as long as it takes to get that decision right.”

The music business, where you have to sign the right groups and singers, is a very difficult business.

So is the football industry, as Chris found out when he bought QPR.

We all hope Ivan gets it right.


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