herald

Thursday 23 January 2020

Green shoots for United but relying on youth is a risk

Mason Greenwood has made a massive impact for United
Mason Greenwood has made a massive impact for United

Manchester United have been scoring goals with more frequency over the last few games and the sight of younger players like Mason Greenwood scoring a couple is encouraging for their supporters.

But there's still a concern there. After beating Tottenham and Manchester City, you'd have expect them to go on and beat Everton, and they didn't, though you have to credit a resurgent Everton for the way they played in that game.

With Chelsea losing last weekend, it was an opportunity for United to close the gap and they didn't do that.

We saw flashes of good things from United in those matches against City and Spurs but the really good teams are consistent, they go on winning runs but United are a side who will win three in nine, not nine in nine.

They look a long way off challenging for the title and even a Champions League slot looks to be a struggle for them. With this United side, every time they get within touching distance they end up with a bad result.

It could be an ok season for them, they had a good win in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup, so if they can beat City in the semi-final, and go on to win it, it would mean something concrete for their efforts. But there's still a way to go.

You have seen United's young players do well against the likes of AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League, but those players need time to adapt.

Sometimes they need to drop out of the team for a bit to get a breather, but United are putting them at the forefront.

They are starting to rely on players like Mason Greenwood and it's really hard for young footballers to be consistently at the top of their game in the Premier League.

January is a big window for United, if they buy another young English player or buy an established international from outside, that could dictate how they do. And they do need to buy, they are crying out for a central midfielder, maybe a centre back and a left back but they need players and it takes time.

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