The worst humiliation a war commander can face is to see defeat in the eyes of his troops, even before the enemy fires first artillery against their position.
That is similar to the situation at Manchester United in the last few games in the Premier League, and it why they have recorded only one win in their last four matches, with the sole victory coming against bottom-placed Norwich City at home. The four goals they scored in the last three league matches have come from 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo.
The club is having another season to forget despite the most expensive wage bill in England. The club hosts Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday, and it could be reminisce of their ‘strolling’ display at Anfield about two weeks ago.
As the season is at its business end, United faithful in Manchester are counting counting their losses as they have endured another torrid journey in the last eight months travelling to support the team and witnessing first hand the below par performances of some of the highest paid footballers on the planet.
For them, the journey has particularly not been easy, taking into account that Liverpool, not Manchester City, United’s biggest rivals in the land, are on course to win a quadruple this campaign.
The fans booed Paul Pogba off the Old Trafford pitch against Norwich. Again, they pulled no punches on the Frenchman, as he was second on their list in the 1.7million votes collected by Sky Sports on players they want to see gone after this season.
Nemanja Matic topped the list, followed by Pogba, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot in this order received votes from club’s 56, 372 fans, on players they want axed at the end of the season.
However, it is unclear if Erik ten Hag, the newly appointed manager, will yield to the echoes from the stands at the Theatre of Dreams, but what is as certain as death and taxes is that there will be departures from the club in the summer, with interim coach Ralf Rangnick revealing after the 4-0 humiliation at Liverpool, that up to 10 new signings will be made.
The thousands of United fans also asked the club to retain some players in the other category of voting, which includes Alex Telles whom Rangnick has reportedly told he is not up to the standard of playing for United.
Jason Sancho received the highest vote in this classification of players the fans want the club to keep. Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Elanga, David de Gea, Raphael Varane, Hannibal Mejbri, Donny van de Beek, Scott MC Tominay, Luke Shaw, Ahmad Diallo, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fred Henderson, Fred, Marcus Rashford and Allex Telles got votes in the order the fans felt they have performed this campaign.
The club’s quest for a top-four finish this season may well be over after their losses in the league to Liverpool and Arsenal, which will again negatively shift United’s position among the elite European clubs. But what is inevitable is the wind of change that will blow over the club when ten Hag resumes before pre-season.
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Ashaolu Olufemi is a graduate of mass communication from Kaduna Polytechnic, and also a member of NIPR. His love for media and writing has become stronger with experience over the years.