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  • So, my answer to your question?
    It is not ALL the fault of Benitez.
    He HAS managed to pull us up to being a "top four club" once again, ignoring the current position which may still be salvaged in the second half of the season.
    He HAS managed to secure some very good players for us.
    He did, very nearly, deliver last season.
    Regardless of the result this season I don't think he should be shown the door.
    Think back to what he achieved last season. If we had a bit more luck with injuries this October might never have happened, we could have 43 points, still be in ECL and be sitting in 3rd place and therefore seriously in line to challenge, once again for the EPL title.
    I think it would benefit the club immensely if Rafa were to do two things:
    1) Show more emotion. Players will respond to a pat on the back. Rifts can be mended if sympathetic communication takes place. Teams can lift when they see their manager display obvious pleasure with their efforts on the touch line.
    2) Throw away the notebook. There is only one thing the players need to be told, only one strategy that needs to be adopted - ATTACK. Keep it simple but ATTACK. No fancy flicks, no hoiks from defence, no shooting from 50 yds out. Simple, accurate passes that move the team forward.
    I also think the management needs to play it's part.
    1) There must be large sums of money available to buy a single player when a hole is identified and a player is targeted as the solution. We can't keep settling for second or third best. If we need a central striker, and many of us now think we do, find the right player and buy him. Regardless (almost) of what it costs. We are suppsoed to be a great club. we should be buying top shelf players, not rubbish.
    2) The future of the club lies in it's youth. We MUST develop our own players, not keep having to buy them for exorbitant prices. Management, including Rafa and the owners, must attract good quality young players to our club, not keep selling them off. You can almost see Utd's team for the next 5 or 10 years already in the making. Young players are brought on, given experience next to older players and encouraged to develop at Utd. Where is our team for the next 5 years or so? We are just starting to see a couple of the youngsters but we have had to wait until the club is in crisis for it to happen.
    These kids are our future and they cost bugger all to buy.
    They must be developed.
    They must have a stable and successful environment in which to do it.

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    • Lot of good points in here Ajay. I think its clear that Rafa is not perfect, as no man is. But by and large I think he's done a good job with finite money, and lets not forget a dysfunctional board. So think he deserves at least till the summer before we pass judgment.

      One point on the injury question, and need for cover. I remember a few years ago much discussion that we had too many squad players, and not enough real class. Maybe in some ways the squad has swung the other way. Our better players are more numerous now, with the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Masch, Riena, and Johnson. However since the back ups are weaker, if a number of them go down at once it really hurts. So the question is with the same amount of cash do we get in 2 good players for each position, or 1 great, and one decent for each position?

      • 1 Reply to dsteer_lfc_68
      • Before the start of last season, the one when we finished second, I was saying that if we wanted to compete for all trophies seriously then we needed two first teams. In other words, we needed 22 top class players - maybe not all of Gerrard and Torres standard but certainly fringe players for their national teams.
        Obviously this will not work in the real world. Top class players have top class egos, or at least most seem to. They are understandably not content to have to rotate on a weekly basis. If they are that good then they obviously want to be playing each game. Of course they do. Just think of something you consider yourself really good at. Would you be happy sitting it out while someone else did what you love doing?
        With this in mind, I don't think you can even plan on having two "great" players in each of the major positions, whatever you may think they are for your formation. Whichever "great" player you sit out is eventually going to get sick of someone else filling their role in every other game and want to transfer out.
        The solution?
        Maybe you have to adopt a Wenger type appoach.
        Have a really good squad of about 15 or so players to challenge for the EPL and ECL then leave the "juniors" to play in the Carling Cup and a mix of old and new for the FA Cup.
        As the "juniors" get more exposure they become valuable second stringers in the event that the first team is decimated by lots of injuries at any one time.
        We have, imho Reina, Carra, Masch, Gerrard, Riera and Torres as REALLY GOOD players, bordering on greatness. (I haven't seen enough of Aqua yet to say whether he will make it in EPL as a great or just average player.)The rest of the usual first team suspects are average at best, occasionally being able to produce a really good performance before sinking back into mediocrity for a few weeks. Except Lucas and Insua- they should be in the "junior" team still and we are asking too much of them too soon.
        Hence, we need the following really good players right now:
        2 full backs
        1 centre back
        No midfielders - Gerrard and Masch, what more do you need?
        1 right wing - whether it be traditonal right wing, which I prefer or just right sided midfield as Rafa would seem to prefer
        1 centre forward - in the traditional sense of the name. We desperately need someone to share Torres' load and provide a focal point for our two wide men. We need to play 4-4-2 and attack - see previous post - so a true CF is essential, in my view.
        Remember, I am naming a team to play and win in England first, with Europe a second choice. Hence, we MUST have two wide men and one traditional CF, with Torres feeding off any crumbs as well as doing what he does best.
        Players of the callibre of Benny, Kuyt, Nogo, Johnson and Aurelio are good back up players who can carry a spot for a couple of games when the first choice guy gets injured but they are not, imho good enough players to be building your success upon. I had high hopes for Johnson but he has shown to be just average at defending, the position he is mainly employed to fill.
        Insua, Lucas and I suppose Nogo are young potentials and deserve to be persisted with but, again the club shouldn't be trying to build its success on their shoulders. They are way too young for that burden in a top four club like we expect to be.
        In summary, I think we need one really good player in each position with a decent player (Benny, Kuyt,...) as back up.
        Having more than half your first choice team out injured at one time is something no club can really plan for, and no club should really expect to happen too often. Not even the likes of Chelsea with all of their money would remain unaffected. There would just be too many egos to placate when everyone was fit again. (Unless you could have players out on loan at 2nd division (Championship) clubs and be able to call them back as needed for a few weeks. Is this possible?)