Just around a month ago when Manchester United faced Liverpool, they were 11 points behind the top-four places and were no match to the other teams around them. Fast forward one month. A lot has happened in the time frame. Jose Mourinho being sacked and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed the interim manager until the rest of the season. And the club hasn't looked back ever since. They have played against 8 different teams and won against each of them. This includes the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal too. They are now only 3 points adrift of the fourth-placed Chelsea-side. If there is a thing called revival in football, Manchester United is the perfect example of that!
Their most recent victory was a 3-1 triumph over the arch-rivals Arsenals at the Emirates. They are into the fifth round of the FA Cup with this win. For a team that was looking short of goals, they have scored 22 in the last 8. And the goals have been evenly distributed too. With the likes of Rashford, Martial, Pogba, Lukaku, Sanchez and Lingard having 19 between them. Their counter-attacking style of play has been a treat to watch.
There are several reasons behind this great uplift in their game. Here we will look at five of them:
The team is built around Pogba: Gone are the days when their most expensive signing was merely warming the benches on the sideline. Now, Paul Pogba is leading the side from the front. The captain’s armband just gets the better out of him in the recent matches. Paul Pogba has been given the freedom to roam and express himself. A term ‘free spirit’ has been associated with him. He was labelled as a ‘virus’ in the team by Mourinho. Football is a funny game, alright! The entire team is being built alongside him now. Central midfield is a very important portion of the pitch and you will hardly find a better choice than him.
Beautiful and free-flowing football: If you vividly followed the club under Van Gaal, one irritating part of their game was the back passes. Suppose they were in a great position at one particular moment. The front men passed the ball to midfielders which further gives it to defenders and they finally end up giving it to the goalkeeper. And this loop just keeps on happening. Something of an exact opposite takes place now. The moves start from the goalkeeper and defenders join the attack too. They follow the principles set in ‘the Busby Babes era’. The attacks have been quite captivating and pleasing on the eye.
Relentless motivation within the squad: Every player looks full of energy on the field. A perfect example of that kind is Ander Herrera. He's not a naturally gifted midfielder but he is one of those players who are ready to give in their all in the 90 minutes. Unlike last year, Herrera has been a regular starter in the team recently. He just runs and runs, wins the ball and put pressure on the opposition. Herrera always makes those cheeky-cheeky runs in the opposition's penalty box.
Never say die attitude: The one who never gives up is a winner. And here at Old Trafford, it is a part of their upbringing. ‘Fergie-time’ was a term that was associated with the club for some time. Time and again, they have managed to come back in the dying seconds of the game. They will pump their hearts out to overrun the opposition. This will a plus point in the long run when the going gets tough. Let's see, if the tougher can get going at the right moment?
Ole himself: A lot has been written about the charisma and the enthusiasm that he brings to the table. He has given everyone the freedom to express themselves on the field. He focuses on playing it in the way that you enjoy it. He has put complete faith on his players and the results are in front of everyone. Even if he is not in charge on the club next season, he has definitely left a mark in its history.
It's surely a long way to go, but the start has been made in the best way possible. Watch out for United in the next games!