“When I stood in the tunnel as a Manchester United player, I saw Ronaldo, Rooney, Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Vidic, Rio, Evra, Edwin van der Sar. I said to myself: ‘Berba, you need to cherish this moment forever, my friend.’ And then I looked at the opponents. They were already beaten.”
That is a great quote given by Dimitar Berbatov to ESPN in 2017 about his time at Manchester United.
It highlighted the quality of Sir Alex Ferguson’s United, the leaders, and the way teams visited Old Trafford beaten before a ball was kicked.
In 2019, United are a long way removed from the glory days Berbatov describes of a decade earlier.
United host Leicester City this weekend and the Foxes head to Old Trafford confident of a potential victory.
Winger Marc Albrighton told Leicester’s website he is optimistic heading into Saturday’s fixture.
He said: “We’re going there full of confidence and we’re playing with freedom. We’ve got the ability, in my opinion. I feel like we can hold our own against them, and probably more than that, go on and beat them.”
The fear factor is well and truly gone from Old Trafford, and that’s a sad thing. It makes United’s task that much harder.
This season provided the chance for a new dawn. The 4-0 victory over Chelsea was a sign of what this team is capable of, but it was also a little flattering.
But it at least gave us something to build on. Which is why the home defeat to Crystal Palace was a hammer blow. And it has shown teams that Solskjaer’s United are vulnerable.
Gone, but not lost
United can bring back the fear factor, but it won’t be easy. It has to be earned, and there can be no slip ups.
The big problem last season and this campaign is the inability to keep clean sheets. United have just one, against Chelsea, a match in which we were saved by the woodwork twice.
The only way to intimidate teams is by going on a run of home wins, and imposing a new defensive strength.
This won’t be easy, and we suspect this United side just lack the quality to beat teams week after week. At least based on our start to the season.
One game at a time, United need to start winning again, and convincingly.
A big victory over Leicester this weekend would be a statement, and might make visiting Old Trafford seem a bit more worrisome for future opponents.
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