In around five weeks time, Manchester United’s Champions League campaign resumes against Atletico Madrid.
Champions League knockout games do not come around too often for United in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, sadly.
While reaching the last 16 used to be a minimum expectation under Fergie, these opportunities are much more rare nowdays.
United have only reached the knockout rounds of the competition in 2014, 2018, and 2019 over the past few seasons, and never progressing past the quarter-finals. Often United have failed to even qualify for the competition, or make it past the group stages.
It’s a woeful record by United’s standards, and looking at the Premier League table, with United in seventh, there is a very real risk the team will fail to qualify for the Champions League this season.
Make the most of this rare chance
With this rare chance in mind, United need to make the most of this upcoming Champions League knockout tie. With a proven winner like Cristiano Ronaldo in the line-up, United have a chance of success in any two-legged tie.
And it’s also worth noting that in Europa League competition, United did not actually lose a two-legged match over the last two seasons.
The Champions League is a higher standard, and with the competition potentially out of reach next season, United need to go ‘all in’ and make this season’s tilt at the trophy count.
Champions League winning midfielder wanted: United have various pieces of a potentially good team. David de Gea is an excellent goalkeeper, and Raphael Varane is a proven winner in defence. Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani are two outstanding forwards, and in the case of the latter, he won’t be here next season. So United need to make the most of this opportunity.
Key to making this team tick is solving the midfield. We have seen various combinations of this team over the past two seasons, and we have seen enough to know that United’s options are not good enough. Not as they currently are, there is a piece missing.
One top quality midfielder could prove to be the missing piece in the puzzle to make this team click. It might turn out United need a lot more than that, but for now, we want to see the club make an effort to improve.
Right now United fans are frustrated because it appears there is no effort being made by the club to recruit a new midfielder and bring one in this month.
There is a huge opportunity in play thanks to the Champions League, and United would be wrong to let this chance pass by.
The reward is almost unfathomably huge. The ultimate prize is a Champions League medal. Imagine what an Ngolo Kante could bring to this United side in terms of impact and transformation. At the moment it seems like United are not trying to resolve the problem position.
Going ‘all in’ with an eye on the knockout ties could also have a further positive impact, in the Premier League. Strengthening will benefit United’s chances of landing a top four place. Sometimes you have to ‘speculate to accumulate’, and while we are not proposing United go out and break the bank, there are sensible deals to be done at sensible prices, and the benefits are worth the small investment.
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