How many angry adjectives do you need to describe Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat to Brighton?
Embarrassing, disgusting, shocking, turgid, depressing… We could go on and on. And on.
In a season of ridiculously low moments, this defeat was right up there. It won’t be easy to forget.
But this result is merely the symptom of the medicine Manchester United have prescribed themselves. Albeit an excruciating one.
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Hope the pain will be worthwhile
Manchester United fans have to hope the pain will be worthwhile, and that this chosen path is the right one.
Lets have a look back at the options the club faced back in November…
Stick with Ole: This was going nowhere fast. Perhaps he would have rallied the team to even finish top four, or at least be in a similar position to now. But it was clear he was not the long term managerial answer and the plaster had to be ripped off.
Appoint a big name: Antonio Conte was available a month before United sacked Solskjaer. There were concerns over whether the Italian was the right fit long term, due to playing style and commitment to youth.
But United are not a club who feel like can afford to waste time. A short term boost could have worked, Conte would have made United far more competitive, and we could have just enjoyed the ride before it falls apart in two or three years.
Carrick as interim: United could have made Michael Carrick interim boss. Looking back, unbeaten his three game stint against Villarreal, Chelsea, and Arsenal may have been the highlight of United’s season.
He probably would be doing better than Rangnick, but then, United probably would have hired him permanently. And that would have ended in tears.
Rangnick to Ten Hag transition: The Rangnick management experiment has not worked out. But this doesn’t have to be bad. It would have been worse if he temporarily did well and United hired him permanently.
Right away it was clear United needed a long term permanent manager, and in Erik ten Hag, an exciting choice has been selected. The club have got their man.
Long term the Rangnick to Ten Hag choice may be the best of all the options. Even if that has meant the radical choice of essentially giving up on the season.
Rangnick has also been helping point out United’s inefficiencies behind the scenes, where his strengths lie.
It has been painful to experience from week to week, but the light at the end of the tunnel is almost here. It just might take a while to truly shine.
Doctor Ten Hag is almost ready to treat the sick patient. All we can do is hope the pain will be worthwhile.