“For 90 minutes you cannot be nice, you have to be a bunch of c*nts, intelligent c*nts not stupid c*nts, bastards in the sense you are going to win matches!” –a ‘classic’ Jose Mourinho quote from Amazon Prime Video documentary All Or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur, which showcases Spurs’ 2019-20 season.
With Liverpool’s front-line misfiring in recent games and Manchester City sitting outside of the top four, it’s arguably the best time for Manchester United to pursue their dreams of the 21st league title seriously. However, club legend Dimitar Berbatov believes that the present lot of players lack aggression and are ‘way too nice’ in order to get their hands on major silverware at the end of the season. Well, the growing frustrations shouldn’t sound surprising, especially given the fact that Berbatov played alongside the likes of Roy Keane and Nemanja Vidic during his time at the Old Trafford – two players who were ready to fight anyone anywhere throughout their career.
For a side that finds itself in a position to challenge for the league title, United’s defence is way too charitable at this moment – shipping 24 goals in 16 league games. To put it into perspective, it’s the most goals a team in the top half of the table has conceded this term. Unlike league leaders Liverpool, Manchester United are not running out of options in defence, it’s just that those in charge at the back are way too inconsistent to mount a serious title challenge. Eric Bailly has shown some form recently; however, his injury record makes him an unreliable choice in the long-term. It’s only a matter of time before Solskjaer decides to recruit a proper leader to bolster his backline, and, however surprising it may sound, there’s no better option than veteran Sergio Ramos for the job.
The 34-year-old centre-back hasn’t penned down a new contract with Real Madrid as he is believed to be exploring the possibilities of a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu. Sergio Ramos has won every major trophy with his club and country, and it’s beyond any doubt that he’ll be a great addition to Solskjaer’s backline, especially given the Spaniard’s leadership qualities. If the Los Blancos decide to plan their future without their captain, Manchester United should be first in the queue for the defender’s signature. His move to the Old Trafford will mean that he instantly replaces skipper Harry Maguire at the left centre-back position. Flipping over the offensive side of his game, Ramos is aerially dominant at both ends of the pitch, often scoring free-headers from set-pieces. Moreover, he has been in charge of penalty duties for the Whites since Cristiano’s Ronaldo’s departure in 2018.
As a part of the Real Madrid side who have been dominating domestically for over a decade now, the 178-times-Spanish international knows what it takes to win tournaments. Chelsea’s capture of 36-year-old Thiago Silva is an ideal example of how experience can change the dynamic of a side as the Blues conceded just 2 goals in 10 matches across all competitions in the earlier stages of the campaign, securing 8 clean sheets in the process. The Brazilian centre-back has had more impact on his team despite the signings of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, and Ben Chilwell in the summer.
“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” It seems as if the Red Devils will have to go by Sir Alex Ferguson’s words if they wish to lift a trophy at the end of the season.