After the debacle against Spurs at the weekend I did 2 things.
1) I wrote to Rio Ferdinand on twitter (as you do!) telling him ESPN gave him 3/10 and that I don't know how he got 3, and that he needs to buck up his ideas or face the exit.
2) I wrote my blog suggesting United tighten up the space in front of the back four with 2 holding midfield players, play a defensive wide midfield player to help the fullbacks and drop either Wayne Rooney or Shinji Kagawa as we play a 4-5-1 switching to 4-3-3 when we have the ball. In this formation I suggested the shot stopping of David De Gea fits better than Anders Lindegard.
And so to Cluj where the back 5 was Rio and Jonny Evans flanked by Patrice Evra and Rafael - with De Gea in nets. This is a leaky group, vulnerable to crosses and any attacking midfielders with pace.
So Sir Alex Ferguson gummed it up with Anderson wide right helping his compatriot, and Tom Cleverley wide left helping Evra. Fletcher patrolled in front of the back 4 and a flexible 3 of Rooney, Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez switched in midfield to make a 4-3-3 when we attacked with Rooney and van Persie dropping when we defended.
This is a side that will not use the wings and basically clogs up the middle, but Evra was left badly exposed when Cluj scored simply proving my preference for Alexander Buttner wide left would have been better than Cleverley there.
After the goal a laborious win was delivered by simply grinding it out in a manner most United fans wouldn't recognize. But we won.
My point here is that clearly Sir Alex reads my blog (why wouldn’t he?) and acted in a strong way to stop the rot at the back. Defensively we had far less attempts on our goal as the gum worked and Fletcher patrolled the area in front of Evans and Rio like the true professional that he is.
Anderson and Cleverley gave us little width and Rafael and Evra tried valiantly to overlap but to little effect. This was a game where the centre of the field risked being worn out.
In midfield Rooney tried to look like a tubby Scholes but consistently was slow in possession and never looked like running thru their back line. His long range efforts were the best product of his endeavour but he was not much of a goal threat. However he can pass and the cross for the free shoulder of van Persie and the deft flick of the winner shows he has a football brain.
Hernadez was like a headless chicken and seems to have lost all his footballing-sense as effort without composure just looks silly.
Winning in Cluj should assure us a place in the Champions League knockout stage as 10 points will do it and Cluj should be easily dispatched at OT. However the share price was unaffected by the win and stayed at $12.55, which is effectively Wall Street saying 'so what?’
In fact this win proved nothing and I agree with Wall Street, we won a poor quality game against a lowly team from Romania in Transylvania - so what?
By Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve