A Crisis of Faith – Partial Recantation

Maybe he was right…

Perhaps its time to start working upon a retraction.

A few weeks ago, in despair at the hapless performances Manchester United were still putting in after several months under the charge of Louis van Gaal, I announced a fairly public loss of faith.

Since then, results and, especially performances have suggested that such announcement was premature and ought properly to be recanted.

I’ve got to be honest, there have been some seriously encouraging signs. The performance at Liverpool was one of the best games I’ve seen from United in many years (the latter days under Ferguson included). I really don’t remember when I last saw United dominate Liverpool so much – and on their own ground! United’s ability to retain and move the ball around, and the sheer ease with which they continually got it back, whenever it was lost, was awesome.

But that was just one game, and just one game immediately after the performance against Spurs, which everyone agreed was our first truly decent performance under van Gaal. Two swans don’t make a summer.

For that matter, four swans still only represent a warm spell, but this last one was the Derby, the Bitters, the reigning (for not much longer) League Champions, and not unincidentally, winners of the last four Derbies in succession.

And we went a goal behind incredibly early, when City were easily on top.

But United came back. They dug in, they took control of the game, they came back and they played City out of the game. It was 4-1, a stupendous turnaround, and even though City pulled one more back, that was when United were down to ten men, all subs used and Michael Carrick taken off to avoid aggravating a knock.

This isn’t a recantation. Not quite yet. I’m slow to change my mind, without substantial evidence to support it, and we have Chelsea, the putative Champions, away from home next weekend. Let’s wait till then.

But it’s looking very good. It’s looking as if everyone understands what to do at last, as if van Gaal has finally allowed himself to realise that Ander Herrera is the business, that pace is United’s friend and their natural state. Win at Stamford Bridge, and I’ll cover this blog with mea culpas. I don’t mind admitting I’ve been wrong, when I’ve been wrong.

And even if we lose, it’s still looking very good for our immediate future. The glory days may not yet be back. But maybe you no longer need a Time Machine to see them.

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