Manchester United is currently undergoing a very difficult spell in just under ten matches played in the season. The team is playing inconsistently which is ultimately giving manager Jose Mourinho a headache.
United will play poorly at home against minnows, then win the next three away matches. In Tuesday, they were exposed once again defensively by Championship side Derby County after a shocking elimination in the Carabao Cup.
The match itself was epitome of some of the things Mourinho has done that cost the team. His refusal to adapt to the modern demands of the game had cost the team on a regular basis.
Fact is the Red Devils have struggled even when facing inferior opposition. Do they have the players? Yes, there are some genuinely good players in the squad and a couple of world-class talent at their disposal.
In the course of his career, Mourinho has been a certain way with some quarters regarding him as arrogant. Others view it as an aura of confidence which in truth has bore league titles in England, Spain, Italy and Portugal.
United, on the other hand, has been working successfully with certain traditions and culture. In came the Portuguese. A man who rarely stays more than two seasons in a club and kills more talent than he makes. He believes in accomplished players over young and raw talent. He has certainly made some mistakes on a consistent basis.
Is it 4-3-3 or 3-3-3-1 or 4-4-2? Of course, no two games are always the same so there may be tactical changes here and there. Top sides that are keen on winning will always give priority to their own tactics and ways to win over the opposition.
This is why United will have one formation for only a handful of games before making switches. A player like Marouane Fellaini could be the furthest forward one instance then play an unfamiliar defensive midfield position in the next.
Mourinho should set up the team to win not to play cautious football in the hope of creating a few chances. Pep Guardiola set that mentality last season with an emphasis on attacking not clean sheets. The result was a mind-blowing Premier League title win.