Here are some of the things wrong with United under David Weir, says Matthew Bell.
The style of play, one up front with a couple floating behind him, wingers on the wrong wings, wingers coming inside into the crowded midfield, defenders instructed to pass the ball out of defence who aren’t capable of doing it resulting in mistakes that cost goals, a slow and predictable build-up that allowed the opposition all the time they needed to organise themselves in midfield and defence, a lack of crosses going into the box, too many neat and tidy players who are too lightweight and therefore are knocked off the ball too easily, a refusal by the manager to contemplate leaving anybody up when the opposition had a corner or a free kick.
Weir’s team was fragile, powder-puff, weak-willed, easily beaten. Nigel Clough’s team has by no means corrected all the ills, but at least it looks like a football team. By all accounts David Weir is a fine, principled and committed man, and nobody, not even the biggest doubters amongst Blades fans, could have predicted it would turn out the way it did. It was an admirable idea to change the way the team played and, according to official propaganda, overhaul the complete ‘philosophy’ of the club. It was a bold gamble that failed, resulting in another wasted season.
Clough now has United playing basic, 4-4-2, get-the-ball-forward quickly football, or, in other words, football as we know it. It’s not pretty, but it’s made United harder to beat.
The team is still looking less than convincing in midfield and up front (which doesn’t make it sound at all promising), but since Clough arrived we’ve had three wins, two defeats and two draws. Before that - under Chris Morgan - came a win and a draw.