View from J Stand: Surreal atmosphere at Old Trafford

There has been frustration starting to boil over the past couple of weeks but given the demographic of United fans at Old Trafford — average age being of 45+ — I’d expect a little more patience, belief and even class from those that had seen times before Ferguson.

When half time came cries of Attack, Attack, Attack ringed round Old Trafford as the players walked towards the tunnel. Even as a stubborn man, set by his own self belief, Louis van Gaal must have took note of the fans. Although the first half wasn’t that bad we controlled the game and were working the ball to get in behind, pushing men forward but no advantage was taken from the opportunities.

Taking stock at half time, I could only think to myself that the cries of the entire ground willing the players to have a go and in all break that duck must have been the only motivation any player needed to come back out and give it thier all for the fans. We, like in the first half, started lively and I just hoped for an early goal to ease the nerves or at least not die into another stalemate with CSKA happy to keep United out whilst providing no attempt to attack themselves. It then showed they have seen the previous 3 scoreless draws and wanted the same.

Martial going off was bizarre for two reasons: 1) For the fact fellaini came on and offered nothing more than someone we could use at set pieces which never actually happened and 2) the ground booing the decision the manager had made. Even under Moyes had I ever seen that. What ever happened to the days of backing the manager and players right till the end never mind the outcome? Why is Old Trafford now full of people that sit on thier seats hardly chanting and then expect yo be entertained or even more try to undermined the manager?


I’m not saying I agree with the decision but in the end that change never affected the result. It’s just fickle and shows a lack of class. Anyhow, De Gea, who was hardly called into action throughout, stepped up and partially prevented a goal with help from the one and only Mike Smalling, who again has shown how much he is improving and has become a vital part of the team.

The goal, however, was something that a lot will only remember for one reason and that’s Jessie Lingard’s first time touch for Rooney to head in. I am delighted by all accounts and the relief around the ground was superb to see as it meant a lot to ever single player and fan.

I want to credit it more to Jessie because he could have been selfish and gone for the volley. After spending the entire game running at and past CSKA players he may have thought he deserved to have the shot, but instead he cushions it across for Rooney and lets his captain take the plaudits and goal.

Let’s take it back a second to why Lingard was in that place at that time… Van Gaal had subbed off Mata to bring on Memphis and move Lingard over to the right. I would love to know how many Reds picked up on that change of tactics that was vital after they had booed him taking of Martial only 10 minutes earlier.

I’ve seen Lingard play in the three home games after being impressed with him versus Everton at Goodison. In all three home games — City , Boro & tonight vs CSKA — he deserved a goal for his efforts but had an opportunity in each. Tonight I was gutted to see his effort brilliantly saved because it would have topped a man of the match performance off.

Moving on, three points at home to PSV and we are through. The aim now is to get a good run together in the lead up to Christmas starting this weekend against West Brom. It’s not all doom and gloom with the LvG OUT brigade retreating quicker than Chelsea fans swapping back to City fans. I look forward to finding the idiots that where calling this a crisis not 48 hours ago.

More Stories Anthony Martial Chris Smalling CSKA Moscow Jessie Lingard Juan Mata Louis van Gaal Manchester United Marouane Fellaini Wayne Rooney


  1. Well said. In my area of J stand there was no booing. Thought it showed lack of class personally, although I understand the disappointment at seeing Martial leave the pitch.
    Felliaini does bring a different dimension to the game though which should not be underestimated. Apart from his height his arrival on the pitch changes the pattern of play which disrupts the oppositions defence and can then give opportunities to other players. Personally think he is much improved this season.

  2. Well written Ian. I wonder if everything stayed the same in regards to performance of team and players but we had converted half our easy chances and the game ended 4 – 0 or 5 – 0 would the fans be happy with the performance.
    To me, there was constant attacking and ball retention, we prodded left then right and also through the centre but just lacked that final finish. That could have been nerves due to not scoring for 3 games and all the media building it up to suck our fans in to do just what they are doing – getting on the managers back.
    I thought the Martial sub was justified, he wasn’t having the best of games and I thought “great, we can rest him for WBA”.
    On wards and up wards.

  3. A fish rots from the head. Scholes and now Keane have become cheerleaders for these sheep, aka Man U fans. Shame on Scholes and Keane and shame on the so-called Man U fans.

  4. I was annoyed at the reaction at half time and to the substitution. If you had looked at just this game, we were in control (as we were with City – who defended deep, a mark of progress) and, with moderately better final passes / taking chances would have been two up at half-time (not sure why Rooney slowed down rather than take the ball round the keeper). In short, we are playing a Champions League tie and gave the other side no chances. Could we be faster? Yes – that would open up more space. But we are playing a different style to normal. It takes time. Teams do not gel overnight, no matter the quality. Repetition is required. If you look at the game, where we let ourselves down a little was in crossing. A number of times Rojo had the ball and hit the first man. He was going for speed and dip, so this may happen till has perfected. Lingard struggled till the switch to the right referred to. When we put the ball in well, we should have scored (see Rojo, Martial – and did with Rooney from Lingard). And, for the first time this season, Rooney was at or close to the pace of the game – just a bit nervous in front of goal.

    I am old enough to remember Ajax ’95 – and saw the games against LvG’s 99 Barca team (both classics). Be patient; we are developing into a good team. The excitement will come when the balls from wide improve.

  5. Great piece Ian. I thought the attack attack chants were ridiculous as that’s exactly what we were doing. We must remember that European teams are usually quite good at stifling attacking intent. As for the booing of the substitution, I thought that was shameful and pathetic. I was thinking as Fellaini waited to come on that Lingard would come off he wasn’t very productive in the first half. After the change was made I thought, ok, fair enough, Martial was also non productive and just kept running into a packed defence. Maybe he’s feeling the legs a bit after playing in almost every game since he came to Utd. Anyway, we must trust in LVG as he has done all that he is doing now at his other clubs and they haven’t turned out too shabby have they?

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