Date:Thursday October 1 2009
United are top of the Premier League, having beaten Arsenal, Manchester City and a then flawless Spurs side on their own ground. We also cruised through a very difficult away game at Stoke, we have a perfect record in the Champions League - yet we still get criticism.
Only today Football365 wrote that 'United's performances in general this term have not kept up with their results'. Well this might be true of the game against Arsenal but we certainly deserved the 1-0 wins against Birmingham and Besiktas and we were excellent against Spurs, City, Wigan and Stoke, and produced a good display to notch a deserved victory against Wolfsburg. So I'd say our results kept with our performances, actually. We should have won by three or four goals against City and we shouldn't have won against Arsenal, that's all, the other results were what the performances merited.
But people see what they want to see (ironically, Football365 makes the exact same point later in the column, about Arsenal missing Adebayor) and what they want to see is that United are worse off without Cristiano Ronaldo and that we are playing less exciting football (again, Football365 says so) even though it must be fairly clear for any objective observer that we are actually playing better football than last season when most of our success was based on defensive excellence, something that is clearly absent so far this season.
But this is nothing new: our critics usually see what they want to see. But it seems Wayne Rooney hasn't got used to it yet as he's complaining about the unfair criticism.
'Personally I think we came in for some unfair criticism at the start of the season because, although we weren't playing as well as we can do, we were still winning games.
'Yes we lost to Burnley but we have won every game since and yet this week we still got criticised.
'Of course that's always going to happen with a club of this size but we bounced back really well, went top of the league last weekend and are looking to carry on from there.'
And the media will carry on criticising us. We're playing well at the moment but playing well without Ronaldo is worth less than playing badly with him in the team. At least that's how it seems to work with the media who seem reluctant to recognise United's performances as it does not fit their predictions of doom and gloom. And it's ridiculous of course: all they have to say is that our current good form doesn't mean we'll be serious title challengers which is certainly true. But trying to mask good performances as bad performances just to show they are right? Petty, I would say.
Yes, we were probably stronger last season but our football too often gave us reasons to complain. So far we've been playing good football this season and that should be acknowledged, however unexpected it is for the press.
Date:Thursday October 1 2009
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