8 things Man United need to do to rescue their Premier League

first_img1. Sign a world-class midfielderArguably the most urgent of their problems, United lack creativity in midfield — Adnan Januzaj is still too young to be relied upon and Michael Carrick’s limitations and chronic inconsistency means he is not quite good enough to fulfill the role. They pursued Cesc Fabregas heavily during the summer to no avail and it seems clear that the Spaniard has no desire to join the club, in light of the rather dismissive comments he has since made about the prospect of moving to United. Moreover, they have again recently been linked with Ander Herrera and Wesley Sneijder, and either player would surely improve their squad significantly. One need only look at the effect of Mesut Ozil on Arsenal to understand the impact a big-name signing can have on an underperforming club, and the two aforementioned names certainly have the ability to thrive in the Premier League if their exploits elsewhere are anything to go by.2. Nail down a position for Phil JonesThe former Blackburn youngster is one of the most promising footballers at the club, and his versatility means he has played full back, centre half and central midfielder on occasion. However, utility players sometimes fail to reach their full potential owing to an inability to develop consistently in one area — former Manchester United man John O’Shea being a prime example. Hence, the club need to start playing Jones regularly in his best position — which is surely centre-back — to ensure he doesn’t fall short of the lofty expectations surrounding him.3. Stop relying so much on Ryan GiggsRyan Giggs is rightly regarded as a Manchester United legend as he has been an incredible servant to the club over the years. Yet to expect a 40-year-old to regularly play central midfield in arguably the most physically demanding league in the world is simply not tenable in the long term for a club with Manchester United’s ambitions. If they are to have any hope of winning or even challenging for the league, they can no longer afford to regularly accommodate this past great. And tellingly, of the past four league games in which Giggs has featured, United have won just once.4. Don’t repeat past transfer window mistakes(David Moyes, left, will be hoping Ed Woodward, right, has a better transfer window this time around)Even club insiders have admitted that the summer transfer window was a disaster for Manchester United. Having chased several top-class stars, they ultimately came away empty handed, save for the signing of Marouane Fellaini, who has yet to prove that he is anywhere near as valuable as his £27.5million transfer tag would suggest. Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has received heavy criticism for the club’s lack of transfer activity and their fans will be hoping he can manage such pressure more efficiently this January. A big player could help turn around United’s season — just as Eric Cantona did when he joined all those years ago. On the other hand though, failure to sign anyone may result in the club struggling to compete not just for the title but for a Champions League place. Even aside from the obvious problem of the current lack of quality, not buying a big-name player would be a considerable psychological blow to a squad already short on confidence and in desperate need of inspiration.5. Conciliate wantaway starsThere have been rumours that some of the club’s best players, including Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, are eager to leave in light of the escalating problems under David Moyes. The Scottish boss has denied these claims but there is usually no smoke without fire in such cases. In addition, without their world class players, United may sink even lower. Consequently, Moyes needs to address this ostensible problem and show Alex Ferguson-esque levels of persuasion to convince Rooney, Van Persie and all their other key players that it would be in their best interests to remain at the club. At the moment, playing for United does not feel as special as it should from their perspective — yet a few astute additions to the squad, better results and greater fortune could easily reverse the situation. If the 50-year-old coach can at least convince his stars that this is the case, then half the battle will be already won.6. Support David MoyesA truism that’s easy to dismiss, but it’s vital that the common insistence on David Moyes being ‘given time’ does not ultimately ring hollow. Publicly, Moyes has yet to be questioned by the club’s hierarchy and that cannot change in the coming months. Under Moyes’ tenure, Everton invariably enjoyed strong finishes to the season and the Scot will be desperate to emulate such success with United. If the manager has any lack of confidence or doubt that the board are backing him, such worries will be picked up by the players and are likely to be reflected by their performances on the field. And while it’s too premature to describe the current situation at Old Trafford, as some have done, as a crisis, if Moyes and the people around him start to panic and fall out with the likes of Rooney, the situation could well turn into a full-on disaster.7. Inject some fresh blood into the defenceRio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra now look past their best while Nemanja Vidic’s persistent injury problems mean he can longer be fully relied upon to perform his customary heroics. Even with Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones as backup, United could still do with at least two more strong young defenders to boost their options in an area in which they look lightweight. Finally securing the services of Leighton Baines would be a start, however acquiring a top-quality centre back is surely even more integral at the moment.8. Make tough calls on underperforming playersAlex Ferguson was rarely slow to sell players if he felt they weren’t performing to the best of their ability — his treatment of individuals including Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis and Lee Sharpe illustrated such ruthless decision making, and David Moyes needs to follow suit if he wants to emulate Fergie’s success. Consequently, Ashley Young, Nani and Tom Cleverley have all looked below the minimum standard for much of this season, and if they don’t raise their game promptly, Moyes needs to act with similar conviction in order ensure such low standards don’t become even more prevalent at the club.Buffon fires Hart a World Cup warning>VIDEO: The most explosive goalkeeper training drill we’ve ever seen>last_img read more