The United faithful are growing mutinous towards their Dutch manager, Wayne Rooney looks a spent force and other things we learned from Manchester United 1 Norwich 2
By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
United fans offer scathing post-match verdict
The supporters’ reaction said it all. After limping to a third consecutive defeat, the final whistle was greeted by a chorus of jeers. But worse was to come. As Van Gaal made the walk from his seat in the dugout to the tunnel, he was booed by a significant portion of supporters . By contrast, the fans applauded many of the players as they headed for the dressing room. Even MUTV, United’s in-house TV station that can usually be relied upon to offer sympathy and support in tough times, was scathing in its post-match appraisal of Van Gaal’s sixth consecutive match without a win.
Rooney’s legs are not in tune with his mind
This was the United captain’s 500th appearance for the club and he was clearly keen to mark the occasion with a win. The trouble is, the legs are not as in tune with the will as they once were; he may have issued the mental instructions, but they didn’t seem to transmit. He had the ball in the net as early as the ninth minute, but the flag was long up to signal that Marouane Felliani had passed to him from so far offside he was in Bolton. His performance was summed up when he was played in by Michael Carrick, a midfielder almost as inventive passing forward as he is passing back. At one time, from an invitation like that, Rooney would have torn into the box and rapped in a shot. Here he checked back, then hit his subsequent pass straight into the shins of a covering defender.
The joy has been sucked from Old Trafford
For United supporters, this really was the most benign of seasonal fare. But then you wouldn’t want Van Gaal organising your Christmas. You can imagine what would happen. Despite spending a fortune at the butchers, he’d serve up a load of under-cooked turkey and tasteless vegetables. He would suck the joy from the most joyous of celebration.
United lack leaders
Roy Keane is an infrequent visitor to Old Trafford these days, following his acrimonious exit 10 years ago and his very public falling-out with Sir Alex Ferguson. But the former club captain was watching from the directors’ box here, and the thought occurred how United could have done with his on-field belligerence and never-say-die spirit. United are lacking real leadership at the moment and you suspect Keane, in his pomp, would not have allowed the team to slump to such a wretched defeat. United desperately miss a leader in the Keane mould.
This cannot carry on for much longer
As the jeers echoed across a stadium that once echoed to glory at the conclusion of this limp, lame, wretched Manchester United performance, Van Gaal’s much-trumpeted philosophy appears to be on its last legs. Losing at home to Norwich does not suggest a club on the march to progress. This cannot go on.