Manchester United have made a start that is almost equal to the poor spell enjoyed by David Moyes at a similar stage last season. Fingers have been pointed at Louis van Gaal in the last few weeks. Even though United have had a much better performance throughout the 90 minutes in recent weeks, they still have not been able to get results on a consistent basis. The 2-2 draw with West Brom on Monday night is a perfect example, as United failed to take advantage of their dominance in the match. There could be more bad news in store for the Red Devils as Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s team this season have been the team to beat and they have showed this dominance by establishing a five-point advantage over Manchester City after just eight matches. After having seen City suffer a defeat against West Ham during the week, Mourinho will be looking to extend that advantage into a massive eight points. Van Gaal, though, is looking to spoil the party as he was to put one over his apprentice. He has reacted to the criticism levelled at him in last few weeks by saying that the media have not given him a fair chance.
“Maybe you know that I am always a controversial person and a lot has been written about that, but I (have) an iron shield. It’s been like that since I came to England. Everyone can write or speak about me and I cannot change that. It took a long time for me to understand but I cannot change that. I have learned not to react and to believe in myself, my players and staff. That’s important,” said the United boss ahead of the meeting with Chelsea. He placed Mourinho as one of the best coaches in the world.
Bolton Wanderers defender Matt Mills says that the club are prepared to back manager Dougie Freedman all the way. The manager has made a stop start to the new season after failing to win any of the matches so far. As a result, Bolton sit in a relegation zone after five matches this season with just one point on the board. Further continuation of such poor results will see the club relegated to the second division of the football league, which would almost kill the club that is already suffering from a lot of financial problems.
However, Mills believes that the club will be able to improve the situation if the players remain confident and stick together. The only point that Bolton have taken this season has come in the 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest, while the recently secured a 3-2 win over Crewe Alexandra after extra time in the League Cup. This was immediately followed by a 1-0 defeat against Leeds United that further threatened to end in Freedman losing his job. Bolton set to take over Sheffield Wednesday after the international break. This will be home match followed by a home encounter against Rotherham United.
They represent ideal opportunities to take six points due to the home advantage according to Mills, who has featured in all the five Championship matches.
“We need to stick together and work hard and when the tide turns we’ll start winning games like this four or five one. The manager is fantastic. He gives the players the freedom to go and express themselves. He puts a lot of trust in his players and the way we started the game I think a few let him down. Then we gave Leeds something to hold onto so it was an uphill battle,” said Mills, who has scored one goal this season.
Bolton’s severe financial troubles in the last few years have forced them to stay tight in the transfer market this summer. This is despite manager Dougie Freedman being aware that the squad needs strengthening in some vital areas of the pitch. The manager has accepted that Bolton do not have a top class centre forward to lead the line. This could be a major problem for them, as they aim for promotion even via the play-off places. As the new season approaches, Bolton head to Watford for the first game of the season.
Freedman says that it would be ideal to have a top-class striker in the team before the start of the match. However, since he is aware of the financial difficulties at the club, he says that it may not be easy. Bringing in players through the loan market is a viable solution and it has been successful for several Championship and lower league clubs in the past. Freedman accepts that Bolton may have to adopt a similar approach for the coming campaign. However, signing players on loan will also not be easy since there will be a lot of competition.
Pre-season has been extremely positive for the club, as they have so far only one defeat and it came in the final match against Vitesse Arnhem.
“When the money is not what you’d like it to be, you cannot dictate in the market. You can’t just wake up and say I will spend X amount on a player and go and get him. You have to look at loans or transfers when a club gets someone else in and it frees up players – that’s exactly where we are right now. We are only going to get to that position of bringing players in if the market starts moving in our favour,” said Freedman.