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Dear Jose, Please Don't Play Three At The Back

Monday 20th March 2017
Dear Jose. My name is Ayyaz Malik and I am a football fan and not just a Manchester United fan. I am 30-years-old and have had a love of the beautiful game for two decades. I want to address some issues that I have in regards to your tactics in an open letter.

Now I know I am not you, I mean let's face it, you have achieved some special things in your managerial career. The treble with Inter Milan, winning the La Liga title against a Barcelona that was arguably one of the best teams to have graced this planet or even being Chelsea's most successful manager, but Jose, please.

I address you directly in regards to your decision to play three at the back. Mr Mourinho, with the greatest respect I don't understand your logic behind this "tactical switch".

In this weekend's game against Middlesborough for example, my beloved Manchester United could have easily not have won this game, but as Boro are low in confidence and lacked the quality I think United got away with the three points.

Yes, David De Gea had only one meaningful save to make in the match from a Gaston Ramirez effort, but If the Teessiders had the quality in the final third that they have been lacking for most of the season, we genuinely could have been looking at the draw that you predicted at the start of the game.

Jose, it appears to me (I could be wrong) that you have accidentally come back from Stamford Bridge and mistakenly picked up Chelsea manager's Antonio Conte's notes on team tactics. I am not sure of any other logical explanation.

His Chelsea team is the only team that comes to mind who play with this system. The only other thing it could be Jose is I think you're forgetting sir, your Man United manager and not the Chelsea manager anymore.

Although your former team Chelsea, have taken to their back three formations like a duck takes to water, with the greatest respect sir your Manchester United team doesn't have the same infrastructure (if you can call it that).

In the early game on Sunday against managerless Middlesborough, United had three centre-backs just like they did in the Europa League game against Russian minnows Rostov.

The Reds' problem on Thursday was that you don't have a player who can carry the ball out from the back, start attacks or even join slot into midfield, now with Chelsea they have a centre back who is comfortable doing that in Brazilian David Luiz.

Your Man United team, however, don't have a defender in that mould and against Rostov, your team struggled against a side who they were expected to beat comprehensively.

In terms of an attacking sense in the game against Middlesborough, after a slow start United grew into the game, but as soon as Rudi Gestede came on, Manchester United were a bit all over the place at the back.

Three centre-backs marking two centre-forwards, in theory, is easy, but these three centre backs haven't played together. Chelsea's back three model is now water tight as you can clearly see that The Blues are very well drilled and know that they're doing.

I will finish off my point with this. Not many managers will ever be able to achieve the success in their whole career compared to the success you have so far in your career to date.

Jose, it comes back to the age-old clichè if you want to call it that. To get the best out of players and achieve success with a team, you need to put your players in the right positions, but then again what do I know about football I haven't won Champions League titles or Premier League titles like you.
Ayyaz Malik

Hi guys, I am Ayyaz. I type by day and I type by night, I type what others are thinking. I eat, drink and sleep football (I think in that order) . Watching football is part of my five a day. They say money makes the world go round, yeah right we all know it's football that makes the world go round. I am a Manchester United fan for my sins.


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