Manchester United’s success is almost unparalleled. They’ve won a record 20 League titles, a record 11 FA Cups, a record 20 FA Community Shields, 11 FA Cups and have also been successful in Europe. They’ve been there, done that, multiple times.
As a result, some have naturally tried to uncover the secret of the club’s success.
United midfielder Tom Cleverley thinks he’s cracked it: “You see that in training every day. It’s always competitive. It can put you in a bad mood if you lose in training. It’s the most competitive training around, which makes it intense, sharp and helps you improve.” (Source: The Star)
Does Tom Cleverley travel the country, poking his head over training ground fences, taking a sneak peak at all the action? Is it just me, or is this pronouncement a little unfounded?
I’d argue that the reason behind Manchester United’s success can be summed up in three words: Sir Alex Ferguson. He is the best manager to have ever graced the game. His wisdom, managerial nous and tactical superiority meant that Manchester United always stood apart.
I’m sure Manchester United train hard. Maybe harder than most. But it’s worth noting that Jack Wilshere is a product of Arsenal football club. He wasn’t brought in from elsewhere. Steven Gerrard, a Liverpool man through and through, is one of the fittest, most competitive midfielders in world football. I could go through a list of Premier League clubs and conjure similar examples. It’s easy enough to compile a list of young players, fitter and more competitive than Tom Cleverley.
The English youngster is surely set for a big future. That doesn’t change the fact that his comments were hollow and misjudged.
What’s more, competitive edge needs to be matched with other qualities. Great teams balance strength and power with technical grace and attacking flair.
Interestingly enough, Manchester United have often been accused of lacking creativity in recent years. Whilst they are as solid as ever, it’s unclear whether they can compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City (and maybe Arsenal?) this season.
Either way, it’ll be exciting to see how this season unfolds. But if United do win the title again this season, I doubt it’ll be down to the tempo of their training. It will be down to the attitude, ability and motivation of their players.
What’s your take? Do Manchester United really train harder than everybody else?
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