A team may be playing poorly, pull off a big victory and they are said to have turned their season around. When Liverpool beat Chelsea some felt that they were ready to get their season back on track, not quite. Chelsea beat Bolton at the end of December and it was felt they had finally stopped the rot, Aston Villa and Wolves said nope.
This season I’ve seen it used in regards to United a few times too, 2-0 down at Villa Park with 10 minutes to go but nicking a point, pivotal. Hammering Blackburn 7-1 at Old Trafford, the start of a dominant march to the title.
Whilst it is all good and well to appoint every good performance or fight back a turning point, just how important will last night’s result be on the title race?
I’ll be the first to tell you we looked horrible in the first half, the tactics were wrong and the team weren’t performing. 2-0 down with 70 minutes gone and the gap at the top of the table closing as the minutes dwindled away. Having just hammered Bolton 4-0, Chelsea were being announced as back in the title race whilst Arsenal were breathing down our necks along with C*ty.
Playing away there must have been people that thought we would have been in for a hard time by the seaside and these people were right. We were poor for a spell last night and Blackpool were well worth their 2-0 lead. There must have been a record number of hands being rubbed in North London, South West London and Stockport as United looked ready to stumble but we had other plans and when the ref had blown his whistle, United had indeed increased their lead at the top of the table to 5 points.
Of course United have done this before, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but the manner of the fight back last night was important.
It wasn’t a smash and grab job like against Villa where it could be said we nicked a point, last night what you saw was a resilient United team grind down Blackpool and progressively get better and stronger, eventually forcing Ian Holloway’s team to capitulate.
United are team that are usually associated with finesse but that doesn’t mean we can’t grind for a result and we have seen that this season. Dimitar Berbatov who scored twice last night praised the team’s grit saying:
“We fight like a team. In the second half we showed spirit and we won”
When we got our first goal you knew a second was going to follow and whilst at half time you would have been with the majority in thinking ‘I’ll be happy with a point’, after the second a third was inevitable. For all the talk of how this team isn’t one of United’s best and that it lacks real quality, no one can question the heart and determination of the side and that is what will have the other teams worried. We don’t seem ready to lose and Berbatov confirmed this,
“We have the mentality that we can win even when we are 1-0 or 2-0 down.”
This is evident, it’s like we don’t have it in us and will pull out all the stops to ensure that we march towards the title whether it is trudging or slaloming. This result doesn’t mean we will win the league but it was huge not only in terms of the table but also psychologically.
After last night our rivals must now be wondering what it will take to beat us and it’s always good to be on your opponent’s mind, giving them that extra thing to think about allows for more mistakes on their part.