The early stages of the post Ferguson era has certainly proved to be a tough one for Manchester United and its fans so far with this season proving to be the worst in many years at the club so far. Many did expect that life after Sir Alex Ferguson would not quite be as rosy, but nobody expected it to be quite this bad.
There have been many sub-par performances over the course of the first half of this season that has resulted in far too many dropped points against teams that a year ago they would have been beating easily.
It is hard to put any other reason for this dramatic drop in form than that of the transition period between the clubs longest serving manager of all time retiring and the new manager David Moyes comes in.
The personnel on the pitch has not changed too much from the team that won the league last year and whilst there have been some unfortunate injuries to key players like Van Persie, the squad should be strong enough to cope.
The Players State of Mind
This leads us all to think about what the state of mind the players must be in right now. It must play on their minds that they have gone from winning the league last year to where they are right now, with their seemingly being no way to turn things around.
Each and every poor performance must be having an effect on not only the player’s confidence levels but also on the decisions they are making each match. Their strategies on the field are simply not working as planned due to this chain reaction of bad results lowering confidence and effecting decision making. But how can the players and managerial staff go about turning things around?
Dr Paul Seager who is a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire recently wrote a blog post about the psychology involved in poker and whilst this is a different game, there is certainly a lot of what he said can be taken into football too.
He wrote on Full Tilt Poker “It is important to remember that in poker you are not only playing the cards that are dealt but your opponent too”, which for football would mean that the players would not only have to rely on their strategy but also learn a lot about what their opponents are doing.
He then went on “Concentrating purely on the cards will only take you so far in the sport, even if you are playing mathematically correct poker.”
So if the players and managing staff can work more on exploiting their opponent’s weaknesses rather than worrying too much about playing their own tactics flawlessly they might just be able to get a few good results and start to turn around a so far forgettable season.
We certainly hope so as the top four would not be the same without United within it.