Man United’s best result in Europe? Keown had a point…
7 days ago, 17:54
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Keown had a point
Like many I scoffed when Keown proclaimed last night’s result as Manchester United’s finest; how dare he undermine legends of old and place Jose on a pedestal above Busby and Fergie. On the face of it he was simply caught up in the moment when trying to earn his crust as a commentator by delivering a bold and rousing statement to mark the occasion, it was as much impulsive as it was uninformed but could maybe be forgiven due to his lack of United allegiance.
In a moment of quiet reflection however, I think he may have actually been right. Yes United have triumphed in more important games, I could wax lyrical about 68, 99 and 08 and make a case for the Cup Winners Cup or Europa League wins, however these victories are tempered with the level of expectation attached to them. Whilst no club has a divine right to win European competitions, in the years mentioned above United would always be considered to be in with a chance and any win would hardly send shock-waves around the continent.
Last night however, suggesting United were even underdogs is a tad generous, if we’re honest they were rank outsiders and that’s why it stands alone and why Keown had a valid point. United have beaten big clubs before but never when they’ve lined up as markedly inferior opponents. Turin in 99 is the obvious case study due to the chief protagonists, United being 2-0 down on the night with Juve having an away goal in hand left United with a mountain to climb, but when the draw was made a United progression over 2 legs was not beyond the realms of possibility.
The only comparable performance is the Robson inspired victory over Maradona’s Barcalona in 1984, but even when a United victory appears unlikely Old Trafford acts as a great leveller where there is always an expectation to at least compete.
It may only have been an indecisive 4th round group game that will count for nothing come final reckoning, but this was a victory that should be celebrated and remembered for its merits. United’s resources will always precede them but in purely footballing terms this was as close to a giant-killing as United are ever likely to achieve. Going against the grain somewhat, I applaud Mr Keown for his insight and apologise on behalf of my fellow scoffers.
In conclusion, I rest uncomfortable knowing Martin Keown is one step ahead, Jose may not be the fraud we dared to suspect, Martial is a joy to behold and Juan Mata is a beautiful beautiful man.
Luck here, chief
In response to Dino (Pogba & Sanchez should leave)Kantardzic in this morning’s mailbox. I started off by agreeing with much of what you said in your opening paragraph. Yes Juve should of probably had 3 goals but for the grace of the woodwork and some poor finishing. You kind of contradict yourself though by then saying we played ...
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