Sterling should convert to striker’s position - By: David Billington | Dailytrust

Sterling should convert to striker’s position

Manchester City striker, Raheem Sterling
Manchester City striker, Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s sulk and interest in a move to another club to gain match time has stirred Bernado Silva and Pep Guardiola into commenting. Bernado spent a short time out of the first team, waiting his chance and came back with man-of-the-match performances against Liverpool and Burnley.

In the Burnley contest he literally ran the game. He said this week, in a direct comment aimed at Sterling, “The amount of good players we have in this squad is crazy. All of us are important. We are fighting four competitions and we want to win them all. Everyone needs to be fit and prepared. It’s tough when you’re not playing the minutes you want. It’s happened with me and most of the players here – you have to fight for your place.” I have often joked that City’s substitute’s bench are capable of winning the Premier League! From inside City’s stronghold the view is that Guardiola prefers either Foden or Grealish out on the left wing which leaves Raheem only the central striker’s position. Pep has done a lot of work with Raheem to turn him into a goal machine but he is still not a goal poacher and if he is to have a future at Maine Road he has to adapt his style of play and score more often.

Ronaldo needs to press opponents more

Despite denials by Ole Gunner Solskjaer that he is not worried, you don’t often read about Cristiano Ronaldo being criticised but that is happening a lot at the moment. The problem revolves around his reluctance to get involved in midfield. After the Leicester game manager Brendan Rogers said that because United were not putting pressure on his team in midfield it allowed them to play through the middle with patience and ease in building an attack. Ronaldo plays a different game these days now he is considerably older. At 36 years-of-age he prefers to be a penalty area predator taking opportunites to put the ball in the back of the net rather than digging the ball out of midfield and dribbling forward. Five goals in seven games since returning to Old Trafford underline that he is still very good as a goal poacher. However, his failure to press opponents often leave United exposed and easy to control in midfield. Ronaldo is used to success and he has failed to hide his disappointment with some of his United performances this season.  

Solskjaer should take control

Worrying news is that player morale is very low at Manchester United after a series of disappointing results. Following the 4-2 defeat to Leicester, Ole Gunner Solskjaer kept his team back in the dressing room for 45 minutes as they discussed what had gone wrong. United have a tough three match period coming up against Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City. Some of the players are depressed and it will be test of Solskjaer’s skills as a manager and ex-player to try and lift his team this weekend when they host Liverpool. When one of your star players says after losing, “We’ve been having these kind of games for a long time and haven’t solved the problem. We’re conceding easy, stupid goals.” That was Paul Pogba dropping his boss Ole Gunner Solskjaer in some very hot water. At the Carrington training ground Solskjaer held his hands up and admitted he got things very wrong. The word from inside United is that the owners, the Glazer brothers, and Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward are standing by Solskjaer but he has been told that this season they have to win a trophy or else the Norwegian could be shown the exit door.

Tuchel supports Lukaku

Chelsea bought Romelu Lukaku to score goals but he is now six games without him hitting the net. Lukaku is a totally unselfish striker who makes as many assists as he does goals. The £98million signing’s goal drought has prompted manager Thomas Tuchel to remark that he has no long term worries and told us in midweek, “I am not concerned as I feel he is just a bit tired. He is very unselfish at the moment and is always looking for Timo Werner in a good position.” Tuchel also commented that perhaps Chelsea are playing a little too deep in midfield and that is starving Lukaku of scoring opportunities and he addressed that point this week in training.

Rare mistake for Guardiola?

Pep Guardiola doesn’t make many mistakes however not signing a striker in the summer window might be one of them. City has the best squad in the league but they might yet trail in behind Liverpool because they have the lethal strike force of Firmino, Jota, Mane and Salah. Between them they have notched up 20 goals and we are only in mid-October. Pep went for Jack Grealish a winger. Rivals Chelsea also only have one recognised world class striker in Romelu Lukaku. Anyone care to bet against Liverpool taking the title again this season? 

Rumours of big protest this weekend at Man United

I am praying it doesn’t happen but the word around Manchester this week is that there will be a huge protest by United fans against the Glazer brother owners and calling for the sacking of Ole Gunner Solskjaer. Interestingly the Glazers sold £117million of United shares this week. Fan groups are calling for mass support so that the ground becomes a fortress under siege. United staff have been working with local authorities including the Greater Manchester police forces and extra security is being put in place. Matches against arch-rivals Liverpool are always a potential exploding powder keg and United’s drop in performances is the touch paper.

Newcastle need to act quickly

A Newcastle fan left his tickets at home for the match against Tottenham and when he arrived at the box office he was expecting to pay extra for his tickets. “We’re not that sort of club any longer,” he was told, “this is a new era and the new owners want to support their fans and help them.” He was let into the game for free when his tickets were re-printed. It was party time at St James’ Park and the new owners, the Saudi contingent and Amanda Staveley were in a laughing, jovial mood as Newcastle took the lead but their facial expressions changed as Tottenham drew level and then won the game. It might be the new Newcastle but it’s the same old football…the club desperately need to spend some of those oil billions in the New Year before it’s too late. Who was first down the tunnel after the Tottenham match: Steve Bruce who was tired of being abused from the stands. Steve has now departed Newcastle but with only 3 points and sitting next to bottom of the league several top managers have ruled themselves out as not interested. Most notable are Brendan Rogers and Antonio Conte. The main managerial name being discussed at the club is Belgian national team boss Roberto Martinez as he is experienced in the Premier League and two possible transfer targets are Southampton’s James Ward Prowse and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha. One shock managerial name is ex-Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe but I have also picked up whispers for Paulo Fonseca (the bookmakers favourite), Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, Frank Lampard and Dortmund coach Lucien Favre. In a developing row between the Premier League and Newcastle 18 clubs voted this week to prevent the new Saudi owners from making lucrative sponsorship deals involving existing relationships. Only Abu Dhabi owned Manchester City voted with Newcastle and they are sponsored by Etihad Airways which is owned by the Middle East government. Clubs are worried that deals made in Saudi Arabia for Newcastle will give the club an unfair advantage. 

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