Red Rising: Money can't buy you love, but apparently it can buy you fear
Welcome to Tuesday Team Talk. Every week, the H+K Sports team will give a unique perspective on the week’s football action and the stories making the headlines across the beautiful game.
It's terribly unfair to keep talking about Sir Alex Ferguson, but I'm going to do it anyway. The Manchester United teams of the Ferguson era ran through the Premier League with such efficiency, that it gave them an aura of almost complete invincibility. Such was their psychological advantage United in essence would turn up at grounds having already won. It's early days in this Premier League season, but there are signs that they may be getting their all-important fear factor back.
Watching United outclass Southampton in the first Friday Night Football of the season, they looked a very different team to the ones we've seen in the post-Ferguson era. Under Moyes and Van Gaal, United had plenty of good players but looked unsure of themselves. But on Friday night United they shone in large part thanks to their new signings, and it wasn't really about their footballing skills.
Pogba and Ibrahimovic share one trait above all others. They both have a fundamental belief right at their core that they are the best player on the pitch at any given moment. Against Southampton both were in sparkling form, Pogba running the show from midfield and Ibrahimovic continuing to score for fun as he has since he moved to Manchester. The level of self-belief that these world class players have is astronomical, and you can see it already spreading across the United dressing room. Once again United look like a team to fear.
The United teams under Ferguson were the ultimate footballing villains. The team you loved to hate, the big bad red monster of United was simultaneously the most popular and most hated team in the country. There have been exceptional teams in the years since United’s dominance faded, but none of them felt so self-assured and so intimidating as United once did. None have had the fear factor that comes from complete self-confidence. United spent a huge amount of money in the transfer window, but seem to have bought something we thought money couldn’t buy, self-belief. United look to be climbing back on their perch and while I’m not a United fan by any stretch, even I think that its a good thing. Every good story needs a villain, and United are looking once again like they could be the Premier League’s ultimate bad boys.