Ian Herbert: Club built on steel appears to have gone soft at the core
Industry runs to the core of Manchester United's opposition tonight – Otelul Galati were formed 47 years ago to represent Romania's largest steel factory – but there is questionable fire in a side against whom anything but victory for United tonight would be a catastrophe.
The Romanian champions do have players to treat with care. Midfielder Gabriel Paraschiv is the one they enthuse about locally for a game intelligence not matched by pace, and 26-year-old striker Marius Pena has physical presence. But the side managed by Dorinel Munteanu, legend of Romania's 1994 World Cup side, have looked anything but champions since stealing in to take the domestic title in a close six-way race last season.
Discipline obscured their mediocrity as Otelul took that championship and no one here is surprised to see them languishing in mid-table domestically, with 12 points from 10 games. They have scored 13 goals in 14 games in all competitions this season.
The enthusiasm nurtured by Munteanu – a member of the Romania national side which reached the last four of the 1994 finals and, after knocking out England, the same stage of Euro 2000 – seems to have gone. The stadium will be filled with Romanian neutrals tonight: Otelul have sold only 3,000 tickets.
Wow - what a weekend for British Motorcycle racing!
by Luke Wilkins
22 May 2013 05:00 AM
The dust is barely settling on the Premier League season and the bookies are looking to persuade us ...
by Gareth Purnell
22 May 2013 02:01 AM
The guard has changed at Old Trafford for the first time in 26 years. Meanwhile, down the road, the ...
by The Sports Lawyer
21 May 2013 10:01 PM
Gaël Clichy: Roberto Mancini must take share of blame for dismissal
Sergio Garcia apologises for 'fried chicken' remark aimed towards Tiger Woods
Exclusive: Championship clubs set to push for safe-standing trials
Phil Neville in frame for role at Stoke City
Andy Carroll stalls on £15m move to West Ham in hope Newcastle step in
- 1 Terror at Woolwich barracks: Attacker tried to behead and disembowel British soldier
- 2 Gay couple beaten in park urge MPs to moderate language on gay marriage
- 3 After woman sells virginity for $780,000, here are the results of our prostitution survey
- 4 China agrees to impose carbon targets by 2016
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.