NO TACTICS, NO FLUIDITY, NO IDEA!!!!!!! That would be how I would describe, Manchester United’s performance in their first leg round of 16 clash at the Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium against Sevilla, and that’s me being generous. Yes a half decent result at 0-0, but that just papers over the cracks of an awful performance (it took me back to the dark days of LVG) where nobody really came out smelling of roses except for David De Gea (standard) and maybe Scott McTominay (escapes as much criticism as a young academy player promoted). So what is going wrong at Old Trafford? They have not really put in a stellar performance, in my opinion, since their visit to Everton on New Years Day which resulted in a 0-2 victory and even then the opposition didn’t even try and lay a glove on them until the game was pretty much over and done with.
Only last month, manager Jose Mourinho was given what basically amounted to a years contract extension and all seemed rosy in the camp, he was also afforded Alexis Sanchez too, happy days you would think. However since that time United performances have left a lot to be desired with defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle in abject displays, worryingly showing minimal fight. Notably in both those games, the tactics have been non-descript with no drive at all within the team, especially from midfield. Recent issues with record signing Paul Pogba are not helping as his team look rudderless despite the quality of players at his disposal.
Whilst the manager clearly has to take responsibility, he is not out there on the pitch and in my opinion the players are culpable too. Whether you like Mourinho’s style of football or not, one things for sure his teams create chances (big ones at that) to win football matches and the players have to take responsibility for this. One noticeable thing I have seen especially in recent matches is that retention of the ball and simple passes have been poor, against Sevilla, it was a total shambles. These are highly paid players who should be able to pass to other players on their team. You would think footballers would have pride in their performance, whether they get on with the manager or not, from what I am seeing lately there are a number who don’t, which for me is embarrassing and tells me a lot about their attitude full stop.
Whatever the problems, they need to be rectified and fast. Due to the recent downturn in form their seemingly secure top 4 place is not as secure as once thought. There is only 4 points separating United who are in 2nd and Tottenham Hotspur who are 5th. Liverpool and Chelsea are 3rd and 4th respectively and with Manchester City a shoo in for top spot, four into three does not go, somebody is going to miss out. This Sunday, Chelsea rock up at Old Trafford and then Liverpool in two weeks time. In between a tricky trip to Crystal Palace is in store. After those league matches the 2nd leg against Sevilla then a home FA Cup 6th Round tie against Brighton awaits. The landscape could either be very nice to look at or a big turn off come the international break mid-March.
Whoever is at fault (for me it is a collective) – the Red Devils need to find a way out of this downturn, there is still time to make amends and get back on track. Make no mistake about it, the futures of the manager and some players will be on the line if recent efforts continue, especially of the turgid, poor and downright lamentable sort we saw in southern Spain on Wednesday night.
Let me know what you think
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