Manchester United faced Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday and the result was very disappointing – a goalless draw. It has been four games since United have bagged a win, and things are just getting worse.
Mourinho’s performance and attitude have created a lot of tension for the team and the fans clearly want him out. Even the players themselves have lost faith in him.
Here are few of the things we learned from this fixture:
The managerial crisis :
Mourinho has been making all the headlines but for all the wrong reasons. With every fixture that goes by, his time at United is just getting worse. After a bad start to the season, the fans were still optimistic about his future. Things are sideways now, every fan is asking the board to sack ‘the special one’. His chemistry with the team has been poor, often switching tactics that have given disappointing results and it often seems that they are holding back from playing at their full potential.
In an interview with BT Sport, United legend Paul Scholes said:
“I’m actually slightly surprised he survived after Saturday, the performance was so bad,” he told BT Sport.
“He’s coming out in press conferences constantly having a go at players, having at go at people above him because he’s not getting what he wants.
“I think his mouth is out of control and I think he’s embarrassing the club.”
Manchester United desperately need a change in management. All this while we would just keep our hopes up high for the next fixture to be fruitful, but things tend to get as messy as it were before.
We can’t be sure if replacing Mourinho would certainly change everything. But after watching United’s performance so far, I am sure that letting Mourinho stay would do the club no good.
The midfield blunder :
Against Valencia, Mourinho played with a midfield that consisted of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini. Matic stood as the holding midfielder while the other two played ahead of him as the central midfielders. This was a wrong call – playing both Fellaini and Matic together was a very wrong decision. We just got our hands on Fred in the summer transfer season and he never showed up in the starting XI. Fans have often cheered United’s midfield trio of Pereira, Fred and Pogba. They seemed like the perfect combination as they had all that was needed for a creative midfield.
Mourinho’s experiment with midfield was a clear hit and miss. It severely cut down the energy and pace needed to bring the ball forward. The only reason why Mourinho must have played two defensive midfielders against the Spaniards is because he was to concede a goal at Old Trafford. It had an adverse affect on the squad and was one of the main reasons why the Reds were unable to create many chances.
The aging defense :
United played with Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia as their full-backs. While one of them is proving his worth, the other one lacks the luster he once had. It is quite evident that Valencia’s time is up. He was one of the best players last season but has been struggling to keep up his form lately. We all love Valencia, he is a solid defender and quite a responsible captain but I think United need a replacement. On the other hand, Luke Shaw is showing great promise. He might not have created a lot of chances in the last match but has been uptight defensively.
The final third :
Marcus Rashford was just absolutely spectacular against Valencia. He was playing the way United should be playing all this while. Pushing through the defense and attacking tirelessly. Most of United’s attack involved him in some way or the other. Even though they did not convert a goal from any of the chances, the sheer will to create was good to see from him. Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez still strives to prove his worth. In every attack he easily loses the ball to the opposition, which is why the fans target him to be a bad addition to the squad. Lukaku has not been in good form as well. His performance was quite contradictory to the way he played at the World Cup.
Manchester United are undergoing a really hard time. No one knows for sure what’s going on off the pitch, but as I have said before, we’ve got to set things in order or else we are just going to be standing in the middle of the table. In their next fixture, United are set to play at home and we can’t afford to get anything but a win this time.