Another very poor performance from the men in Red tonight. Another home loss in European competition. Not so long ago it was a fortress. Now, an all you can eat buffet. Help yourself lad's.
First off, it was a wonderful game of football. Athletic Bilbao set a frenetic pace that Manchester United just could not match. Their technical ability was superior too ours, and we struggled to pass the ball. To keep hold of the ball.
We still went ahead. Chicarito was twisting, a swing of his left foot forced a good save, but Rooney powered home the rebound.Bilbao were level by halftime though. The impressive Llorente headed home after Phil Jones felt it was prudent too watch the striker amble into the danger area.
More was to come in the second half. David De Gea again produced a masterclass in shot stopping, saving us many a time. Too many a time. It wasn't as though are CB's had a bad game. They just had no hope and no help. Always outnumbered. No protection from the midfield whatsoever.
The second came from De Marcos. It reeked of offside, but the finish was wonderful, finding the bottom corner
And a third goal always looked more likely than a United equaliser. And so it proved. Patrice Evra was very harshly penalised after his boot fell off. Free kick given. From then, Bilbao broke, and De Gea saved once again parrying the ball away. Rafael just looked on as Muniain stormed past him to slot home what proved the winner. Whatever Rafael was doing, I do not know. All he had to do was get to the ball and send it to Row Z. Stupidity from the promising full back.
Yet there was still time for hope to be restored. Just a little. A penalty was awarded after De Marcos handled a cross. Wayne Rooney hammered it to reduce the deficit.
I must say though, I was very impressed with Bilbao. What a team. Their pressing caused us so many problems. The pace was far too hot to handle. The midfield, out gunned. Llorente was always a handful too. I have never seen such an English forward who is Spanish.
We looked dangerous on the counter, but was careless with our passing at crucial times. But we would have been stuffed tonight had it not been for De Gea. Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling had good games too, but they couldn't do it all on their own. Too many gaping holes. Too much space in between the lines.
I don't hold too much hope for the second leg. Maybe a blessing in disguise. Lets be honest, we all would rather the League than the Europa League. But to lose in such a way is very disappointing. 4-4-2 just doesn't cut it in some games. This was such a game
None the less. Well played Bilbao. And very well played Bielsa.