After defeat to Feyenoord in the opening fixture of the Europa League, the Red Devils had to win their game against Zorya Luhansk last night to keep their chances of finishing as the group leaders alive.
With Jose Mourinho fielding the same attacking four that were fantastic against Leicester City, many fans predicted the side to cruise to an easy victory, which wasn’t the case.
Fellaini and Lingard not good enough to start
Marouane Fellaini and Jesse Lingard will be criticised for their performances last night, both individuals simply didn’t do enough to help the side.
Fellaini put in a decent shift defensively, but as a defensive midfielder at Manchester United, you are expected to dictate the play and increase the tempo of the game which he didn’t do.
Meanwhile, the situation for Lingard is quite different. He is a player who can be good on his day but we don’t get that day on a weekly basis. Once Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan get into their stride, it will become difficult for the English winger to get back into the starting line-up. The 23-year-old makes a lot of mistakes and lacks the creativity to be a regular starter for United.
Players need to take the competition more seriously
Luckily for United, Zorya were not effective in the final third of the pitch, otherwise it could have been another Europa League defeat for Jose Mourinho’s side.
It’s evident that the players and the manager don’t want to participate in the Europa League, and want to get back in the Champions League again next campaign. But it’s not a good enough excuse for the players to not perform to their best in these matches, keeping in mind that there is a trophy to play for.
No disrespect to the Ukrainian side, who looked impressive defensively and on the counter-attack, but the fact that United managed only two shots on target throughout the game is just not good enough. Mourinho fielded a strong attack so the Red Devils could bounce back from the loss to Feyenoord. Although the side picked up all three points, the victory wasn’t a convincing one for the fans to watch.
The good run for the Red Devils has finally started
Last night’s victory will certainly not be an inspirational triumph to remember, however, the side have now won three games in a row.
After the international break, United will be up against Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, which means Mourinho has to sort out his tactics and selection during the two-week break before these big fixtures arrive.
A tough October lies ahead for Mourinho and Manchester United,and it could easily turn into a make-or-break month for the side — the fixtures against Chelsea and Liverpool are both away from Old Trafford. On the positive side, United have the right quality within the side to get results in both of those matches as the squad is yet to go into full throttle this season.