Lack of creativity, lack of pace, lack of passion, lack of fighting spirit, lack of…. The “lacking” list can go on for Manchester United today as they tasted their second defeat in less than a week, this time in the Europa League opener, as Feyenoord came out deserved winners for the first group game in Netherlands. The Dutch side really gave Mourinho and Co. something to dwell on as they pressed high almost throughout the first half, kept a very good pace, and kept the ball more than United, while the latter’s bad habit of hoofing the ball just won’t go any time soon it seems. The match against Man City saw the media label United’s football as prehistoric, and today it could have been the same outcome had Feyenoord had some stars in the team. Rashford and Martial started this time, but both flopped majestically this time as the opposition defense closed them down quickly whenever they had the ball, not allowing them any space whatsoever, while Pogba is really not justifying his 100M price tag so far, trying to do complicated things when simplicity is required most of the time, and today he was given a more advanced role than in his previous appearances, but yet again failed to impress.
United had only one clear chance at goal in the first half, and yet despite Darmian’s cross finding Martial in the box, the Frenchman’s finish was really awful as the ball went well wide. Feyenoord for their part enjoyed most of the possession, and had two decent attempts on target, but not really troubling De Gea in goal. Feyenoord finished the first half on a very high note, but failed to find the goal they were looking for. United started the second half on a higher gear, but the impetus lasted only for a few minutes, and they were quickly back to their so accustomed “pedestrian” tempo, and not troubling the opposition at all. Rashford started to cut a very frustrated figure up front, as he was not given any support by his teammates when trying to pressurize the defense, and just after the hour mark, Mourinho decided to make his 3 subs, by sending on Zlatan, Young and Memphis for Rashford, Martial and Mata. Things did not change positively for United thou, and instead they found themselves in trouble as the game wore on, on the 79th minute to be precise. Jorgensen managed to play past United’s offside-trap, and laid a beauty of a pass into the path of Vilhena, who calmly slotted the ball past the desperate lunge of De Gea. It was may be the wake up call United needed, but it came too late for them as Feyenoord bolstered their defensive play, and United’s hoofing play just gave them the advantage required to hold on to a precious win. Mourinho or not, we are still seeing a United side built in LVG’s era playing on, a clueless one, which sometimes manages to perform when the oppositions are afraid of them, then struggle when the latter decide to take things into their own hands (and feet).