Three things from Manchester United’s Champions League exit
Manchester United disappointed on many levels in bailing out of the UEFA Champions League at the Round of 16.
[ RECAP: Man Utd 1-2 (1-2 agg.) Sevilla ]
It wasn’t a matter of bounces, as United was outplayed by the visitors and failed to show anything clinical in attack aside from a Jesse Lingard chance and workmanlike 90 minutes from Romelu Lukaku.
Here are three things we gathered from the contest.
For a guy making loads and loads of money and seeking a more ambitious club than Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez essentially went missing at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
The No. 7 red shirt was involved in some combination play, creating some first half chances, but was nowhere near the difference maker he was so many times for the Gunners.
Maybe this is down to Jose Mourinho and Sanchez still familiarizing themselves with each other’s strengths, but the Chilean missed a chance to become an Old Trafford hero in a building which has seen so many heroes etch their way into memory.
UPDATE: You know who agrees? Rio Ferdinand, who said, “The whole 11 today were shocking.”
Mourinho not bailed out by De Gea
Just days after outfoxing Jurgen Klopp in a big derby win, Jose Mourino failed to deliver another winning tactical plan for Manchester United.
Mourinho entered the match with a nil-nil score line, and apparently didn’t think his side could score one more goal than it conceded at Old Trafford.
Marouane Fellaini started the match in the midfield, and the first half saw loads of balls sent to him at the back post for knockdowns. Super sub Jesse Lingard also started and was quite active, denied by Sergio Rico’s fine form.
Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were on the bench to start, both recovering from injuries but fit for substitute roles.
Was Sevilla prepared for more from United? Steven N’Zonzi seems puzzled by the hosts.
“I thought they were going to press a little bit more, but I don’t really want to talk about the game it’s a great win,” N’Zonzi said.
So often, Mourinho has been bailed out by his talent, in particular his dynamic keeper David De Gea.
But De Gea was slow to recognize Wissam Ben Yedder’s intentions on Sevilla’s first goal (below), and his attempt to slap the Frenchman’s difficult back post header over the goal ended up bounding off the post and into the net.
While he’s not the villain of the loss, he wasn’t near his impervious best on the United goals.
Lukaku makes some amends as the lone bright spot
Romelu Lukaku has, rightly or wrongly, been criticized for his big game performances.
He wasn’t perfect on Tuesday, but the Big Belgian was one of United’s lone bright spots well before he bullied his way into the box to score the side’s lone goal of the tie.
Just as he did against Liverpool at the weekend, Lukaku ran himself ragged tracking down passes and getting very physical with Sevilla’s back line.
It just wasn’t enough, as the bevy of busy and creative players able to play off Lukaku simply did not.