Mourinho’s first European game in charge of Manchester United did not go to plan as it was more reminiscent of a game under Van Gaal than a Manchester United team making a statement after a derby loss.
Yes it was only the first group game in the Europa league and it’s only early on in the season, but for some of the players on that pitch it should have been a huge game for them. Fringe players such as Matteo Darmian and Memphis were given the chance to impress and fight for more game time, but they disappointed. It was disheartening seeing the lack of determination or passion from those players that should be desperate to play for Manchester United in this new era for the club.
However, there was one player who particularly made me question why the club signed him. Marcos Rojo was completely dreadful in the left back position, losing the ball consistently, being in the wrong positions most of the time and failing to win the ball back. Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Rojo has been one of my least favourite signings, as I don’t believe he is anywhere near the standard of a Manchester United player and I don’t remember him ever having a game where I’ve been really impressed.
Compare that to Daley Blind though, who despite not having the best game against Manchester City, has performed on a consistent basis and has played some absolutely superb games. It also says a lot that I would’ve preferred to see 19 year old Borthwick-Jackson, currently on loan at Wolves, or winger Young than Rojo at left back. It is time for him to go, and I’d prefer to see other players be given an opportunity.
It was not all Rojo’s fault though as Mourinho seemed to either get the tactics completely wrong or the players just didn’t take the game seriously enough. The thing that angered me the most was the last of pressing or attacking intensity, as the team sat incredibly deep. 18 year old Rashford tried his best to encourage the team to move forward, but most of the game he was left isolated with a huge gap between him and the midfield. I felt quite sorry for him when he was taken off as I don’t think he deserved to be and he could have maybe made more of an impact with the introduction of the new players.
All in all it was an extremely dull game with not a single player stepping up to the plate and making an impression. There was a severe lack of urgency of determination and it was very similar to the style of football we witnessed under Van Gaal. However, there are a lot of things Mourinho can take away from this game and it shouldn’t be long until we see the real Manchester United.
David De Gea: 6.
Matteo Darmian: 3.
Eric Bailly: 7.
Chris Smalling: 6.
Marcos Rojo: 1.
Morgan Schneiderlin: 5.
Paul Pogba: 4.
Ander Herrera: 7.
Juan Mata: 4.
Marcus Rashford: 5.
Anthony Martial: 3.
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