After a poor run of form, a game against league 1 side Northampton put the team back onto winning terms and gave Mourinho a few things to consider.
The problems in midfield and finding the right balance has been a big talking point in the recent losses, but this game could have just given Mourinho the answer to these problems. Just as Paul Scholes suggested, 35 year old Carrick could be a short term solution as Mourinho searches for that defensive midfielder to accompany Pogba. He quickly settled into the middle of the park and provided the perfect link between defence and attack, and he even started the scoring off with a wonderful strike.
It was tough to decide the man of the match, and Carrick definitely deserved it, but had it been my choice I would have given it to Herrera. Whenever a player had the ball, the rest of the team seemed to be nowhere near as if they were afraid to receive it, but Herrera was always asking for it and this helped move defence into attack much more smoothly and risk free. It’s this energy in the midfield that compliments Carrick as Herrera works hard on and off the ball and he is one of the few United players whom I have seen press this season. He also has a fantastic attitude to work hard for the team rather than for himself, and maybe this could inspire other players to put some more effort in, as being the club that has covered the least distance in the league is truly embarrassing.
After this performance it would be hard for Mourinho to not play both Herrera and Carrick, and so I believe a midfield 3 of Herrera, Pogba and Carrick must start on the weekend. This though would mean the dropping of Rooney, who in my eyes was an absolute embarrassment. In a game that should have been him going out to prove a point against a smaller side, he was shocking. I must admit that prior to the game I wasn’t expecting a great performance from him, but I thought that as usual he’d score a tap in and everyone would think that “he’s back”. But he couldn’t even do that! Every time he received the ball he’d lose possession. It’s as if this season is providing us with some of the most dreadful performances from players I have ever seen, beginning with Lingard, then Rojo having an absolute shocker, but Rooney seems to have topped it off.
I’d like to compare Rooney to Rashford, who despite only being on for 30 minutes or so, was nominated by the club as one of the options for man of the match. Rashford, during his short time on the pitch provided a goal and assist, but what really impressed me, like Herrera, was his attitude. The last time I saw a Manchester United player make a run like that to pressurise the goal keeper was Chicharito, and so it was great to see Rashford showing how much he wants to do well for the team by making that run. I can’t imagine Rooney making that run now. He can barely pass the ball, let alone actually threaten a league 1 defence. It is now time for Rooney to really consider what he wants to do and if that involves staying at United then maybe he needs to learn a thing or 2 from the 18 year old star.
To summarise, though it was only Northampton we were playing, there were a lot of things Mourinho and the players can take away from the game. Rooney was shocking, whilst Herrera and Rashford both went out with a great attitude looking like they wanted to do well for the badge on the shirt regardless of the stature of the opposition.
Sergio Romero: 5.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah: 6.
Chris Smalling: 5.
Daley Blind: 6.
Marcos Rojo: 4.
Michael Carrick: 8.
Morgan Schneiderlin: 7.
Ander Herrera: 8 (my MOTM).
Ashley Young: 5.
Wayne Rooney: 0.
Thank you for reading!
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