Manchester United suffered their second defeat in five days, losing to Feyenoord in match day one of the Europa League. Manager Jose Mourinho made eight changes to his side which lost to Manchester City on Saturday.
Only Paul Pogba, Eric Bailly and David de Gea remained in the first team following the weekend’s defeat, and the rotation was a factor in United’s lack of creativity in the final third.
A Tonny Vilhena goal with 12 minutes to play was enough for Feyenoord, as they started their Europa League campaign with a win.
Here’s three things we learnt from tonight’s encounter:
Paul Pogba has not arrived yet
The world’s most expensive football was again a disappointment. It was expected that he would control games with his powerful, determined runs from midfield, but this hasn’t happened. Instead, the Frenchman has looked lost and at times puzzled at what it is he is doing. Man City ran rings around him on Saturday, and during this match he again looked out-of-touch. Jose played him in an advanced position tonight and so there was plenty of hope that this would be the night he would arrive, but as another game passes, it still hasn’t happened.
The Europa League is clearly not a priority
Even if Jose says they have to be respectable and try to win the competition, it is clear that many of the players lack the motivation to play on a Thursday night. Many players didn’t travel, suggesting Jose himself sees this as very low down the pecking order. Wayne Rooney didn’t travel, Zlatan was on the bench, both of which may just be tactical, but many of the other players look to lack real passion for this game. It turned into a match reminiscent of that of under Louis Van Gaal, something fans really don’t want to see.
That said, this is a real opportunity for squad players to impress and so if Jose can get that into his player’s heads, then this still could be a trophy that could end up at Old Trafford.
There could be a possible derby hangover
Before the derby defeat, United were playing with strength and power, looking like a team who couldn’t be beaten. During this game, they looked like a team that lacked the creativity and drive to win. Has the derby defeat taken away some of that early confidence? The big test will come this weekend, where the return of the main squad and the Premier League will tell us if the derby defeat really has left a mark on this side.
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