Manchester United tasted their first loss of the season after a 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, of Citi Sports, Accra, Ghana, picks out the main talking points.
Zero output from players
For a team seeking to fare better than last season, the least thing one could have expected was a lack of effort.
The players looked very slow and very ill-prepared for the tie.
When Man United go anywhere, the effort from the opponent is ten times more and Huddersfield did exactly that.
Their attacking style of play is fueled by their willingness to get something done and that was amplified a million times since the Red Devils were in town.
United’s players failed to recognize this early in the game. Mata, Herrera, Lindelof, Martial and Lukaku were below par and the defeat was just rewards for what was clearly diagnosed as a lack of fight, effort and the right attitude.
It was fascinating seeing the group fall apart so easily and they will have to find a response in subsequent matches because the gap at the top of the table is beginning to widen and Spurs are also closing in.
Strange from Mourinho
The Manager, Jose Mourinho, also contributed to the defeat by failing to play his part.
It did not take a long time too see that Huddersfield were going to press a lot and they stocked their midfield to aid them with that objective.
Yet, the gaffer did not urge the players to try new things for 70 minutes.
It is true that the players were poor but the manager guides them and so, he should make the needed changes at the right time.
The second half shape looked very queer and the team struggled to understand its path going forward.
Things got clearer when Rashford was identified as the main man and he served as the outlet and the heartbeat.
Jose Mourinho is a very good coach and thus, he should not be afraid to make his intelligence show if need be because there are times when players will let you down.
If you decide to join them on that road, the team suffers and it happens against Huddersfield.
Tough decisions are needed now
People often argue that players deserve opportunities but players need to show that they are ready for the chances to play.
They need to see every second as an audition and they must make their case each and every time.
It seems Victor Lindelof has not understood that lesson yet and he must be put away if need be for him to see the lesson.
His uncertainty or unwillingness to head a long ball led to Huddersfield’s second goal.
Juan Mata must also be taken through the learning process that will urge to put in more industry and intelligence when facing more physical opponents.
His loss of a pass and his unwillingness to take down his player led to Huddersfield’s first goal.
The manager must find a new role for Andre Herrera. He looks very out of place more so as Matic is excelling as a shield.
Herrera needs to go into his tool box and recalibrate himself so he can serve in another role. His deployment in the centre of the pack against more physical opponents, like what happened at Stoke, has been counterproductive.
The debate concerning Anthony Martial and whether he needs to start or not was further highlighted today.
Rashford provides more energy and pace when he starts. Martial can provide thrust later on in games. Enough has been seen to settle that score.