Manchester United succumbed to a 2-0 loss at Old Trafford to Manchester City in the derby on Wednesday night with the goals coming from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, observed the tie and has put down his observations.
Better effort than at Goodison
While the result, for some, may have been almost a certainty because of the quality of the opposition, the performance of Man United’s men on the field had a better look and feel that what was witnessed at Goodison Park.
Where there was no fight and pride and willingness to go and find something on Sunday, there was life in the players all round especially in the first half.
There were moments when movement, pace and drive looked like coming together. Paul Pogba looked up for it and he had some good ideas on the night.
Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford showed respectable levels of work ethic and had they taken better decisions on the break, a few more openings would have fallen the way of the Red Devils in the first half.
The manager said he was itching to see something from the players and on the score of the first half, he can find a few things to build on.
All round quality was absent
Despite the good work and effort, the Red Devils were undone by a lack of quality across certain parts of the pitch and Man City had those tools to make their work count.
David De Gea is still a very good goalkeeper but in the last few weeks, it has become clear that he is not at his super best and it showed again especially with the Leroy Sane goal.
One would have expected him to score higher points in that situation but he could not. In games against Arsenal, Everton and Barcelona, the otherwise reliable shot-stopper has shown his fallibility and something must be done about it.
There was also a shortage on the offensive and the biggest highlight was Jesse Lingard’s miss in the second half. Maybe he was unlucky or unfortunate but that was a chance nonetheless and it should have been taken. Another red flag for the technical team to look at going forward.
The result is done now but once again, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has been given a reminder that he has to build a team that needs to create and finish effortlessly.
Top four is possible
When the results of the week are looked at again, it becomes clear that there is still a chance for top four qualification. Of course, it will not be on a platter. Chelsea visit Old Trafford next and they must be beaten. That is something Man United can control.
However, the team will also need something from other teams like Leicester City who face Chelsea on the final day of the season.
It may come down to mathematics but if the team can win the final three games of the season, a ticket to the Champions League could still come the way of the Red Devils.
But one thing is clear: no matter the outcome of the season, Solksjaer has a huge task on his hands to create the Man United that is feared once again. He has the chance to turn the tide and make the sun shine again at Old Trafford.
He has to fulfill that mandate whether there is Champions League football or not.
It is non-negotiable.
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