Manchester United returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and contributing writer, Nathan Quao, underlines the main points from the close encounter.
Simplicity is genius
The most basic options and the simplest answers are often the best and Anthony Martial’s winning goal showed it.
A long ball from De Gea, the knock-down from Lukaku and the finish from Martial proved that not all goals must be scored using intricate moves.
It was obvious that Man United could not match Spurs’ industry and guile in their midfield and so, a second way was needed to find the breakthrough.
Mourinho brought on Lingard and Martial to run down the sides since Spurs had reinforced their midfield with Dembele. They decided to go long as they had also brought Llorente on but Man United beat them to the punch.
The Red Devils need to understand that Lukaku’s physique is a weapon even though he doe not use it often. He chooses to be more cerebral about his goals and that is a wonderful thing to do.
But in tough times, the team and Lukaku should decide on using him as a wall to bounce balls off. It is simple and it is effective. Teams have used it well and the goal from Martil only goes to show how viable that option is.
Man United scored against Middlesbrough last December in a 2-1 win at Old Trafford. Today, they went back to that sequence and they found that if you keep things simple, the answers will come.
Passion present, creativity absent
Ander Herrera worked all day together with Nemanja Matic in midfield and the Spaniard was lively. He was ready to do his bit for the team and that was commendable. But the busy shift could not hide the deficiencies.
He could not provide a lot going forward and that affects the team.
Granted, he is not built as a number 10 or a number 8, but he should surely be able to move the ball on into the attacking zones especially since Matic is doing a great job in the number 6 role.
It is important for the manager to see what Herrera can do and thrust him into those roles if the team will benefit fully. As things stand, he looks out of sync.
But he is not alone. Henrikh Mkhitaryan also needs to get better. It is a mystery to see that he has his free role and is still not delivering fully.
Could it be a lack of attacking options around him when the team is attacking or he has dipped in form?
There are many answers to be given across the season.
Martial comes up tops again
Rivalry among team mates, they say, is a bad thing but what is happening at Man United involving Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can be seen as a bit of a blessing.
Rashford starts, he works hard, gets subbed, Martial comes on , scores and proves a point and the team wins.
Martial showed it again and the team beat Spurs.
Jose Mourinho needs to understand the psychology of the cycle and use it well. It is a very good weapon to have and the manager must get the players to see what they have inadvertently discovered.
The secret weapon in United’s armour could just well be these two young players.