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Reactions to the draw with Shakhtar Donetsk

Match reactions1. We would have settled for a point ahead of kick-off, at a ground no English club has ever won at before, but it’s hard not to be disappointed with the result after taking the lead so early and containing our opponents until late in to the game. After a great first half performance, it was frustrating to see us take our foot off the gas in the second half. We sat back and let Donetsk come at us and in the end we paid the price. You do have to wonder how the game might have finished if we had started the second half as positively as we did the first, but it stands to reason that an away performance in Europe will be cagey. God knows we’ve seen Fergie do the same.

2. Danny Welbeck gets a lot of stick from United fans and I genuinely can’t understand how any red can’t want the best for him, and be patient enough to wait and see if he’s got what it takes. He’s only 22-years-old and has shown signs of being a quality player. You get the likes of Rooney and Ronaldo who were bossing it when they were teenagers, but they’re the freaks here. Welbeck has flaws in his game but it’s very rare for someone his age not to have. He was in the right place at the right time for our only goal of the game and put in a great shift out wide. Having a player who genuinely loves the club, has spent his whole life dreaming of playing for us, and who has learnt his trade here is a luxury. Please be patient with him.

3. Chris Smalling may have just edged Rio Ferdinand out of our starting XI, with yet another competent performance in our back four. He played a blinder against Liverpool in the cup and was fully deserving of another opportunity to prove himself. Smalling is such a composed player, such a natural defender, and I hope we get to see more of him in the coming weeks. He’s a player who has really taken advantage of the opportunity Moyes has given him and he should be rewarded for that.

4. The goal was a disappointing one to concede, with the cross coming through Carrick’s legs and Vidic not able to react quickly enough to do anything other than stab the ball in to the path of Taison. There was nothing David de Gea could do with the resulting shot though. It came at him so quickly. There were a couple of occasions in the game when our goalie was getting stuck in, showing a bravery we were missing when he first signed.

5. Marouane Fellaini had another fairly underwhelming performance although deserves credit for setting up our goal. Imagine we’d signed him before his clause expired. Not only would we have saved some money but he would have spent the pre-season with us. As it is, he’s been thrown in to the team with players he is not familiar with and expected to fit right in. The midfield did look more assured with Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick alongside him, and you imagine that Moyes is wishing he went for a similar line-up at the Etihad a couple of weeks ago. When Fellaini was replaced by Ryan Giggs, who broke the all-time record for European Cup appearances, we looked a bit sparse in midfield, so maybe the Belgian was doing more right than he had been given credit for. His night was summed up though when he was booked for a foul Antonio Valencia made.

6. United are top of their Champions League group and put in an assured European away performance, particularly in the first half. Those berating Moyes have very short memories. Those of us who can remember back to last season, or even the season before, will be more than aware of how familiar displays like this are from United in Europe. Moyes is learning all the time and, so far, the man with no Champions League experience is doing a decent enough job in the competition.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. RedMist says:

    Yet another poor performance from United.
    Another questionable team selection by Moyes, again.

    Mediocre players like Welbeck, Valencia, Cleverley, Young are ruining us.
    You can be as optimistic as you like about Welbeck but the fact is he isn’t good enough.
    Yes he works his socks off but I like to see a bit of ability, a bit of consistency in a player. Welbeck has limited supplies of both.
    Way too often he fails to do the simple things right. Will opt for a saucy flick or back heel when the simple pass is on. More often than not a move breaks down when it goes to Welbeck, Young, Valencia.
    Cleverley must be contractually obliged to pass 90%of his passes to centre backs. Doesn’t matter how much space he has behind him, when he gets the ball it is invariably a one touch pass back to the back four. Hardly ever puts his foot on the ball and turns to face the opponent. No balls.
    Fellaini is a complete waste of space, and as I said in the summer, he is working his way further forward, shortly to be RVP’s support striker. They Moyes will have his long ball team all set up. No creativity in the middle of the pitch, ineffective wingers repeatedly getting picked ahead of better players. All so that we can his long balls to RVP.
    Brilliant tactics.
    In the context of one result, yes a point in Donetsk is not bad, but in the context of the season so far its yet another no balls display again focusing on not losing rather than actually taking a game to the opponents. Something Moyes is incapable of doing.
    One word review? Shite.

  2. The Truth says:

    @United till I die

    Agreed, impressive start by Moyes in Europe even if the football served up last night was the usual drivel. We know we have no chance of winning it though, as Moyes himself told us, so I wouldn’t get too excited if I were you.

  3. Wee Toms Ligaments says:

    I must have watched a different game. Welbeck scored a poachers goal – from the LW position – and Cleverley helped Carrick and Fellaini control the middle of the pitch. Valencia stretched the right side and brought a balance from offense to defense.

    I can accept that a more adventurous attacking team would have pounced on the momentum of that first half. However, Van Persie looked knackered from the kick off and isolated himself further by walking from side to side in the middle third. And the defensive lapse that allowed the goal came after the “not fit for United” Fellaini was subbed off. Shaktar pressed and United did not have the answer.

    Bigger picture here is the result. A point away is a point earned. Two more away performances like that and United win their group. What will the excuse be then? This United team are not good enough to beat Bayern? Crucify a team and manager for a hypothetical game? Damn moaners.

  4. Random says:

    Great article, as usual. Sums up yesterday perfectly.

  5. Nemz says:

    Truth be told even to those who never want to open their eyes and think that people who complain are glory hunters.
    We played poorly in the second half. Shakhtar is a strong team but i dont want to imagine us playing away to a team like Bayern, The fact that no English club has ever won there doesnt mean a draw or a loss is justified, we are UNITED, we are bigger than those other teams.
    I don’t get when people bash Welbeck, he is still young and being played out of position when there’s a natural winger who just signed a 5 year contract and who in my opinion is the best winger we have
    For Fellaini, i dont think we direly needed him, he aint a game changer. i wonder what those people who always bash young will do this time round considering the amount we paid

  6. utdforever says:

    For what’s it’s worth I think our performance last night was a good one and something we can build off. We’ve shipped quite a few goals recently and to take the lead early on and to only give them a handful of chances is encouraging. Yes, we conceded but it’s not like they were under that much pressure, we played deep yes, but we kept our shape defended beautifully.

    You have to pick your spots and last night wasn’t a game for Moyes to ‘throw the kitchen sink.’ For a tough Europe game after a poor couple of weeks, I thought we played well. As long as we keep that kind of shape and blend in some attacking flair from the likes of Nani/Kags/Rooney/RVP we should be okay.

    Let’s give Moyes some time to assess and develop the squad. He will cut the dead wood, there’s no doubt about it. I think this year is a transitional year for us and we must trust that he will make the right decisions. At this point we are at a stage in order to progress we need to take 1 step back to take 2 forward. This step back may not happen over night but we will be better for it. Have patience and support your club. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  7. Dayus D red says:

    Positives out the match. 1. Smalling has shown he is ready to play the big games. 2. Rafa has matured and barring injury is our best RB. 3. Moyes must thank De Gea for winning us this priceless pt.4. Vida/smalling is our best CD pairing for now. The nagatives. 1. Felliani though a good player can not play the CMF role. He lacks good positioning, looks clumsy and sluggish, and looses possession unecessarily.. He has not been able to make his physical presence felt in the MF. 2. Moyes must leave sentiments and play the right players. The introduction of Giggs though a legend almost back fired. A Chacharito would ‘ve done better in occupying the CB who bumped forward to cross the equalizer. 3. Wonder why Moyes doesn’t make changes. why having substitutes if you wouldn’t need them.

  8. Jackfer says:

    Shakhter aren’t half the team they have been in recent years but it is better than getting beaten.. Most of the fans at City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG, Barca and Bayern etc etc., can pick their best team and formation almost telepathically in tune with the manager. At united no one seems to have a clue what Moyes is up to or why? Like I said it’s not an exact science but can anyone say hand on heart they can see where he is coming form.. needs time but United should have put 150m aside and got Klopp from Dortmund. For me the big worry is Fergie choose Moyes because of his ability to produce decent results without much money.

  9. CTRED says:

    A good result and can not complain about the tactics for an away UCL draw. Welbeck did good as a 5th MF but woudl have preferred to see an actual MF in that role to help us hold the ball.

    Fellaini just looks poor and not good enough to play at this level. He doesn’t even look good enough for his own teammates. I can’t remember seeing a central MF give the ball away so easily. I hope it is just nerves and that he improves because right now it looks like $27M wasted and another mediocre midfilder on this team taking up a spot. When he went forward he just looked lost. Did good for the assist but that was lucky really that the defender couldn’t control the ball.

    Would like to see Cleverly in MF with Carrick at Sunderland. He and Smalling seemed to have upped their game, along with Rafael.

  10. lecho says:

    Am I the only one who is actually satisfied with how Fellaini is doing since he arrived, considering his lack of pre-season at United?

  11. CTRED says:

    I don’t think you are the only one but there aren’t many. I actually liked Fellaini for Everton and was hopeful he could do a job for United. I think he is finding it very hard now that he is experiencing the fact every other team brings their A game when they play us. He has admitted he is struggling in training, and he has looked very unsure of himself on the ball. It seems he may be thinking too much and trying not to make mistakes – that approach ironically sometimes leads to more. He seems to be holding back. Maybe he feels he doesn’t have the trust of his teammates yet. He needs to just bring it like he did for Everton.

    An aside, I think Moyes is surprised at how the same teams he faced with Everton now look a different proposition when they play United.

  12. Jorge Curioso says:

    “It was an almost perfect away performance in europe”

    If you consider one shot on goal (courtesy of an opposing defender passing it to Welbeck from three yards out) while being hammered all second half and barely surviving with a point to be “an almost perfect performance”, you must be a City supporter.

    That was horrid. Moyes out. Please.

  13. Jorge Curioso says:

    “moyes get rid of fellani or u will pay with results and your jobs! play cleverly or kagawa! FML!”

    But Fellaini is Moyes’ one big signing of the summer!

  14. Jorge Curioso says:

    “He doesn’t even look good enough for his own teammates. I can’t remember seeing a central MF give the ball away so easily. I hope it is just nerves and that he improves because right now it looks like $27M wasted ”

    He’s our Charlie Adam, signed at Andy Carroll prices. Moyes is a genius!

  15. theradlegion says:

    Seriously you thickheads.

    You people always want an instant result.
    What is your contribution really other than offering the same old complains. For stupid sake, don’t you grow tired listening to yourself moaning everyday about the same thing?

    Do you honestly believe that an artificial title such as “a world class manager” will be a 100% guarantee for a smooth ride? For stupid sake, please see how Maurin and Pelegrini are doing right now after all those money spent. They are fuckin horrid. H-O-R-R-I-D I say!

    Your problem is not Moyes. Your problem is your fuckinself. I guarantee you, regardless who the manager is, you people will NEVER EVER satisfy at anything.. unless you see an instant profit. Fuckin gold digger. You people sound like a fuckin Citeh fan.

    Sorry for the rant and all the cursing. You assholes deserve it

  16. keanoisdaman says:

    @theradlegion….well said..these gloryhunting pricks are from cloud cuckoo land,they forget that under fergie utd didn’t win 5-0 every game in Europe….and that every signing that fergie made didnt score a hatrick on debut

  17. Ivan says:

    4 shots on goal ,1 on target,afwull.

  18. foxinthebox says:

    We shud’ve beaten them! But its understandable that Moyes played safe. Last night’s humbling of Citeh by FCB was unbelievable. They were devastating. It is scary.

    I just wonder – there comes a time when a club decides which direction its gonna take – with Moyes we have taken a typically ‘safe’ approach – and lost the opportunity to progress. For all the cr@p against Wenger for not winning anything in the last 5-6 years, his teams truly play the progressive football associated with the Bayerns, Barcas, Dortmunds etc.

    We have been grinding out results for the last 4-5 years. We are not even close to beating the new Barcelona. forget abt Bayern… Continuity is a good thing , but after Sir Alex left, we had the opportunity to take things to the next level – Is Moyes capable of that? Helping our game evolve so that we can dominate with OUR BRAND OF FOOTBALL – coz I don’t see a Manutd brand of football any more. Am not saying we pan ourselves to purists and lost cups – NO but atleast we were known for our squashbuckling commitment to attack in the early & mid 2000s. But the last 4-5 years , its become painful to see we haven’t progressed – we shud be at the heart of any new approach to the game, the styles etc.

  19. Markowire says:

    Another load of shit from United. 1 shot on target all game. Luckily we took it. Lets hope things turn around for us against Sunderland we need to start scoring for fun
    Whatever happened to:-


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