Manchester United suffered yet another loss last night, going down 2-1 to Fenerbahce in Turkey.
This came after the news that Jose Mourinho’s histrionics on Saturday would see him pay a £50,000 fine and, more importantly, serve a one-game touchline ban.
United conceded after only 65 seconds, with a stunning overhead kick from Moussa Sow leaving David de Gea with no chance. Jermain Lens scored an excellent goal in the second half to double their lead with a quick, well placed free-kick that left the Spanish goalkeeper completely flatfooted.
Wayne Rooney scored a thumper of a goal to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record as all-time European goalscorer for Manchester United, but that was the only highlight of United’s limp performance.
We take a look at some of the key talking points from the game.
Incredible home support
Fenerbahce’s home support were at their hostile best, baying for blood every time Manchester United had the ball. The Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium was a cauldron of pressure for the United players, and Fenerbahce were visibly inspired by the home support. United’s players were also visibly affected by the support as well, with one putting in a frustrated tackle on his opponent after chants of “Ole” from the crowd, a standard when your team is ahead and the opposition can’t get the ball.
— mephobia (@mephobia8) November 3, 2016
United’s home support could take a page out of their book, and inspire a team that is clearly uninspired when they play at home.
Not the same Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney scored a consolation goal for United on the 89 minute mark, and what a goal it was.
— Devils Related (@Devils_Related) November 3, 2016
Rooney’s sensational goal put him level with Ruud van Nistelrooy as United’s highest ever European scorer, a record you would back him to break. Regardless of how great this goal was, though, this shouldn’t make up for a player who has clearly regressed at an alarming rate in the last two seasons. It is hard to justify starting Rooney in this United side anymore, especially with Mata showing just how effective he can be in Rooney’s role.
But there is no doubting that the United skipper is still capable of a brilliant moment of two.
United very light at the back
United played a makeshift defence of Darmian, Blind, Rojo and Shaw. Both Blind and Rojo are better suited as full-backs, and Blind especially was made to play as a right-sided centre back, which for a left footer makes things very difficult. This is the defence that conceded in 65 seconds, and time and time again looked like they would falter under the pressure of Fenerbahce’s attack.
Mourinho has already “been telling friends in the press” that his defence is not good enough, and it is hard to disagree with the Portugese manager. One injury to Eric Bailly, and their defence already looks like it’s having a crisis. Come January, it is very likely that we will see some departures and some definite arrivals in defence.
Luke Shaw needs to improve, and fast
Luke Shaw understandably has taken time to get back into his best form after a season-ending injury last season. Given United’s struggles and Jose Mourinho’s tendency to completely ostracise players when their form takes a turn for the worse and his team is doing badly, Shaw doesn’t have much time to start putting in good performances.
He was once again completely ineffective last night, especially when United attempted to venture forward. It wasn’t entirely clear if his instructions were to sit back, but Shaw was usually in no man’s land, neither sitting deep nor pushing forward. The youngster definitely has time on his side, but Mourinho – who earlier in the month came under fire from Shaw’s brother – is not a patient man, especially when the pressure is on him. Which brings us to our final point.
Mourinho needs to stop blaming the players
Mourinho once again threw his players under the bus after last night’s result, saying :
“What disappointed me more is that I have quite a big experience of playing against Turkish teams,”
“I played twice with Real Madrid and twice with Chelsea, I played with Porto too, so I pass to the players all my experience.” he said.
“You come to Turkey and it is completely different story, so I told them to wait for that, told them not to be focused on the easy game we had at Old Trafford and to be ready for a completely different game. We started the game sleeping.”
Many think that the players are uninspired, and that several of them are unwilling or reluctant to play for Mourinho. It is clear that there is an issue at Manchester united, but criticising your own players and refusing to shoulder some of the blame yourself is not the way to get them on your side. Mourinho is famous for creating a siege mentality in his sides, but if he is not wary, he could be facing a repeat of the mutiny at Chelsea. He also singled out Henrikh Mkhitaryan – who has had a torrid time at Manchester United so far – for criticism, claiming the Armenian had to do better. This is not the first time Mourinho has publicly ciriticised his players, and if things continue this way it will not be the last.
Mourinho is publicly blaming the players now. He's already at stage three of his toxic meltdown.
— DaKeB (@Dakeb_MCFC) November 3, 2016