Manchester United failed to get past La Liga side Valencia in their second Group H encounter of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Manchester United needed all three points after a disastrous week and for the first ten minutes of the contest against Valencia, they looked like they meant business. However, the early intensity soon petered out as Jose Mourinho’s men struggled for creativity and incision in the final third, while the visitors too offered little danger apart from a couple of counters here and there.
Things continued in the same way after the restart, with opportunities in short supply for either team. Michy Batshuayi had a great chance for Los Che, but the on-loan forward fired his effort way over the bar, while Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar from a free-kick and Romelu Lukaku headed over from close range. That was as good as it got for United as the game ended in a goalless stalemate.
Manchester United are now without a win for four matches in a row – their longest such run since December 2015 under then manager Louis van Gaal. The result means the Red Devils are second in Group H, two points behind Juventus and three above third-placed Valencia.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 2, 2018
Here’s how the Manchester United stars fared on another lacklustre night at Old Trafford.
David De Gea: 6/10
The Manchester United goalie wasn’t really tested by the Spanish outfit, apart from a straight-forward save from Goncalo Guedes very early in the first-half. His distribution on the night wasn’t always on point though.
Antonio Valencia: 4/10
The club captain returned to the starting lineup, amid reports of a falling out with the manager, after missing the last two games. However, it was a night to forget for the Ecuadorian, as he was constantly found out against the pace of Guedes, while he offered very little going forward down the right flank. At this rate, Diogo Dalot is likely to see a lot of game time in the coming weeks.
Eric Bailly: 6/10
Another player who was coming back into the starting setup, the Ivorian international was fairly solid on his return. His positioning was called into question on occasions, but in general Bailly defended with his usual energy and aggression. Had a wayward effort at goal from 40 yards out in the first period.
Chris Smalling: 6.5/10
The Englishman wasn’t tested a great deal by the visitors, but was alert to whatever threat they posed on the break. Made a few key interventions on either side of half-time, dominated the aerial battles and dealt comfortably with Batshuayi on the night. A steady display.
Luke Shaw: 6.5/10
The La Liga outfit did not enjoy the same joy down his side like they did on the opposite flank, as the Englishman kept things tight at the back, while he offered a key outlet going forward as well. The end product wasn’t always there, but this was another positive performance from Shaw.
Marouane Fellaini: 5/10
Offered United a physical presence in the middle of the park, but on a night when the team needed more dynamism in their forward play, the Belgian’s pairing with Nemanja Matic slowed things down too often. His attitude was commendable, as he kept on going till the end in search of three points, but he did little to affect the proceedings.
Nemanja Matic: 5/10
The Serbian powerhouse was sloppy in possession at times and was guilty of slowing down the tempo of the game on numerous occasions. Did the defensive side of things well, but once again his forward passing left a lot to be desired. Continues to look rusty and off pace. Needs to do be more proactive and purposeful with his distribution from the middle.
Paul Pogba: 5/10
The Frenchman has been dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late and he did little to change that against Valencia on Tuesday night. Flitted in and out of the game – there were a few moments that oozed class, while there were occasions when Pogba put his team under pressure by losing possession.
Pogba had a free-kick saved by Neto and another effort well blocked by Ezequiel Garay. The World Cup winner tried to make things happen going forward, but very little went his way.
Alexis Sanchez: 4/10
Reinstated to the starting lineup after being dropped at the weekend, Sanchez did little to justify his selection. Ponderous on the ball, his end product was nowhere near the required quality, while he offered little protection to the defence against the onrushing left-back Jose Gaya, especially in the first-half. Looked lost for most his time on the pitch and was rightly taken off for Anthony Martial.
Romelu Lukaku: 4/10
The big Belgian’s rut in front of goal continued as he failed to score in for his fifth successive outing in all competitions. Offered little in terms of movement off the ball and his first touch let Lukaku down big time. Did force a save from Neto after the break, but he needs to be doing more. Just not good enough.
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
A rare positive in the final third for Manchester United, as he looked to bomb forward into the box from the left side every time the opportunity presented itself. His delivery from corners was disappointing to say the least, but Rashford did strike the woodwork from a free-kick late in the game.
Anthony Martial: 6/10
Replaced Sanchez for the final fifteen minutes and livened things up in the attacking third with his forward runs. Nearly won a penalty.