A Carlos Soler strike and an own goal from Phil Jones condemned Manchester United to a defeat against Valencia on Wednesday night.
Manchester United wasted a glorious opportunity to top Group H of the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, as they were defeated 2-1 by Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
Coming into the game, Jose Mourinho’s men were second in the group and had a chance to finish as group winners, had Juventus lost to BSC Young Boys in the other match. But, the Red Devils were off to a poor start as Carlos Soler put Los Che ahead with a delightful finish just 17 minutes into the game.
Just two minutes into the second half, Manchester United were two down, as Phil Jones passed the ball into his own net while attempting to thwart Michy Batshuayi. The visitors did manage to pull one back through substitute Marcus Rashford in the 87th minute, but it was little too late for a comeback.
As it turned out, Juventus also ended up on the losing side in Switzerland, leaving Manchester United in regret over blowing up a chance to go on top in Group H. It was another poor performance from Mourinho’s side and here’s how the Red Devils’ stars fared on the night in Spain.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 12, 2018
Sergio Romero: 5/10
Handed a rare start in goal in place of David de Gea, the Argentine failed to make the most of his opportunity. Was unsighted for the opener, but breakdown in communication with Jones played a part in Valencia’s second. Made a couple of solid saves, but distribution from the back was a bit poor.
Antonio Valencia: 4/10
Back into the starting lineup, the Manchester United captain was lucky not to be sent off in the first period, after a reckless late challenge on Toni Lato. Drove forward, but as has become the case, the end product was nowhere near the desired quality.
Eric Bailly: 5/10
Another player recalled into the starting XI, the Ivory Coast international picked up a booking in the first half due to a nasty collision with the Valencia goalkeeper. Lacked the authority and the presence to organise things at the back as the home team kept coming at United.
Phil Jones: 3/10
Having impressed at the weekend against Fulham, the England international was disastrous in Spain on Wednesday. His poor headed clearance fell straight to Soler, who made no mistake for the first goal.
Let Batshuayi past him and in a bid to stop the Belgian, ended up passing the ball into his own net in the second half – fourth own goal of his Manchester United career. A forgettable night for Jones.
Marcos Rojo: 3/10
Playing his first match at left-back since the EFL Cup final back in 2017, the Argentine international was all over the place. Looked off pace and was caught out constantly as Valencia looked to exploit his flank. No surprise that he was hooked off at half-time for Ashley Young.
Brought back into the starting lineup, the £52 million summer signing did little to convince the manager that he should be starting regularly. Offered very little drive going forward, lacked the intensity and energy that United were in desperate need of. Didn’t last an hour on the field.
Marouane Fellaini: 4/10
Operating at the base of the midfield for Manchester United, Fellaini offered little protection to his backline, although he did retrieve possession a few times early on. Just does not possess the quality on the ball to aid quick transition in the middle of the park.
Paul Pogba: 4/10
Back into the team after sitting out the last two Premier League matches, the World Cup winner failed to make the most of his chance. Started off decently, before missing a sitter in the 38th minute, when he was flagged offside incorrectly. Gave away possession numerous times in another lackadaisical performance.
Juan Mata: 5.5/10
Back at his old stomping ground, the Spaniard was given a nice reception by the Valencia supporters. Was one of the few Manchester United players who kept trying to make something happen in the final third with his movement and passing, but little came off for Mata.
Romelu Lukaku: 3/10
Having scored at the weekend against Fulham, one expected Lukaku to kick on from there, but it was another frustrating display by the Belgian powerhouse on Wednesday night. Constantly let down by poor first touch, while his hold up play wasn’t good enough either.
Offered very little threat to the Valencia defence and could have played himself out of contention for the Liverpool match at the weekend.
Andreas Pereira: 4/10
Starting his first game since August, the Brazilian was moved into an attacking role by Jose, but failed to offer the cutting edge in the final third. Was often too narrow and looked to play it safe and simple when on the ball. Did test the Valencia goalie once, but a lacklustre display on his return to the Mestalla.
Ashley Young: 7/10
Came on for the struggling Rojo at half-time. Was a major improvement as he added more bite in defence and intensity going forward. Produced a fine cross to set Rashford up for the late goal.
Marcus Rashford: 7/10
Replaced Fred in the 57th minute. Livened things up after coming on with his pace and directness. Had Manchester United’s first shot on target in the game, before he eventually found the net late on. Only bright spot for Jose’s side.
Jesse Lingard: 6/10
Thrown on in place of Lukaku for the final twenty minutes. Improved things in the final third and was involved in the lead-up to the goal.