For many of us Liverpool fans United losing like this is as sweet as it can get for us without us being in an actual game. Not only did they lose but they were embarrassing over the two legs. Pathetic tactics and pathetic individual performances has them going home from the Champions League against a team that is average at best this season. They played a very negative defensive game over two legs against a team that allowed 3 or more goals 8 different times this season in all competitions. Did they think they were playing against the 70’s Dutch national team or something with these tactics. United has the far superior talent yet they sat back and were hoping to get through on with a 1-0 win over two legs. I thought Sevilla would pay for not taking advantage of complete domination during the first leg and that United would get out on the front foot tonight and throttle them, boy was I wrong.
We all probably should have known how Jose was going to play this, well because he’s Jose and it’s always how he plays it, but when he decided to go with Marouane Fellaini instead of Paul Pogba in his starting 11 it should have been a stronger indication of how he was going to play this.
Right from the get go I was a bit surprised how this game was going. The first half was rather even, but Sevilla had more of the chances outshooting United 10-6. But even at that point I still felt like United was going to get it done. As well as Sevilla did in the first half by controlling the midfield. United’s tactics made this rather easy, but Ever Banega continued his fine form by absolutely controlling the midfield and was by far the best player on the pitch. Banega completed 82 passes at a 92.1% clip, he had 8 key passes, was 3 for 3 on crosses, 4 for 6 on long balls, and created 1 big chance. He just sat back deep, used the space that was given to him and orchestrated Sevilla into the attack time and time again. The problem Sevilla was having was the same problem during the first leg that once they got into the final third they generally lacked ideas. They either took a woeful shot from distance or weren’t able to connect on any type of pass that would set up anything dangerous. They also seemed a bit nervy defending in the final third and it only seemed a matter of time until United broke through. Even though they had more of the chances United had the better of the chances and seemed like the more likely to break through.
The second half was a lot of the same Sevilla were able to get into the final third with ease thanks to Banega, but were rather clueless when they got there and United were not getting on the front foot even though their opponent defends about as well as Stoke does. A key moment for me was the 72nd minute when Ben Yedder came on to replace Luis Muriel. Muriel was having a nightmare game. He had chances on the ball in the final third but every time he got the ball in a dangerous position the results were laughable. It was obvious that if Sevilla was going to shock the world that they needed to try someone different leading the line. Enter Yedder. It only took two minutes from the time he came on until Sevilla was able to finally break the dead lock in this 180 minute tie. It was again Banega from deep who was able to find Pablo Sarabia who found Yedder who was able to find a gap in the United defense at the top of the 18 to fire a shot past David De Gea and basically send Sevilla through. At this point with the road goal United was going to need 2 goals in 15 minutes, which seemed about as probable as me getting a date with Eisha Cuthbert. Sevila put the tie away in the 78th minute when Yedder got his second off of a corner. It was some of the worst defending I’ve ever seen on a corner. Joaquin Correra was wide open and he was able to flick the corner into Yedder’s path. It was like United gave up, but it was like United gave up when this thing started two weeks ago with this pathetic performance. Romelu Lukaku got United a goal back in the 84th minute but at this point it was already over.
This loss was embarrassing for United there is no two ways about it. This falls completely on Mourinho if they go after Sevilla over the 180 minutes there is no doubt they are moving on. Sure there were poor performances from United players, but players that were poor like Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford aren’t built to play the way that their master wants to play. They like to get after it use their pace and skill, which is something that the Special One doesn’t enjoy. He’s just a miserable man there is no other way to look at it.
If Pogba was fit to play all 90 I can’t fathom why he didn’t start. Sure, he wasn’t great when he came on, but I would rather have him on from the start. His ability to play perfect balls from deep, just his passing ability in general, and his ability to drive the play are all things United could have used today. Despite his poor performance today I still thought they looked better when he was on the pitch and he looked like a guy that cared about as much as I do about Award shows which is not at all, he looked like a guy that wants to go somewhere else next season. I still think Pogba is a great player I think he is being treated unfairly by media and fans, it’s just that he doesn’t fit what the Special One wants to do.
Jose’s comments after the game were predictable. They were his arrogant best. He basically said they started the game well he didn’t think the performance was bad and the intention was positive. This is something I could flip out about, but I learned a long time ago to not take any coach’s comments seriously that they’re lying 90% of the time, especially this clown, but knowing he says this stuff all the time I can’t help but wonder if he believes what he’s saying or if he’s laughing on the inside asking if anyone actually believes the crap he mutters. My favorite part was when he was asked if he can accept the performance based on their resources, he said yes. Then someone pointed out that they had 4 shots on target in 180 minutes and he said that it’s just stats. I absolutely love him, please never change you delusional clown. It’s priceless entertainment.
This should be a win for neutrals. Sure an average team made it to the quarters who will get crushed but negative football was defeated today and anytime negative football loses it is a win for the sport. Hopefully Mourinho will get absolutely buried by everyone after this because I just don’t see anyway to defend him after this.