As a Manchester United fan, I was truly embarrassed with the fashion in which United limped their way through the first 45 minutes, losing the game because of a lack of gumption and fight.
Heading into the fixture, I was quietly confident: United had been showing promising signs whereas City’s momentum had been halting – a loss in midweek to Shakhtar Donetsk following three consecutive narrow wins against West Ham, Southampton and Huddersfield.
United, I thought, would harry, hassle and press. Make life uncomfortable and seek to impose themselves.
That Jose Mourinho appeared to be in buoyed spirits prior to the game simply increased my optimism; he had a devilish smile in the pre-match interview, which suggested confidence and conviction.
His side were anything but.
The reds let City onto them, allowing them time and space on the ball – why would you allow this against some of the most creative players in the word?
They were not fierce enough in the challenge. They did not have any confidence to take the ball and actually play football, resorting to direct balls to Romelu Lukaku – who, as per, was off the pace.
They were meek, kowtowing to Manchester’s new boys and, frankly, it was embarrassing.
To be dominated at home, at Old Trafford, in that manner was not something United fans will be accustomed to, and not something they will want to get used to in the future.
The second half was better, yes, but still United looked awfully timid when in possession and lacked any real conviction that they could beat Pep Guardiola’s men. Lukaku may have scored to level it late on, but that would be beside the point: United genuinely looked like they were inferior to the visitors.
And this was the crux of the problem: perhaps it was Mourinho’s negative tactics instilling a sense of weakness, perhaps it was the media hyping up Guardiola’s side, perhaps it was just an off-day, but Manchester United – historic kings of Europe – started the game believing they would be beat, or so it seemed.
Written by Michael Jones
Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97
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