Manchester United were unceremoniously knocked out of the Champions League in the second leg of the round of 16, after a 2-1 defeat by Sevilla on Tuesday night.
The loss condemned the Red Devils to a premature exit from the elite European cup competition, despite the great promise that came game with clinching the Europa League last season and subsequent winning of their group during the first round of the competition.
Despite making a pitiful attempt to flip the script during the post-match press conference by suggesting that this wasn’t the first time United got eliminated from the last-16, Jose Mourinho has to the bear the full brunt of the defeat.
Poor team selection
It was an all too familiar feeling when the team sheets were revealed an hour to kickoff.
The Manchester United manager chose to rotate the squad that registered an emphatic 2-1 victory over Liverpool last weekend, with one eye on the FA Cup tie against Brighton & Hove Albion; his biggest undoing of the night.
Marouane Fellaini who has been injured for the last four months slotted right into the starting eleven at the expense of the in-form Scott McTominay while Jesse Lingard was given the nod ahead of the diminutive Juan Mata.
The team had speed but at the expense of efficiency and creativity going forward, a decision the United gaffer must have rued at the final whistle.
Lack of tactical nous
For all the praise that Jose Mourinho is a tactical genius who thrives on pressure, there was nothing to show that the Portuguese had a clue of what he was doing.
In what was quite rightly the most season defining moment of the campaign, Mourinho chose a negative approach to the match by defending with six men with the hope of blitzing past Sevilla with four counter-attacking players upfront.
The plan could have worked, had he not initially fielded two holding midfielders and not played his most threatening players out of position.
Marcus Rashford was ineffective on the right wing despite scoring a brace against Liverpool from the left, while Alexis Sanchez lost the ball countless times in a desperate attempt to supply the ball from the middle of the park to the final third since Mourinho- the special one- chose to start to holding midfielders.
This is turn left Romelu Lukaku isolated upfront, but the 24-year olds work rate still saw him register a consolation goal for the hosts.
The stale 0-0 draw away to Seville was by all accounts a missed opportunity given the vital nature of the away goal rule at this stage of the competition.
Nonetheless, such a less than salubrious performance in front of the home crowd was just as unacceptable as it was embarrassing.
Jose undermined the La Liga side and was rightfully punished with two quick fire goals by substitute Ben Yedder, deep in the second half.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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