Ineptitude reigned supreme as Manchester United slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, courtesy of Christian Eriksen and a ludicrous own goal by Phil Jones.
Gone are the days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s now infamous “Lads, it’s Tottenham” decree at halftime that could rally a remarkable comeback.
Not even the presence of the incomparable Alexis Sanchez could make a difference for United who were just not in their usual element.
Lack of leadership
Manchester United is a star studded team with larger-than-life characters but little or no leadership qualities.
Not a single players on the turf stepped up to the mark when there was an obvious sense of imbalance and lack of coordination.
The team was literally screaming for a figure like Roy Keane to kick players resting on the laurels playing only for the final whistle, so much that even Wayne Rooney could have done a better job than every single one of those players adorning the United crest.
The lineup fielded by Jose Mourinho was everything you could ever hope for, none more so than the succinct attacking trio of Alexis, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial- with Romelu Lukaku as the furthest man upfront.
Jesse Lingard has been on a rich vein of form this season having surpassed double figures and his near perfect record in Wembley further justified his inclusion in the starting XI.
The decision however came back to haunt the United gaffer, not so much for how the England forward played, but rather how it left his side exposed. The visitors were erroneous in midfield with Paul Pogba a peripheral figure upfront and Nemanja Matic overrun as he performed work ordinarily spared for two players.
Instead of Jose Mourinho addressing the mess at the interval with United 2-0 down, the Portuguese once again got it wrong with the substitutions, as Marouane Fellaini- who had just come on for Lingard in the 63rd minute- was forced out with injury just seven minutes later.
The selection was poor from the get go and could have been better with a midfield three to compliment Matic, in effect granting Pogba the liberty to venture forward- not to mention Martial’s ineffective presence on the right wing which was always going to be the only eventuality.
Right from the manager to the players, everyone involved was culpable for the loss.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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