Man Utd had to fight hard against Villareal last night as they were rescued by a 95th minute Cristiano Ronaldo strike.
For large parts of last night’s game, the Red devils were toothless in attack as they struggled to create many meaningful chances.
In fact, Villareal winger, Arnaut Danjuma had more shots on target (2) than the entire Man Utd team in the first half.
What were those tactical flaws that resulted in the toothlessness of the Man Utd attack?
First of all, Ole’s selection on the night was off as the front 3 of Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t quite cut it for Man Utd in the first half.
Jadon Sancho most especially has been suffering from a dip in form and hasn’t quite found his mojo since he joined Man Utd in the summer transfer window. Hence, the team could have fared better if the Englishman wasn’t included in United’s starting lineup. This is even made more evident in the way Man Utd played in the final 10 minutes or so after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made some substitutions.
Secondly, Man Utd didn’t quite play as a team as they were disorganized for most parts of the game. The Red devils were bailed out by individual brilliance last night and had Villareal taken their chances, it couldn’t have been a good result for Man Utd.
Former Man Utd striker Michael Owen while reacting to Alex Telles’ wonder strike that helped restore parity for United after the team went behind gave his assessment on Man Utd’s performance and the English pundits surely felt his former side could have done more.
Michael Owen: “I said at half-time Man United rely too much on this, individual brilliant moments and what we saw in the last five or 10 minutes was a lot better from Man United in terms of you felt it was a team.”
Also, Man Utd played as though there were no clear instructions on the night. In the first half, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was spotted instructing Lindelof and a couple of other players to drop and form a back 3 while Diogo Dalot overlapped.
The players seemed not to understand their tactical roles on the pitch and this disrupted the flow of things and in turn slowed down the pace of attack.