Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla : Mourinho got it horribly wrong

Old Trafford witnessed quite an upset that saw Man United crash out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of an inspired Sevilla side

Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla : Mourinho got it horribly wrong

Old Trafford witnessed quite an upset that saw Man United crash out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of an inspired Sevilla side

14 mart 2018 Wednesday 12:05
Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla : Mourinho got it horribly wrong

Manchester United players react after getting knocked out of the UEFA Champions League

After a goalless first-leg draw at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium 3 weeks ago, Manchester United hosted Sevilla in what many anticipated to be an exciting affair.

As per the away goal rule, for every goal Sevilla scored on the night, Manchester United would have had to score an equalizer and then another to stay ahead. Naturally, Jose Mourinho and his side were expected to go all guns blazing.

Despite a positive start, however, in what turned out to be a rather effective turn-of-the-tables, Vincenzo Montella, Sevilla's manager, pulled off an admirable smash-and-grab as his side stunned the Red Devils by unceremoniously knocking them out of the UEFA Champions League.

Super-sub Wissam Ben Yedder turned out to be the iceberg to Manchester United's European campaign - let's call it the Titanic for the sake of poetic justice - as he came off the bench in the 72nd minute, to score two goals within six minutes and ultimately sink the English giants.

Romelu Lukaku picked up a goal in the 84th minute, and with just minutes left before the final whistle, consolatory is all it proved to be.

Without further ado, here's a look at 5 key talking points from the clash at Old Trafford:

Poor defending and finishing cost Manchester United

Even the brilliant David De Gea couldn't stop Sevilla.

Quite simply put, Manchester United were outplayed. In all departments.

Owing to the fact that they failed to nick a goal in the first leg, the Red Devils just couldn't afford to concede a goal last night, but they did.

Not one, but two goals in quick succession. Towards the end of the game - precisely what you'd have wanted to avoid if you went by the name of Jose Mourinho.

After a disappointing first half riddled with poor final ball production, Ben Yedder took to the field against a tiring United defense, and he sure didn't sit around hatching eggs.

A couple of minutes later, the Frenchman had broken through a clueless defense before unleashing a ground-hugging thunderbastard that nestled into the net quicker than Manchester United's resident superhero, David De Gea could react.

The subsequent desperation to score two goals only saw the defense slip from bad to worse, as Ben Yedder was then served a free header on a platter - one that he ate right up, as he piled on the misery for United before the final whistle eventually ended it.

Unfortunately for United, the grass was not greener on the other side, as their famed attack mustered an impressive total of 17 shots, of which only an unimpressive total of 4 were on target.

Romelu Lukaku's goal deserved to be a lot more than consolatory, and the big Belgian will rue the fact that it went down in a losing cause such as this.

This loss to Sevilla should serve Mourinho and United as a jarring eye-opener to the amount of work that needs to be done at Old Trafford if its inhabitants are to be considered contenders on the European level.

Steven Nzonzi bosses Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic

Steven Nzonzi bossed the midfield against United.

In a defensive midfield battle between Steven Nzonzi and the duo of Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic, not many would've favored the Frenchman to emerge victorious before the start of the game.

Stunningly, though, man-of-the-match Nzonzi proved to be just the bulwark Sevilla needed as he successfully kept Manchester United's attackers at bay. For context, consider this: Matic had 74 touches of the ball all game, while Fellaini managed 42. Nzonzi had 105.

In terms of passing, Nzonzi made 94 passes, as compared to Matic's 61 and Fellaini's 29. Now, I'm no mathematician, but according to my calculations, that's more than both of theirs combined. Further, he also won 7 aerial duels and made 2 tackles, while also mustering a shot.

In a game where United needed to be at their attacking best, Nzonzi's performance was truly a question directed right at Jose Mourinho - "Why play two defensive midfielders when one can more than do the job?"

Ever-improving Romelu Lukaku

Yet another impressive performance from the Belgian.

After what has transpired to be a rather topsy-turvy season for the Belgian, form finally seems to have come his way - and it's not just in terms of his goalscoring.

Lukaku, who has looked uncertain and flat-footed several times this season, has suddenly begun to look a lot more menacing. Not just in front of goal, but also away from it, creating chances for the team whenever service is scarce.

In his last 6 games for United across all competitions, Lukaku has now scored 5 goals and assisted 2, and last night's performance was an extension of that run.

On a personal level, the Belgian had a terrific game as he utilized his strength appropriately and was a constant handful for Sevilla's defenders to deal with.

With a total of 5 shots, 4 aerial duels won, and 5 successful dribbles, apart from a glorious goal, Lukaku's confidence is bound to grow - as it has in recent times - and if his latest performances are anything to go by, confidence is key and a confident Romelu Lukaku is just what the doctor ordered for Manchester United.

Wissam Ben Yedder - The perfectly played card

The man who knocked mighty United out of the UEFA Champions League - Wissam Ben Yedder.

Starting the game on the bench, it's unlikely that Wissam Ben Yedder would've ever imagined having such an influence on the game.

A bland first half and the resulting necessity to shake things up forced manager Montella to bring on the striker for Luis Muriel in the 72nd minute, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Just a couple of minutes later, it honestly seemed like just a couple of heartbeats, the 27-year-old broke the deadlock, gracefully picking Pablo Sarabia's ball before dispatching it past a helpless De Gea to give Sevilla an invaluable away-goal advantage.

As palpable tension around him transformed into silent despair, the Frenchman gratefully accepted a free header at the end of some shoddy defending to double the lead and hammer in the final nail in the coffin that now houses Manchester United's UEFA Champions League campaign this season.

Jose Mourinho gets it painfully and horribly wrong

Beaten at his own game.

Bereft of the collective creative services of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial in a game that undoubtedly demanded creativity, Jose Mourinho inexplicably turned to Marouane Fellaini to partner Nemanja Matic in the heart of midfield.

Alas, there's only so much attacking a side with two defensive players possessing identical skill-sets can do. To make matters worse, Mourinho, for some reason, decided to set up shop in an attempt to catch Sevilla on the counter - a tactic he has famously made his own in big games.

His adversary, Vincenzo Montella, though, offered his own rendition of the tactic as if to say "Two can play the game."

Forget play, Montella seemingly mastered the game, as he engineered a historical smash-and-grab that saw Sevilla qualify for their first ever UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Astonishingly, United were also the first English team to be beaten by Sevilla on home soil.

On the ball, United were visibly shaken. Sideways and backward passing, easily getting dispossessed, cluelessly handing the ball over to Sevilla at crucial moments of the game.

In fact, towards the end of the game, such was the nature of United's play that the commentators seemed to completely give up commentary in favor of a series of befuddled gasps elicited purely by the poorness of the Red Devils' performance.

Old Trafford did validate it's "Theatre Of Dreams" nickname, albeit it wasn't for Manchester United, but for their Spanish visitors.


Updated: 14.03.2018 12:18
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