José Mourinho’s Manchester United Stroll Past Fenerbahće in a bar in Granada

Posted: October 20, 2016 in Europa League, European Football, Football, Manchester United, Opinion
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For the first time in a long time, if not for the first time at all, I feel the need to add a little background to this article.

I have just watched Manchester United’s Europa League game against Fenerbahće in an Irish bar in Granada, Spain.

I mention this purely as an excuse for any inaccuracies you may spot while reading said article. It was, in fact, a very noisy music night where a quartet of Spanish musicians played Irish tunes, virtually non-stop, for the entire evening. There were only two of us in the entire bar interested in what was happening at Old Trafford!

And so to the game. It was a little distressing to see that both Lingard and Rooney had been picked but, in fairness, of the two, only Rooney was awful. Lingard did quite well in making one goal and scoring another.

When he has a half decent game Lingard usually starts giving interviews and taking to social media to advise United what they need to do with Rooney, why Chris Smalling would be a good captain, how to achieve world peace and how to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. He has obviously been advised to stay quiet for once, good advice indeed!

Paul Pogba also appeared to step up to the plate a little more than he has been doing recently although my judgement may have been a little clouded by the fact that he scored two goals. Usually I will leave it to the real press to write about how wonderful a player has been just because he scored a penalty and another goal from open play but I have fallen into the same trap on this occasion.

In the first half I initially thought that United were fortunate to get the two penalties but, having seen the fouls a couple more times than the referee ever gets the chance to, I have to agree with both decisions as they were clear-cut penalties.

Pogba took the first and scored with ease. Martial took the second and scored with ease. It would seem that Jose Mourinho has allowed the players to agree the penalty takers while on the pitch. As long as they keep scoring there is no reason why this should change. As soon as someone misses or an argument about who takes a spot-kick breaks out, then expect Mourinho to change the penalty taking policy!

The third goal, on the stroke of half-time was a very well taken Pogba shot from just outside the area and this one ended the game as a spectacle and also as a source of any points for Fenerbahće.

The second half became a stroll and, when Lingard scored, also from just outside the area, it was effectively all over.

All that remained was for Robin van Persie to score a consolation in the 83rd minute meaning that the second half had ended 1-1.

The match, however, had ended 4-1 to United and a welcome three points were bagged.

Of the United players shop windowed for January in this game, Darmian was below par, Depay came on and was his usual careless self and Rojo came on and did nothing to better his chances of a first team slot at any time in the near future.

With the number of changes made by Jose Mourinho for this game, United are in danger of being accused of not taking this competition very seriously. He, of course, will argue that players need to rest and can’t cope with 180 minutes of football in a week, so he has to make changes. It is an excuse made by nearly all manager these days.

The fact of the matter is that the Europa League is a competition United could do without. Mourinho knows it, the players know it and even the bean counters know it. Premier League success is much more important.

However, as long as the fans keep showing up in their thousands to watch these Thursday night games, United and Mourinho owe it to them to pick the best team and give it their best shot!


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