Manchester United continued successfully their quest towards retaining the League Cup. They have beaten Swansea City 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night and booked their spot in the quarter finals. Both United goals came through Jesse Lingard who took the advantage of Jose Mourinho‘s decision to rotate the team.
It was a much more professional performance from the Reds, compared to the Saturday match against Huddersfield. Manchester United were not playing spectacular football, but they got the job done without much fuss and brought some of the much needed peace into the squad.
This was a good match for building confidence. Manchester United did not have it in abundance in recent weeks. Mourinho has been talking about players missing from the squad due to injuries more than about the players that were on his disposal. Now, with a solid win from a reserve side, Man United can try and build on that.
Of course, the following match against Tottenham Hotspur in the league might not be the perfect opportunity for such thing. However, the Reds need to get back to basics. They need to show defensive solidity and try and exploit any chances they will be given. It sounds easier than it is, but United cannot play the negative football (like they did vs Liverpool) and expect a great result. This is a dangerous team when confident and Mourinho should instill more faith in players’ ability to play a high quality match from start to end.
Manchester United Could Play With Two Strikers
Jose Mourinho opted for a different formation against Swansea. He fielded his team in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial playing as strikers. It was an interesting thing to see and should not be discarded for the coming months. Romelu Lukaku has had a blip in form in recent weeks and he could do with another player playing closer to him.
The big Belgian has been missing Paul Pogba since he got injuried mid-September. However, this might be one of the short-term solutions. Mourinho has been trying out different things in pre-season as well. Against Sampdoria, Man United played in a 3-5-2 formation with Mkhitaryan playing as a second striker to Lukaku. It more resembled a 3-6-1, but nevertheless a roaming attacking player next to United’s number 9 could help him rediscover his form.
The Same Old Swansea Problems
Paul Clement also fielded a weakened side, trying to rest his best players for the Arsenal game in the Premier League. However, this got him into more trouble. Martin Olsson played at left-back, as the only real solution on that side of defence and got injured during the match. Swansea are now left with no proper left-back and Stephen Kinglsey is not a very reliable player in that position.
Still, Swansea’s big problem was the lack of creativity. It has been a big problem since Gylfi Sigurdsson left and signed for Everton. Even with him in the squad last season, only the Icelander was the man trying to make things happen. The gap he left is huge. Swansea have not bought a player similar to Sigurdsson to create things from a number 10 position. Therefore, the Wales-based club has big problems in getting into goalscoring positions.