Manchester United drew 0-0 in a poor performance against Sevilla in the Champions League first knockout round first leg match. It was a dull performance from the Reds, but they managed to grind out a goalless draw that will make it necessary for Jose Mourinho’s team to win at Old Trafford in three weeks’ time.
It was one of those performances where it was painful to watch the team without any kind of flair, guile or proper attacking organization. After the match, many suggested this was not the Manchester United fans want to see and Mourinho was one to blame for that.
Does Mourinho Have A Duty To Entertain?
Sid Lowe asked in his Guardian column does Mourinho have a duty to entertain? The obvious to that would probably be – he does not, as long as he is winning trophies. The manager won two of those last term, but this season only FA Cup looks something United should be very positive about. In the league they are far behind the leaders for some time now, while the performance against Sevilla suggests the Champions League would be too much to ask for.
Then, it is a bit of a philosophical question that Lowe posed and there is a point in there. If United are not winning titles with this type of football, what is there to be enjoyed? If you play thrilling football and do not win, at least there are those beautiful moments to make things easier. The main argument about Mourinho’s style is that he does not care about it, as he is winning titles. However, including this season, the Portuguese won one league title in six seasons at clubs such as Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United.
These Performances Are Not Sustainable
Yet, the thing here is not about the style Manchester United play. It is about the performances not being sustainable. Too many times United win matches on individual brilliance or inspiration. Too often they have to be reliant on one man scoring or David De Gea being sensational in goal. That is not sustainable and when poor results happen, it does not strike anyone as a surprise.
Jose Mourinho’s biggest problem right now are not his issues with Paul Pogba, nor is it United playing dull football. It is the fact that Manchester United are playing low quality football, without any attacking organization, while being defensively fragile. United’s defensive positioning gives too many opportunities to rivals and that is why De Gea has to work so hard. Going forwards, there is nothing that would make someone feel comfortable watching Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial/Juan Mata/Marcus Rashford play.
It could be said United are still work in progress. It could be also said Mourinho inherited poor squad. Yet, the first argument works against the manager as he was always the one bringing results with squads that many managers could not succeed with. Like Porto and Inter in the Champions League, for example. The second argument works against him as well, as Mourinho arrived in Manchester more than 18 months ago and there is still no proper plan to the way United play.