Manchester United 0-0 Valencia: Four Things We Learned

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 31: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on January 31, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Manchester United improved their winless streak to four matches, after a goalless draw against Valencia in the second round of Champions League’s Group H. In a match where Man United wanted to get back to winning ways and creating a big advantage over Valencia after just two matches, Jose Mourinho’s players almost did not create a single great chance.

In such circumstances, a 0-0 draw is a decent result – when you cannot score, you cannot win. However, this was far from something Manchester United need at this point in time, especially after the heavy 3-1 loss to West Ham. Here are thoughts from this match.

Romelu Lukaku Needs A Rest

Romelu Lukaku is in absolute need of a rest. Excluding the opening match of the season against Leicester when he was still recuperating from the long World Cup campaign, the Belgian has played every single minute. He even played all 90 minutes against Derby County in League Cup and his displays in the last three or four matches have been disappointing.

Some of that could be due to him needing rest, but also a lot of that is due to Lukaku not playing well. He is not getting into chances and when he does they are of low quality. Also, here is what Paul Scholes said after the match.

“Romelu Lukaku’s movement looks non-existent at the moment. It looks like he needs to be coached where to run.”

Manchester United Do Not Know How To Create A Chance

That was obvious throughout last season, but this time around it looks even more striking. Manchester United simply do not know how to create a good goalscoring chance. The way United’s shots on goal come is usually after crosses that very seldom borne something out. Patterns of play are incredibly slow and predictable – there is no verticality in their game and movements are minimal. How often have you seen a United player with the ball at his feet without any options where to play the next pass?

Matic and Fellaini Should Not Play Together

We all know Mourinho likes using tall, physical midfielders, but using both Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini makes absolutely no sense, especially if United are to have more of the ball. They bring similar things. Matic is better in possession, in distributing the ball, but usually in a safer manner than a highly technical midfielder would, like Jorginho for example. Fellaini is sloppy with the ball at his feet and rarely offers anything useful than his height in the box when United are lumping it long.

Valencia Will Put A Good Fight For Round Of 16

Valencia have not scored in Champions League this season and are three points behind Manchester United. However, this is all far from done for any of Juventus or Man United. Valencia are capable of getting a point or so off Juventus and could also beat United in Spain. More importantly, Valencia’s next two matches are against Young Boys. If they win both, they will be at seven points. Man United are currently on four, but are to play a very strong Juventus in two of the following rounds.

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