Manchester United are out of the Champions League and now the focus returns solely to the Premier League top four race. The Devils will have a tough schedule ahead of them in their quest to returning to Champions League in September, but their quarterfinal second leg loss to Barcelona was not a surprising one. If anything, it all panned out the way many neutral fans were expecting and it further proved to Ed Woodward and all Man United fans how much this team has to work in order to make big things happen again.
Fred With On-The-Ball Problems
Fred had many problems in this match. The Brazilian has shown some improvements in recent weeks and has done well in the first match in terms of ball recoveries, but he is still inconsistent and makes mistake in reading the game unfolding in front of him. That can happen against Barcelona, of course, but on the night Fred was dribbled past on six occasions, he lost possession nine times and only got one successful dribble to progress the ball further up the pitch.
It is not easy to play well against Barca, but in the end, he was the player last summer that was supposed to improve this team. Whilst it is not his fault how much he was paid, it must be noted that Man United need a better central midfielder in the role he was operating in.
Messi Plays Non-Existent Position
Well, we have to talk about Lionel Messi. It is simply a necessity, especially when a player plays without position. Rory Smith wrote after the game about this Messi being Messi 4.0 – an improved version of himself, who is better than the previous one. And this “version” truly plays without position. He had over 100 touches of the ball against Man United and almost a third of them came in the middle third of the pitch, 16 happening in his own half. He plays where he wants and when he wants and Ernesto Valverde is smart enough to know that will bring results. Because it is Messi we are talking about.
In the end, at least it was nice seeing such a magical player doing what he does best. Maybe United got knocked out, but he has to be admired.
Games Pass By Lingard
Jesse Lingard is a really good player brought up by Manchester United. But Jesse Lingard is also a limited player and against Barcelona that showed once again. Simply said, Lingard’s use of his skills and qualities has brought him very far in his career, but simply, he is not the player around which United can build for the biggest things. He is still a very useful and important squad player and Man United should keep him. Those two things can co-exist in the future. Against Barca, Lingard did not have much of possession, he did not create much and his movements could not offer anything to his teammates.