Manchester United are not in action this midweek as their Champions League match in first knockout round will come next week. The Devils will be heading to Sevilla to play their first match, but until then the team could learn some things from this week’s matches. Especially the one played on Tuesday night, between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur.
It might sound a bit odd, but Manchester United should focus on this match and learn things from both clubs. Of course, Tottenham’s comeback means more positive things from their display, but the Old Lady did some things that Manchester United should try and avoid.
If there is one thing that anyone would mention about this clash, it would be Tottenham’s show of character and will. After nine minutes, it was 2-0 for Juventus. At that point, probably everyone thought this tie could already be over. With Juventus being such an experienced team, it was hard to expect anything like this could happen. The two-goal lead should have been enough for them to slow down the game and then kill off the visitors.
Yet, Tottenham did not let anything like that happen. They immediately tried to bounce back, to take the grip of the game in their hands. Pochettino’s players showed that going behind early on is not a good reason enough for the team to surrender. Manchester United can learn a lot from them. Tottenham are currently a side that still does not have too much experience of top European matches and that is why this performance gets even more credit.
Spurs’ Tactical Versatility
Another important thing that Manchester United mostly lacked this season. Jose Mourinho’s rigid 4-2-3-1 often made this team fail against tougher Premier League sides. It did not get the most out of the players on the pitch, as Paul Pogba struggled to stay disciplined alongside Nemanja Matic. Yet, Tottenham are the team that grew into a side with great tactical nous.
Mauricio Pochettino’s tactical astuteness made Spurs very flexible as they can both control the game when necessary and also drop off and be a threat on the counter. Manchester United often seemed too one-dimensional this season, most notably against the fellow Big 6 sides. Matches against Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham recently showed how little they change their approach during the game.
Juventus’ Lack Of Control
This was a big surprise from Juventus. And a very negative one. After a 2-0 lead nine minutes into the match, it was hard to see Tottenham bouncing back with such ease. But Juventus stopped playing after their early lead. For the remaining 80 minutes, they rarely looked as good as Spurs were. Their loss of control is very odd for a team of their stature and experience.
Of course, two Gianluigi Buffon’s mistakes did not help either, but overall performance was poor. Gonzalo Higuaín did not convert his second penalty, Sami Khedira was not at his level in the middle of the park, while only Giorgio Chiellini was playing like he usually does.
Manchester United had some similar moments this season when they lost control of a match easily and this was a lesson that these things happen even to clubs like Juventus.