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One night in Turin
There’s still plenty of work needed on this squad. Mourinho still may not be the ideal fit for United. And no, we still aren’t “back”.
But my lord, if any United fan can’t get excited about that result, maybe football isn’t for you.
DJ, MUFC (goodbye sleep) India
Our most loveable player made that Juan Mata.
Daniel (I’m here all night) Cambridge
Watched the game last night then read the Winterburn piece and I gotta ask if we watched the same game. United matched, mind you matched not outplayed, Juventus in the beginning of the game. It was promising. I don’t know if it was due to tiring or class shining through but after maybe half an hour Juventus started outplaying us. They had numerous chances hit the frame of the goal twice, had numerous other chances (best one in my opinion falling to my fellow Bosnian Pjanic who really should have scored after doing so well to win the ball) and in the end lost due to nothing more than the collective prayer of all United fans and Allegri being outmaneuvered.
Mata in my opinion has been our best player for the past few years. He is semi consistent and really is bloody brilliant at football. Pogba has been shit. He was shit yesterday and has been shit since coming. I don’t know why anyone would question Fergusons judgement of a player. If he sold Messi I wouldn’t buy him back because the man knew more about football than google knows about its users.
Alexis Sanchez was also shit yesterday. Mkhitaryan was hit and miss, Sanchez is just miss. He played well for Arsenal but I get the feeling he needs a zippy tippy tappy game plan to get the most out of him whereas this sort of long ball football just does not work for him.
Lukaku is not a world class attacker but good enough for United currently. Martial and Rashford both have potential to become world class but lots of players have potential for greatness few realize it.
My point being our players are lacking. They aren’t up to par to the crem de la crem of the prem and especially CL. Yesterday we were outplayed by a better team and would have handily lost were it not for Mata and luck.
Dino (Pogba and Sanchez should leave) Kantardzic
Don’t be Rash
Great result, commendable performance. But Rashford’s miss ruined an otherwise reasonable replica of the Andy Cole “full speed ahead Barcelona” goal in 1999.
Bloody get in
WOW! What a result! Great to see us capable of coming from behind to win in Turin – there is no way this result can be downplayed as Juve are one of the best teams in the world, defensively they are arguably the best, and yet we managed to come from behind to win! Absolutely buzzing with that result.
Does it mean we are suddenly a great side? No, of course not, anyone with eyes could see that we stole those points last night, Juve were the better team and were unlucky not to win, let alone lose. However, as F365 demanded, we did show some intent last night. Given the general air of resignation that has hung around Old Trafford for a few months, it has been great to see us show some fight and spirit in the past couple of weeks.
I think that bringing Herrera back in to the starting 11 makes a huge difference, I absolutely adore the little shit, and am of the opinion he should be wearing the captains armband (Young’s recent excellence notwithstanding), not warming the bench most games. I also think Lindelof is starting to perform as a 30m CB should – granted it has been too long in coming, but fingers crossed he can continue to improve.
The likelihood is that we will lose to City (given they are a couple of levels above us), but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the moment. The last few weeks have been strange in that they have perfectly illustrated our flaws, and yet also managed to highlight strengths that few believed us capable of (myself included). I wrote in a few weeks back saying that I attend football games (and watch them) to enjoy myself, and the last few weeks have generally been enjoyable. Long may it continue
Jack (Not sure why Liverpool fans felt the need to have a dig at City for not supporting their managers – say what you want about them, I often do, but City fans are a loyal bunch) Manchester
1. Make no mistake this was a game that played 10-15 times over Juventus would more than likely win 90% of those. But tell that to Man United and Jose Mourinho. They will care very little. To put this into context Juventus have lost 2 of 60 games in Serie A at their new home. The old lady has a fortress and United nipped in stole a handbag and ran away laughing.
2. Juventus made two changes to their line up Joao Cancelo and Matuidi made way for De Sciglio and Khedira. From the evidence of the first of these two games Cancelo was highly unfortunate to miss out. His running and endeavor caused problems down Uniteds left hand side. However, this time it was a varying cast who caused problems down uniteds left. With Ronaldo, Cuadrado and Dybala either forcing saves or creating chances down that side.
3. Khedira was a beneficiary of one of those chances and really should have at least hit the target. It was a feature of the game that Juventus would rarely hit the target. They had 23 attempts at goal and only 3 on target. Juventus were largely wasteful and United were the beneficiaries.
4. United also benefitted from Romelu Lukaku’s ongoing mystery injury. Alexis Sanchez was excellent in the first 20/30 minutes setting the tone with Jesse Lingard in pressing the Juventus back line. It set a much better tone for the whole side.
5. However, for all of the effort of the pressing United created very little and all the concerns of not having set ways to attack were on display. The most obvious out ball was Ashley Young initially, however not only was his delivery poor and the United side without Lukaku lack that target man. Pogba realistically should have been tasked with getting into dangerous postitions but alas this did not occur as the Frenchman was very quiet throughout.
6. His opposite number in Miralem Pjanic is a master of controlling a midfield and after the initial period Juventus eventually gained control and central to them is the Bosnian. His partner in Bentancur was excellent too and they compliment each other wonderfully. The Uruguayan looks to be a bargain signing.
7. In Juan Cuadrado Juventus own the most hard working yet infuriating player all in one. His final ball can sometimes be lacking and his finishing is just the same. His running though is invaluable and he was a genuine outlet throughout the game laying on several chances for team mates who didn’t hit the target. He himself guilty once Juventus took the lead.
8. It’s time to discuss the opening goal. Firstly, the pass is absolutely magnificent, the movement exceptional and the finish is truly outrageous. To not only watch the ball the entire way but to control it and hit it past De Gea it truly was one of the best goals you will see in the champions league this season. We really should expect nothing less from Ronaldo.
9. According to Mina Rzouki Allegri has something of a knack for substitutions however, he got them all wrong against United. Bringing on Barzagli usually results in Juventus stemming the tide even further. Yet there was no tide United were inspid in the second period barely troubling Sczeneny at all. That substitution allowed United back into the game and allowed Martial to grow into the game and force the issue.
10. Mourinho on the other hand reacted accordingly and his substitutions had the opposite effect with Fellaini providing that target United lacked and Mata the craft. It was martials link up with both rashford and Fellaini that forced the ball to fall just outside the box to Pogba who was subsequently fouled. Mata took the resulting free kick and United looked to have scraped a fortunate point.
11. Yet this robbery wasnt over. Martial fouled by Barzagli resulted in a free kick out wide. A wicked ball from Young aimed for Fellaini was forced over the line through some uncharacteristically shoddy defending and some poor goalkeeping.
12. Which segues nicely into discussing Sczeneny. He is undoubtedly Juventus’ weakest link. For both goals he is absolutely culpable. The first taking the wrong step doesn’t allow him to fully commit to saving Mata’s free kick. For the second he is undecisive resulting in an incredibly weak parry that bounced into Bonnuci and over the line. You have to wonder if Juventus won’t do business in January. The rest of the side looks capable of winning Europe’s biggest prize. But in Sczeneny do they have a keeper who is capable in the big moments in the big games later in the competition? On the evidence of tonight that answer is inconclusive and for a club as CL hungry as Juventus that simply isn’t good enough.
Gary (obligatory comment regarding the difficulty of producing so many points from a game/wish I had access to stats)
It ain’t over til it’s over
It seems strange to say it, but somehow this United side has all of a sudden found a real resolve and team spirit.
Watching the last 5 mins of tonight’s game they managers to evoke memories of late 90’s United European sides.
How much of this is down to the boss? It’s impossible to say, but out nowhere this team looks like it can do anything.
Now don’t get your knickers in a twist, I don’t mean they can become the best. I simply mean they can play 5 mins of such good football that in can turn any match on its head.
It’s insane to watch when you generally have to sit through 85 mins of dross.
It’s fair to say that this season a United game isn’t over until the final whistle is blown because they’re either clinging on to a win or going for a last minute winner.
Makes them worth watching again though..
While Martial has looked like the only outlet in the last few weeks, it seems that the rest are beginning to discover some semblance of form. Pogba, Matic, Shaw, Smalling and dare I say Lindelof are beginning to find their feet which augers well (for the near future atleast). This leaves the right back role which Young seems to be doing quite well in, until Valencia comes in that is.
Herrera, Mata and Fellaini have also now been made familiar of their bit part roles including crucial fee kicks which seems to be working. Then where does this leave this team against City and in the future? To me it leaves them a bit short. Short on proper quality and specialist positions which did look stark against Juve at times, inspite of the win. A team of Uniteds stature simply shouldnt choose to live with the forwards that we have at present with due respect to the young Rashford.
Similarly, we need players with stature in midfield, players who can command games based on quality and experience. And the lack of this is whats making them feel inferior (to their own admission) against the star studded lineups teams like City and Juve possess.
Having said that, on Sunday, if United choose to play the way theyve shown themselves out to be recently, its going to be close, very close. Citys controlled game versus United power and industry. Should be fun.
Jose pulls us back in
Let me make this clear, I don’t back Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. But it’s those little *arrogant* gestures that somehow suck me back in again. That probably says more about me than I’d like to think, but still, f*ck it.
Who let the ultimate underdogs out?
Looking at tonight’s result Mourinho really has created the ultimate underdogs. Manchester United only come alive when they’ve behind.
Dale (In Bielsa we trust) Leeds
Look, I know this morning’s mailbox will be filled with exultant Salford United supporters praising the second coming of Jose The Master, but I thought I’d throw in an off-the-wall angle on last night’s CL games. Watched City v Shaktar with the sound down as Robbie Savage was on co-comms (with R5L in the background) and I realised I had an actual list of football pundits/commentators that I quite literally couldn’t bear listening to and others I wouldn’t miss. So, in no order:
Robbie Savage. Seriously? How does he get the work? Enormous rubber sex toy of a bloke.
Dean Saunders. One of those guys that, on the face of it, would seem to be the life and soul of any party. A good laugh, loads of hilarious stories, great bantz etc. In reality however, he’s Mr Really Very Angry Just One Scratch Below The Surface as you will find out in a heart beat when he feels challenged/threatened. The King of the “How many times have you been a manager/professional football player?” when so challenged by his TalkSport callers. Or indeed his ‘colleagues’.
Andy Goldstein. See Dean Saunders. Loves giving it out but just listen to how he reacts to callers when his beloved United come up short. Not such a witty chuckle-meister then! Don’t mind a pundit/commentator loving their team but, if you’re in the media, then at least TRY to have a sense of balance when at work. #DannyKelly.
Adrian Durham. Not a kn*b as such but more of a real waste of talent. Clearly employed as the radio panto villain to ensure the calls roll on in but immensely knowledgeable and obviously uber-passionate about football in all its forms.
Danny Kelly. Could listen to the man All. Day. Long. Why he doesn’t front a mainstream show on Sky or BT Sport is just beyond me.
Jonathan Pearce. Always well researched and passionate. In recent times, have been particularly impressed with his coverage of WSL games. (If you’re not watching these then you don’t know what you’re missing).
Alex Scott. I genuinely don’t think I’ve heard her say anything crap. Incisive, intelligent and very, very chilled in front of the camera. Effortlessly puts the likes of Michael Owen and Owen Hargreaves as so-called pundits to shame. Generally on with Graham Souness who just sounds like the Fast Show’s Football Manager in comparison.
Dion Dublin. Funny, switched on and very easy on the ear. Calls it like it is and avoids the usual tired platitudes. The exact opposite of Sex Toy Savage.
Not meant to be an exhaustive list but keen to find out who F365-ers would add or remove.
Mark (How many back pages will have “Six of the best” about us on Thursday morning?). MCFC
Since Željko Buvač stopped working with the team in late April they have really struggled in attack, especially against decent opposition, this includes defeats to Chelsea (twice), Roma (4-2), Real Madrid (3-1) and now Napoli and Crvena zvezda (Red Star).
In the 21 games since Buvač went AWOL Liverpool have scored 36 goals, in the previous 21 they had scored 51. Now we know that you can “prove anything with stats” but there has been a notable downturn in Liverpool’s attacking prowess in both finishing and chances created, can this be attributed to tiredness? Can’t give any validity to that. How about Liverpool’s newfound defensive resilience? They’ve 20 conceded goals in their last 21 games, they also conceded 20 goals in the previous 21 and as there has not been a shift to a more defensive formation/mindset this argument can’t really hold up! Is it just a blip? Maybe, but you can’t really quantify “blips”. How about form? Perhaps… you can’t say that the three amigos up front look totally on it or like they’re enjoying their football right now.
It’s obvious that the players love Klopp (even Studge) but maybe they feel more comfortable and confident in the way that Buvač worked with them in certain aspects. Or maybe Liverpool have reverted back to their old “better 2nd half of season” habit. Who knows….. but it’s worth asking how much certain managers are diminished without their favourite side-kicks I guess!