Sanchez, Fellaini 4/10 as Man United exit Champions League

Sanchez, Fellaini 4/10 as Man United exit Champions League
From ESPN - March 13, 2018

Manchester United tumbled out of the UEFA Champions League with a performance as baffling as the one against Liverpool just a few days earlier was rousing. Jose Mourinho made several changes to the lineup, which visibly halted the team's momentum, and Sevilla benefitted from this side's lack of chemistry, casting aside their poor domestic form to prevail by two goals to one. The inquest following this game will continue for several weeks, or at least it should do.


Romelu Lukaku got the goal he deserved for his prodigious efforts. Eric Bailly, after a slow start, made some vital interventions in the second half.


Alexis Sanchez often looked aimless and Marcus Rashford ran into too many congested areas. Marouane Fellaini, though he went close with one effort, failed to impose himself upon the midfield. However, their struggles were vastly amplified by the tactics that Mourinho chose.

Manager rating out of 10

3 --Mourinho simply seemed to get this absolutely wrong. He benched Scott McTominay, who had developed a good relationship in midfield with Nemanja Matic, for Fellaini -- and he replaced Juan Mata, vital to United's fluency in attack against Liverpool, with Jesse Lingard. This move completely disrupted the supply to United's forwards, and it is remarkable that Lukaku made as much headway as he did.

These tactics invited untold pressure on United's backline, who faced 45 attempts on goal in two games -- 11 of which David De Gea had to save. Sadly, he could not save them all.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 7 -- Had a good game, though perhaps at fault a little for the second. Again isolated far too often by lapses in concentration ahead of him, and repelled almost as much as he could.

DF Antonio Valencia, 5 -- Caught out of position a little too often and though he made good inroads in the final third at times he looked uncomfortable against Sevilla's sophistication on the break.

DF Chris Smalling, 5 -- Looked uncertain when stepping out of defensive, much less sure of himself than in recent weeks.

DF Eric Bailly, 7 -- A poor start with some loose passing, but recovered to become United's best defender on the night. One last-ditch challenge in particular was superb.


Continue reading at ESPN »