Manchester Utd 6 (McTominay 2,3, Fernandes 20, 70 pen, Lindelof 37, James 67)
Leeds United 2 (Cooper 41, Dallas 63)
I think we know now how the rest of the season is going to pan out! Against these mega rich sides, with top quality players brim full of individual skill, we are going to struggle. Some days, if we really get the rub of the green, we might push them. If you think about the quality of the few chances we missed today for example we could have run them much closer than we did. Hopefully on the 27th we’ll see how our MO, fitness and our skills are generally going to be enough to beat the likes of Burnley, just as we did Newcastle, Fulham, Blades and Villa.
The normal things were still wrong today – done by a corner kick again for example – but we really did shoot ourselves in the foot by being so naïve in those opening minutes. There was too much ball watching going on and, for whatever reason we were not switched on from the start; it was one of those Leeds games we have seen so often; the big build up, great expectations and then a really sloppy start puts us on the back foot before we’ve even started! I’ve seen dozens of examples like that going back donkey’s years and I’m sure you can think of your own examples.
Even then though, we actually created some better chances than the ones they were putting away! Bamford’s first half miss and Harrison’s late miss were right up there with the worst and you just have to believe that had that been Rashford on the end of them, or Fernandes or Martial or any of their top players, they’d have buried them. That’s what you get for the extra tens of millions of pounds you have to pay to get such players in your team and we know we can’t compete with that yet; it’s just too soon. We have to establish ourselves at the trough first and get a few more deals done with the likes of the 49-ers. We’ll get there eventually but it’s going to take a while.
It’s simple stats really; Man U had 26 attempts at goal and hit the target with 14 of them – 54%! Liverpool yesterday had 14 shots, hit the target with 8 and scored with seven of those! That’s what quality at the front end buys you! We had a respectable 14 goal attempts but hit the target just three times albeit scoring with two of them! The ability these teams have on the ball also tends to make their chances easier to finish; it’s just all round quality that counts in the Prem.
It’s the same at the other end too – Marcelo told us the other day that he didn’t think we were that poor at defending set pieces. He reasoned that the likes of Zouma, van Dijk and Soucek are some of the best in the business at climbing in the air and thumping home headers; those players cost money we have not yet been able to accumulate let alone spend!
So, I guess we just have to accept that every now and again we are going to get walloped – it should never be by six to two of course, those opening goals should never have happened and we have to start better than that – but equally you would expect us to win just as many ourselves because there is no other team that can yet match our running, our fitness, our organisation or our spirit. On a good day we’ll mix it with the big boys too as we did with Liverpool and City.
You can’t say we are not giving value for money though! Happy
Man United Leeds United
Possession 41% 59%
Shots 26 17
On Target 14 3
Corners 11 13
Fouls Committed 6 6