A spineless Manchester United side were dumped out of the Champions League at the hands of Spanish side Sevilla as they suffered a humiliating 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. The unexplainable loss did not go down well with the fans and the football pundits who criticised manager Jose Mourinho for a pragmatic approach to the biggest game of the season. United last managed to secure a spot in the last eight of the Champions League under David Moyes and post Sir Alex Ferguson era the qualification remains the best United have achieved in the competition. Slamming Jose Mourinho for his defensive approach in big games, United legend Paul Scholes rated the team’s performance as lethargic with lack of desire.
BT Sports pundits and former United teammates Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand vented out their frustration after United’s bitter loss against Sevilla and didn’t hold back in their criticism of the shambolic display from Jose Mourinho’s men. After a goalless first 45 minutes, United were protective but French striker Wissam Ben Yedder’s introduction in the 72nd minute turned things around for the La Liga outfit as they exploited United’s backline and reaped benefits with two goals inside 10 minutes from Yedder. It was always difficult for Manchester United to stage a comeback from there as they would have needed at least three goals to progress. Romelu Lukaku pulled one back with ten minutes left but that was not enough to let his side stop Sevilla from making their first appearance in the last eight of the elite European competition.
“I think that’s the way the manager likes to play games, he likes to play on the counter-attack and use pace,” Scholes told Gary Lineker. “It’s very difficult to watch that, it was difficult watching the first game. There was no desire, no energy, no speed about the team. Romelu Lukaku’s goal was nothing more than a consolation,” he added.
Scholes mentioned that United’s lack of desire to score and win big games was a worrying sign for the club. The former England midfielder who is rated as one of the best of his time also suggested that it’s time Mourinho should drop misfiring Alexis Sanchez and let the other forwards gel well. 3
“I think Marcus’ best position is on the left side. He (Sanchez) gave the ball away so many times. Surely your manager has to say, you’ve had 10 games now, the last four or five games he’s not been good
“I think he has to choose his best front three and be brave enough to leave one out. At the minute Sanchez has to be left out,” said Scholes on Sanchez after yet another ordinary display in a big game. The Chilean hit man has managed just one goal since his arrival at Old Trafford and has been blamed to have disrupted the balance in United’s attacking formation. Mourinho is yet to find Sanchez’s best attacking position in his United and better late than never believes Scholes.
The defeat comes after Manchester United downed Liverpool at Old Trafford 2-1 without letting the lethal trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane break the deadlock throughout the ninety minutes. Sevilla capitalised well on their chances and kept their offensive game high to ensure Manchester United’s defence get penetrated.
Legendary Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also agreed with his BT Sport and former teammate Scholes. He expressed his anger for United to have crashed out of the competition against a low key side like Sevilla and not a top side like Real Madrid or Barcelona. “I’ll tell you what, next round, there’ll be teams licking their lips, English and other teams around Europe, licking their lips at the thought of playing against this Seville team because they are not a team that would frighten you,” said Ferdinand.
“They’re a decent team, they are not a team that frighten you. In these games, you have got to go and take the game by the scruff of the neck. That takes personality, it takes characters to go and do that in this stadium. You have got to go and give the fans something to chant about. This stadium tonight was quiet and that’s down to the players,” he added.
After being ousted from the Champions League and leaders Manchester City having virtually acquired the Premier League, Manchester United have only the FA Cup to play for and end the season with a trophy in their bag. The Old Trafford outfit will take on Brighton in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup on Sunday.