A win could have capped off United’s resurgence quite satisfyingly but it was not to be. Jose Mourinho‘s Red Army ended up conceding a loss to Serie A giants Juventus at home but there was more to the game than the scoreline would suggest.
It was the homecoming of Cristiano Ronaldo and he was a real presence in the middle with his intelligent movements from the get-go. The Old Lady kept piling on the pressure and United looked like they were eventually going to break.
And that’s exactly what happened as Paulo Dybala tapped in off a rebound in the 17th minute. Juventus kept it up for the entirety of the first half with Manchester United being hardly afforded a chance of their own.
However, United grew into the game in the last half hour and made a real contest out of it. Paul Pogba was unlucky to have not got on the scoresheet after his sweet turn and shot hit the post and then hit Szezscny’s head and rolled away from danger.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the 3 reasons why Manchester United lost against Juventus:
#3 Juventus had better technical players
The reason why Juve looked so good in possession is that their team is filled with players who can keep the ball moving across the field without breaking a sweat. They are all technically gifted and doesn’t waste too much time to pick a pass or bring the ball under control.
With Pjanic, Matuidi and Bentancur running things in midfield and Cancelo galloping down the right flank at every available opportunity, Juventus never looked short of ideas. Though Ronaldo was relatively quiet, Dybala showed signs of real quality.
The Juve defence is also much stronger compared to United’s. Their experienced centre-back duo of Chiellini and Bonucci put in several crucial tackles to deny United’s attackers and were also adept at bringing the ball out from the back.
#2 The space between Smalling and Lindelof
Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof were quite impressive after that goal went in. They held their ground well with Lindelof being the standout performer for the team with some brilliant defending and solid forward passing of the ball.
However, their positioning in the first quarter of the game was quite poor. They allowed far too much space between each other and Dybala was always looking to attack the space they were leaving behind. This ultimately resulted in the game’s only goal.
#1 Starting games on the backfoot
Prevention is better than cure. Agreed. But Manchester United seem to have a warped interpretation of the proverb. United sole objective while starting games seems to be trying to prevent the opposition from scoring goals. But they have always ended up conceding thanks to their poor defence.
What Manchester United should be doing is preventing situations of crisis. They always seem to be digging a hole for themselves and then trying to clutch and pull their way out of it.
The Red Devils are a real treat to watch when they are unshackled. Halfway through the second half, there was a sustained spell of pressure from United and it looked like Juventus was finally going to give. But Pogba’s left-footed strike hit the post and United were criminally denied parity.
Manchester United need to stop conceding early goals and should instead open the floodgates at the first blow of the whistle. Let’s just see how that works for a bit at least, eh?