Wan-Bissaka sleeps as Man Utd crumble to semi-final defeat

Lindelof got the Fernandes … The post Wan-Bissaka sleeps as Man Utd crumble to semi-final defeat appeared first on Football365.

Wan-Bissaka sleeps as Man Utd crumble to semi-final defeat

Manchester United’s 370th day of the season was their last as they crumbled to their third semi-final defeat of the season. A penalty, of course, but multiple missed chances and some appalling defending meant Sevilla came from behind to reach the final of the Europa League. Leaving United perplexed, angry and frustrated after a game they really should have won.

The referee ignored the unwritten rules of officiating in the seventh minute. Felix Brych paradoxically correctly awarded a penalty that isn’t 99 per cent of the time. A slightly mistimed tackle meant Marcus Rashford was felled following a shot in the penalty area. Normally, bizarrely, these aren’t given as penalties. It was a very nasty challenge, with Rashford sporting the memento of stud marks on his shin, but again normally the severity of the tackle makes no difference in this situation. It was refreshing. Bravo, Felix.

A penalty is as good as a goal for United these days, and Bruno Fernandes dispatched the team’s 22nd of the season – his eighth – with the usual hop before both placing and smashing the ball into the top corner.

Both teams were afforded incredible amounts of space and time on the ball. Fred nearly took advantage to double United’s lead, but Sergio Reguilon and Lucas Ocampos were causing a very lonely Aaron Wan-Bissaka all sorts of problems.  The deficiencies on United’s right side – with Mason Greenwood doing very little to help out – were made clear on at least two occasions before Sevilla drew level.

Reguilon breezed past Wan-Bissaka – who looked out on his arse in the 26th minute – to pick up a return pass from Ocampos before firing across the box. Former Liverpool man Suso was on hand to place the ball into the corner of the net with one of those finishes that is difficult if you score but a sitter if you don’t.

The next 40 minutes – split by half-time – belonged to United. Martial’s build-up play was stunning but his finishing was off. The goalkeeper made some excellent saves with his feet, but he had to score at least one of the three guilt-edge chances he had in a bonkers ten-minute spell after half-time.

The opportunities he and his teammates spurned meant the game had the look of one of the most one-of-those-days days in recent memory. And so it proved.

The first time United had come under any pressure in the second half, they conceded. Jesus Navas broke the no-end-product mould of his Manchester City days to whip a dangerous ball into the box. Luuk de Jong had the company of three United defenders, but not their attention. And he inexplicably tapped the ball home from six yards, unchallenged.

It was bad defending from everyone. Paul Pogba made a very Pogba-like attempt to win the ball in midfield (i.e. he didn’t), Brandon Williams didn’t get close enough to Navas to block the cross, Harry Maguire was way too far ahead of the front post, as was Victor Lindelof.

But more of Robbie Savage’s disgust at Lindelof, and some of Fernandes’ bollocking of the Swede should have been reserved for Wan-Bissaka. What planet is he on? Even if Lindelof should have picked De Jong up, Wan-Bissaka can see that he hadn’t, so he’s got to deal with it.

Yes, he’s tired, but aren’t they all? Exhaustion isn’t an explanation for a right-back hailed as the best defender in the business simply ignoring a striker standing the wrong side of him in the box. He can only expect to keep his place in this United team if his defending is exemplary, such is his poor contribution in the attacking third.

Before the game, Solskjaer was adamant he needed more bodies at United, not just as squad players but to improve the “quality” of the first team – he’s right. They’ve been given an easy ride post-lockdown, dispatching the likes of Bournemouth and Brighton, but – apart from beating a downtrodden Leicester on the final day – losing to the only sides that are a match for them, Chelsea and Sevilla. They’ve got a long way to go to actually be as good as many have lauded them to be.

It’s odd to suggest United need to strengthen their defence given their excellent record this season, but while they may have won the game with Jadon Sancho, they definitely would have done with better defenders. Solskjaer should start there.


Will Ford is on Twitter

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Solskjaer: ‘Tired’ Man Utd have ‘come quite a distance’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has … The post Solskjaer: ‘Tired’ Man Utd have ‘come quite a distance’ appeared first on Football365.

Solskjaer: ‘Tired’ Man Utd have ‘come quite a distance’

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that Manchester United were “tired” by the end of their Europa League clash with Sevilla – and offered a tiny hint to their transfer business.

United’s semi-final curse struck again, . It’s the third time out of three competitions that United have been eliminated at the last four stage this season.

It brings down the curtains on Solskjaer’s first full season in charge at Old Trafford. And despite United having enough chances to ensure it continued for one more game, they ultimately lost out.

However, the United boss is content with the progress they have made in 2019-20 – but thinks they will need to mature further in the coming months.

Solskjaer told BT Sport: “It’s one of them, if you take chances you win comfortably – not always the case in football.

“We had moments in spells in both halves where we should have scored a few. We have a young team; some spells showed that this group of players will have to learn and get some consistency in their play.

“When we get the ball down and create chances it’s scintillating at times. The keeper had a fantastic game. It’s disappointing we didn’t score because we’ve got players with that quality.”

Replays suggested that the ball was out of play before Sevilla’s opener. Had the officials spotted it, the game could have had a different outcome.

But Solskjaer refused to use it as an excuse.

“It was a throw-in – 100%, but when you don’t get it you can’t stop. You know it’s our throw-in but it ends up on other side of pitch at the other end [and they cross it for the goal].”

Then, Sevilla’s winning goal was particularly poor for to concede, with their defence coming under scrutiny.

And Solskjaer admitted that it highlighted issues all over the pitch, not just at the back.

He added: “It’s not just in the box, but the run up to the goal is disappointing. We should have stopped the cross maybe, then the ball got a deflection off Brandon’s [Williams] thigh that changed the direction of the ball.”

It has been a season of progress for United, but they have fallen short before the last hurdle on more than one occasion.

This was only their second defeat since lockdown, and Solskjaer is pleased with how they have developed in 2020.

However, the former striker admitted they need to work to make sure they can take more steps forward in future.

“Since February we’ve been fantastic,” he said. “Then again it’s disappointing to go out.

“We’ve come quite a distance. Exciting to work with the boys but you could see at the end – tired legs and tired minds.

“We definitely need to improve to move up the table and take steps in the cups. I’ve never had three semi-finals in one season.”

Attention will now turn towards the transfer market for United, as they look to strengthen ahead of the new campaign.

And Solskjaer gave away a little about their plans – even though he predictably refused to comment on a potential bid for .

“We are working to improve what we have,” Solskjaer added. “We’ve had spells with injuries. We’re always looking to improve the squad.

“It’s not about a marquee signing, it’s about quality. The right personality that fits into the group.”

When asked about Sancho specifically, he replied: “I’m not commenting on other teams’ players.”

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