3 current problems that Manchester United need to solve
Manchester United suffered a damning and embarrassing blow after being knocked out to Sevilla, at Old Trafford, in the Champions League round of 16.
It is fair to say that Vincenzo Montella’s men deserve to go through based on their gutsy performance, but the Red Devils limped out timidly without showing any desire or fight to take the game to the Spanish side.
Everything was so tepid and lacklustre throughout both ties - a common theme that has been underlined this season by José Mourinho’s team’s performances.
Here are three things that are at the centre of Manchester United’s problems.
#1 Alexis Sánchez at left wing
Signing Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal looked to be fantastic business by Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman of Manchester United, especially ahead of their cross-town rivals Manchester City, who were also in for him.
The Chilean has been one of the Premier League’s best players since arriving from Barcelona in 2014, but he has struggled initially since coming to Manchester. That is no major surprise, given winter signings take longer to adapt to a new club midway through the season, having to get to grips with their new team’s players and philosophy.
However, Mourinho’s incessant use of Sánchez at left wing is worrying, because it is stifling the progression of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in that position. The former Gunner has not excelled on the left wing and is trying to cut inside to operate in a No. 10 role practically every time he receives the ball.
By doing so, the Red Devils have very limited width due to Ashley Young’s nervousness to attack fully and Sánchez’s unorthodox approach to the wing.
The Chilean hasn't played a major part in his 10 matches so far for United, only managing to score once having featured in a minimum of 80 minutes per game. It is a disappointing return, but not one that should cause serious concern moving forward into the new season. Sánchez is likely to rekindle his form with a good pre-season camp at the club, instead of going to the World Cup.
With United now only in one competition where they can compete for a trophy, Mourinho should rotate between Rashford and Martial to occupy the left wing and move Sánchez in-field to sit on the shoulder of Lukaku. The Chilean is eager to play through the middle so let him do so.