5 observations from Matchday 4 of the 2018/2019 UCL group stage
The group stage of the 2018/2019 Champions League is gradually coming to an end, and the groups are shaping up, with some winners and qualified teams decided with two matchdays to go, while others are still as open as ever, with some having all teams still in a position where they could make it through to the next round.
Matchday 4 offered us some real excitement, and there were routine victories for the big boys such as Manchester City and Real Madrid who made light work of their opponents to take control of their groups, while other clubs such as Tottenham and Manchester United left it late to keep alive their chances of qualification.
In what was a very entertaining and breathtaking matchday, we present 5 observations from matchday 4 of the 2018/2019 UCL.
#5 Talk of Mou's demise might have been premature
Once one of the most successful clubs in the world under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have lost its swagger since the departure of the legendary Scot, and are struggling to reach the heights of yesteryear.
Jose Mourinho was appointed in the summer of 2016 against popular appeal, as it was believed that the wily Portuguese would be the one to restore the club to its lost place of pride, even if it came at the cost of not playing beautiful football.
That has largely failed to happen, and Mourinho has struggled to make a mark at Old Trafford, watching on helplessly as Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City army have stamped their authority all over England.
Public spats with players, accusing the media of disrespect and riling up opposition managers and fans, it seemed that there was more spark off the field than on it at United and that Mourinho was doing all he could to deflect attention from the lethargic performances by his team.
Results got so poor in the last two months that many reports emerged suggesting that the United board was ready to call it quits on their bittersweet relationship with the 55-year-old barely three years after it began.
As it turned out, those rumours turned out to be nothing more than the scramblings of an overactive imagination, and Mourinho has overseen a turnaround in the fortunes of the English giants.
They are currently on a run of three consecutive victories in all competitions, and the latest of these was the most convincing, as United put up unarguably the best European performance under Mourinho to rally back and defeat Juventus having gone behind to a Ronaldo stunner.
Juve are one of the form teams in Europe at the moment and were unbeaten in all competitions heading into the match, so United's victory was no mean feat.
Mourinho also deserves special mention for his inspired substitutions in the match, as his introductions had an impact on the outcome, and this shows the folly of the 'Football Einsteins' who claimed he was on a decline less than two months ago and was the perfect tonic for United ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday.