Champions League: Manchester United 0-1 Barcelona - 3 reasons why United lost the game
Barcelona will have an all-important away goal going into the second leg at the Camp Nou next week, courtesy of a Luke Shaw own-goal. The Blaugrana were not at their fluid best yesterday and were made to struggle for possession by the Manchester United players for long parts of the game.
Barcelona started the game on the high and dominated possession for the first 15 minutes of the game, sending the Manchester United players deep in their own half. Their dominance paid off in the 13th minute when Luis Suarez's header at the far post got deflected off Luke Shaw and ended up in the back of the net.
After conceding, Manchester United increased their tempo and forced the Barcelona players into mistakes. Barcelona struggled to get hold of the ball for the rest of the half and was delighted to hear the half-time whistle.
Diogo Dalot had the best opportunity to score for Manchester United but scuffed his header at the back post. The Red Devils started the 2nd half with the same energy they ended the first with. Barcelona players were pushed deep into their own half, while Manchester United did all the running with the ball, but failed to create a clear opportunity to score.
The Manchester United players will take some positives with that performance going into the second leg at the Camp Nou next week. The Red Devils did most things right on the pitch, but some mistakes cost them the game. Here are three reasons why Manchester United lost the game.
#1 Showed Barcelona too much respect at the start of the game
Manchester United started the game on the back foot and it seemed like they were too afraid to attack the opposition at the start. They sat back deep in their own half, letting Barcelona dominate possession, waiting for an opportunity on the counter. They showed Barcelona too much respect, and that’s what cost Manchester United the game.
The Blaugrana struggled when Manchester United pressed them higher up the pitch, forcing them to play long in the second half of the game. If the Red Devils took the game to Barcelona from the first whistle, the result might have been different.
#2 Ashley Young and his poor crossing
The winger turned full-back is more than capable of delivering a brilliant cross into the box, but the 33-year-old has failed to deliver a successful cross in 13 attempts in his last two games.
The right-back exploited the space behind Jordi Alba and had opportunities to put a decent ball into the box for Romelu Lukaku, but couldn’t produce even a single successful cross.
Philip Coutinho ran circles around the full-back and his pace and movement troubled him throughout the game. The 33-year-old had a game to forget and needs to hugely improve on that performance, especially with Luke Shaw suspended for the second leg.