Huddersfield vs Manchester United, 5 Talking Points

Manchester United Jose Mourinho angry
Jose Mourinho captured the essence of the match best for United fans.
Anirudh Menon

Score: Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester United

Goalscorers: Aaron Mooy 28', Laurent Depoitre 33'; Marcus Rashford 78')

Jose Mourinho said it best during his frank and brutally to-the-point post-match interview when he said - "We deserve the punishment of the defeat..." - Manchester United looked sloppy and slack-jawed and despite an improved 2nd half performance never really deserve taking points of a fully committed, well organized, and brave Huddersfield team.

#5. Individual mistakes cost United dear, but it's the attitude that disappoints the most

Manchester United Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling's expression says it all

A loose, loose, Ashley Young pass - too strongly hit for Juan Mata; who in turn was bullied far too easily off the ball by Aaron Mooy - led to the Australian scoring after a 3 v 2 counter

An utterly unacceptable mistake from Victor Lindelof let Laurent Depoitre in to round De Gea and slot in the second.

Chris Smalling, meanwhile, got the ball five yards away from goal in the 94th minute completely free, took his time to make a cup of tea, read the evening newspaper, and allowed Mathias Jorgensen to get the block in...

But Mourinho refused to blame those individual errors, or any others, for the defeat. And he had a point -

"I was not expecting that [poor first half]," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "The team that started with intensity, the team playing the game of their lives, won. "I am disappointed, but the reality is they were stronger than us. I prefer to be in peace with football and to be in peace is when the best team wins. It would be unfair if I point at the players involved in individual mistakes. I would if it was in the context of a great team, but it was in the context of what we were like in the first half."

And what was that context?

"If I play a friendly with the kind of attitude we showed today, I would be disappointed, let alone a Premier League match"

Damn, right he would. United never got out of second gear and almost to a man looked lackadaisical and uninvolved in that catastrophic first half.

#4. Rajiv van La Parra and Tom Ince prove superb outlets

Tom Ince
Tom Ince and captain Tommy Smith celebrate the game's opener

After Elias Kachunga came off with what looked like a back strain around about the 40th minute, Rajiv van La Parra came on and was utterly magnificent throughout. Along with the equally dynamic Tom Ince on the other flank, he epitomised the Huddersfield performance. The two wingers' superb dribbling, hold-up play, and simple passing were vital in allowing the Terriers to breather amidst near-constant United pressure and they simply never stopped running - defensively as well as toward De Gea's goal.

United's attacking play sorely missed the directness and 100% commitment that Ince and van La Parra brought to the field - and Romelu Lukaku especially could have used more service down the wings.

Instead, United kept going through the middle, their passing predictable and into a thicket of blue-and-white shirts; the Terriers, meanwhile, showing their more illustrious opponents just how to do it.

#3. Romelu Lukaku is missing Paul Pogba

Romelu Lukaku manchester United
Romelu Lukaku looks bereft of the confidence that made his such a threat in the opening games

Across the town at Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has built a fantastic football team and it's all been around Kevin De Bruyne. The understanding that De Bruyne has with his forwards - especially Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane is near-telepathic and it's the magic that has made City so attractive to watch all season.

Why I raise this point is because Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba seemed to have a near-telepathic understanding going on before the charismatic Frenchman pulled a hamstring in their opening Champions League match against Basel... ever since then, Lukaku has looked a shadow of his old self, service from midfield either poor or non-existent while it's much better not to talk about the service from the wings - hell, he even had to drift out and provide a perfect cross to Rashford to show just how crosses should come in from the wing.

But the main problem is still the absent Frenchman. Other than the fact that he carries the team with that natural arrogance and charisma, Pogba understands Lukaku on a level that none of his other teammates do, and its visible for all to see.

#2. Huddersfield Town's magnificent defensive display deserved three points

Huddersfield Town David Wagner
What a performance when the team needed it the most.

Tommy Smith, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Jorgenson, Chris LΓΆwe deserved the standing ovation they received (Tommy Smith's battle with Anthony Martial well and truly won by the Englishman - the Frenchman's yellow card and substitution at half-time a true vindication of his victory over the previously indomitable Martial) and credit too has to go to Danny Williams and Aaron Mooy who along with the back four and the tireless running of the forwards Ince, van La Parra and the excellent Laurent Depoitre formed an impenetrable fortress in front of Jonas Lossl... that the keeper had surprisingly little to do all is a testament to the defensive organisation of Wagner's unit.

They threw their bodies on the line, held a wonderful high line when needed, and pressed Manchester United off the park in the first half - a half-asleep United standing no chance.

If their first win over United since 1952 proved anything, it's that there is no such thing as a free lunch in the Premier League.

#1. Manchester United need a strong performance against Tottenham next weekend

Jose Mourinho manchester United
Jose Mourinho needs to see some change in his side's attitude, and performance, next week

Manchester City are five points ahead of them, Tottenham Hotspur are just three points behind (with a game in hand, beat Liverpool and Spurs will draw level with United) while Chelsea seem to be finding the kind of resolve that Jose Mourinho spent years instilling in them... add all this up, and the writing on the wall is clear for all to see.

The Premier League may only be 9 games in, but the indications are clear - no team can afford more than a couple of slip-ups, not with the kind of form Pep Guardiola's men are in... and Mourinho needs a statement performance from his strangely dispirited looking men next weekend against Tottenham at home - and the following one away at Chelsea - if he is to really establish himself, and his team as contenders for the throne this season.

And he certainly needs to address their attitude issues -

"If I was a [United] fan I would be disappointed. You can lose games because the opponent has more quality but not lack of attitude."

Edited by Anirudh Menon


Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...