Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United: 5 Talking Points & Tactical Analysis| Premier League 2018-19
#4 Mourinho makes early substitution and tactical tweaks
United’s backline was in shambles after the two goals. Young had allowed the Kenedy and Muto to run past him and the central defenders weren’t up to the task either. Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly couldn’t close down the two goal-scorers either and they were majorly culpable for the initial damage caused.
Hence, it became apparent that Mourinho became proactive on the touchline and made a quick substitution by hauling off Bailly for Juan Mata in the 19th minute. By taking off a central defender this early into the game, it was clear that United was going to push for a victory.
Moreover, Mata’s inclusion made sense as the Spaniard operated as the primary creative outlet by running into pockets of spaces and playing some quick football.
He distributed the ball to the flanks, passed it ahead incisively and played in tandem at times with Luke Shaw who used to be on the run from the left wing.
To break Newcastle’s defensive setup, it was necessary to have someone like Mata who would play simple passes on the move and get in between the midfield and defensive lines. Bailly was replaced by Scott McTominay at the right-sided centre-back position.
Though McTominay was looking increasingly incompetent at that position, he managed to see of the first half. His performance after dropping deeper on the pitch was quite unimpressive though.
Accordingly, Mourinho made some quick tactical tweaks to churn out a reaction from his players.
Paul Pogba was given a free role as Matic stayed behind to negate Newcastle’s counter-attacks. With every passing minute, United looked to assert their authority over the proceedings.