Manchester United were once again upstaged at Old Trafford as they were shown the proverbial door out of the Carabao Cup against Derby County. They lost on penalties 7-8.
The exit comes three days after the team drew its Premier League home encounter against Wolves, who for most parts were described more enterprising and determined than their lofty opponents.
The match saw the team stick to their profligacy in front of the opposition’s goal. Taking the lead inside three minutes from the start, they should have been 3-0 up by the 15-minute mark. However, they did not improve on their conversion of chances and Derby came back with an equalizer early in the second half.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero was given the marching orders after handling the ball outside his area and soon Derby took the lead against 10-man United. This was already the third red card United have received this season after only receiving one for the entirety of last season.
Fellaini scored a late goal to take the game to the shootout but United came second best when Phil Jones saw his penalty saved at 7-7. Frank Lampard’s Derby secured a well-deserved win while Mourinho’s charges stumbled to a new law.
In the fallout of the Cup elimination, there have been some clear signs of a rocking ship at Old Trafford. Here is a look at three of them.
The Team: A band of misfits
Mourinho still does not know his best XI. Phil Jones and Eric Bailly came into the match and did not do anything to stake their claim against Smalling and Lindelof. Martial started and did not do much of anything else.
Alexis Sanchez came on and produced another insipid display. Herrera, Mata and Lingard were also disappointing, especially against a Championship side. Romelu Lukaku does not look like he belongs at Old Trafford even if his record is not bad.
His general play is probably worst of all the strikers that who played regularly for the Club in the last 30 years. Apart from Fellaini, Dalot and Young, there were hardly any who deserved to wear the United’s crest on Tuesday night.
The Manager- A picture of disintegration
All through preseason, Jose was prickly. Then with two successive losses against Brighton and Spurs he could see the rumor mill smoking coal. Three away victories and there seemed a faux sense of calm. But the last four days have fluttered the dovecotes again.
There have been too many public rants decrying players’ attitude when it is his responsibility to pick the side mentally and physically capable of winning matches for as a team.
The fracas involving Pogba is both pugnacious and undesirable for a club that wants to get back to its lost dynasty and past glory. Mourinho is lighting too many fires and the writing may very well have been written on the wall after the ignominy of the Carabao Cup exit.
The Superstar- A disgruntled Primadonna
Paul Pogba is a World Cup winner. He became the vice-captain of one of the biggest clubs in the World. He is a social media juggernaut, a marketing behemoth and the face of Manchester United.
But he is also a big baby, he is often self-involved on the pitch and self-consumed off of it. He dares to exchange implicit verbal pangs with his manager and is arrogant enough to think that he is justified in doing so,
After his unabashed attempt to pander the fans on his side with the cry of ‘attack, attack, attack’, he was relieved of the vice-captaincy at the Club. He is a becoming an ego detrimental to his team, teammates and the manager.
Maybe it is the norm of the modern age, but the likes of Pogba have been lionized so much that they believe their own hype. Football is not Facebook and football matches are not won with Instagram followers, well at least for now. The sooner he and the Club’s hierarchy realize that, the sooner they can get a reality check about how fast they are plummeting, how far they are adrift from the top and how much they have fallen.Published 26 Sep 2018, 16:04 IST