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The mess at Manchester United is not all Jose Mourinho's fault

ANALYST
Feature
878   //    28 Nov 2018, 20:04 IST

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho

Manchester United narrowly avoided defeat thanks to a Marouane Fellaini goal on Tuesday against Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League. That a club as massive as Manchester United would be dominated for major portions of a game by a lowly side at home would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. The major progress made under Louis van Gaal after the David Moyes saga seemed utterly undone.

However easy it may seem to target manager Jose Mourinho after United's harrowing performance, this time it did look like the man did the best he could. Of course, starting with Phil Jones was questionable but the England centre-half did have a good game in Victor Lindelof's absence.

What haunts Manchester United at the moment is having a crop of players who lack drive, desire and commitment. Receiving fat paychecks for turning out practically average performances in the biggest club in the world would not have been possible under Sir Alex Ferguson. The management, as well as the executive hierarchy that is in place at Old Trafford, is to blame for this. United's players no longer play for the crest on their shirt nor do they show the heart that is needed in the cut-throat competition that is prevailing in the world today.

On Tuesday, Mourinho started with Marcus Rashford in place of Romelu Lukaku in the striker's role and the move backfired almost immediately as it was crystal clear that Rashford's finishing is nowhere near those who are the best in the world. Relegating both playmakers Paul Pogba and Juan Mata to the bench showed confidence, even contempt, but that move was not successful either as he had to call on both of them in the second half.

The most questionable move that Mourinho made on Tuesday was substituting Fred, who had easily been the best player in the match, for Paul Pogba in search of goals while a struggling Nemanja Matic was allowed to continue. Marouane Fellaini cannot be saving Mourinho's job week in and week out, and there has to be a solution to United's goalscoring woes.

One of the ways is to try Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sanchez up front but someone as experienced as Mourinho knows when something is wrong and we can trust him to fix the ailment soon.

The mess that is at Manchester United is not all his fault; it stems from a bunch of players who are limited and satisfied with what they have. United do not have a single world-beater at the moment and Mourinho can hardly be blamed for the effort his XI puts when out on the park.

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