UEFA Europa League 2019/20: 3 reasons why Manchester United lost to FC Astana
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United suffered a shock loss this afternoon in a Europa League tie with Kazakhstani side FC Astana, who defeated the Red Devils 2-1 at the Astana Arena after falling behind in the first half.
The defeat likely won’t put any pressure on Solskjaer, whose side had already qualified for the knockout stages of the competition, as the Norwegian boss named a heavily inexperienced side with seven teenagers – including three debutants – in the starting XI. The match seemed like a good opportunity for Solskjaer to blood young talent, and despite the loss they will have learned a great deal.
United took the lead in the first half through the night’s captain and most experienced player, Jesse Lingard – who found the net for the first time since January. The Red Devils largely bossed the half, but after Tahith Chong missed an easy chance in the second half, Astana stunned the Premier League side with two quick goals, one from Dmitriy Shomko and the other an own goal from debutant Di’Shon Bernard.
The Red Devils had some chances to equalise, but Astana keeper Eric was equal to them all, and the game ended in defeat for Solskajer’s side.
Here are 3 reasons why Manchester United lost to FC Astana.
#1 United’s kids were too much flash, not enough substance in attack
It’s hard to really criticise such an inexperienced Manchester United side, as the majority of the young players selected by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer performed admirably on what was a tricky 4G pitch in freezing conditions. Midfielders James Garner and Dylan Levitt impressed with their passing range, while Angel Gomes and Mason Greenwood also showed flashes of huge potential.
The problem for United, however, was that they simply didn’t produce enough gilt-edged chances. They dominated in possession – 66% to FC Astana’s 34% - and managed 20 attempts on goal, but it was telling that just 5 of them were on target.
Outside of Tahith Chong’s terrible miss and a pair of late chances from Greenwood and Gomes that were well saved by Eric, the Red Devils just didn’t create enough, with Chong, Gomes and Luke Shaw often running down blind alleys. These youngsters will definitely learn from their experience and probably end up better for it, but today they just didn’t produce enough of substance.