Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Manchester United: FA Cup, 3 things we observed
Manchester United was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after suffering a 2-1 loss against Wolves at the Moniluex. It was their second defeat in a row and only the third under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had most of his first-team players back from injury and picked a strong side for the game. Sergio Romero started in goal as he always does for the cup games. Manchester United kept a lot of possession at the start of the match, moving around the Wolves players from one end to another.
But Wolves were well organised and were happy to let Manchester United keep the ball and hit them on the counter. Manchester United was unable to create a single clear-cut opportunity in the first-half. Wolves, on the other hand, had an opportunity to go in front. Raul Jimenez's header was brilliantly kept out by Sergio Romero.
The second half was reminiscent of the first. Manchester United kept the ball without any penetration while Wolves hit them on the counter. Sergio Romero made another crucial save when Diogo Jota came one-on-one against him.
Raul Jimenez gave Wolves the lead on the 70th-minute mark, thanks to some poor defending from the Manchester United player in the box. Manchester United pushed bodies forward in search of the equaliser but was still unable to penetrate through the stubborn Wolves defence.
Wolves doubled their lead just six minutes later when Diogo Jota capitalised on Luke Shaw's mistake with a brilliant finish. Victor Lindelof's red card was rescinded by the VAR. Marcus Rashford scored a goal in the last minute of injury time, but it was too late to grab a second.
Here are three things we learned from Manchester United's defeat against Wolves.
#1 It was Manchester United's poorest performance under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer so far
Manchester United suffered their third defeat under Ole's management. But it was the manner of defeat against Wolves which was more alarming for the fans. In the defeat against Arsenal at the weekend, Manchester United played some great football and was unlucky to be on the wrong side of the 2-0 scoreline.
But yesterday, it never looked Manchester United was going to score. They couldn't penetrate through the Wolves defense and were unable to create a single big opportunity to score until the 95th minute. They had just 2 shots on target throughout the game. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer himself described the performance as "one step backwards".
The performance rolled back the months to the Mourinho era and was reminiscent of those under the Portuguese tactician. Manchester United is fighting for top-4 and the Champions League and should avoid a repeat of a similar performance.
#2 Manchester United missed Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has been in terrific form for Manchester United lately, scoring 6 goals in his last 4 games. He missed the trip to Moniluex through an ankle injury and was missed badly. Manchester United lacked a physical presence in the opposition half, personnel who could trouble Willy Boly and Cody in the air.
Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot had no one to cross to when they were in crossing situations. Marcus Rashford, who played up top, doesn't offer the same physicality as Lukaku. The Belgian could have offered them something different than what they had on the pitch.