Wolves 2-1 Manchester United: 3 reasons why United lost to Wolves | FA Cup 2018-19
The Red Devils dominated possession in the early exchanges but failed to make any inroads. The hosts slowly grew into the game with their counter-attacking threat proving a tough proposition to tackle for the away side. However, the first half lacked goal-mouth action as both sides were content to spar with each other.
In the second period, Wolves sprang to life and induced a couple of smart saves from Sergio Romero. Nuno Espirito Santo’s men constantly kept knocking at Manchester United’s door and eventually broke through in the 70th minute when Raul Jimenez’s shot on the turn beat Romero. Six minutes later, the hosts doubled their lead, courtesy a superb solo goal by Diogo Jota.
The Red Devils tried to conjure a comeback yet their attacking play left a lot to be desired. The visitors did pull a goal back in stoppage time through Marcus Rashford but the horse had already been bolted.
Here is a look at three factors that contributed to Manchester United’s loss:
#3 Manchester United get completely dominated in midfield
Manchester United named a strong starting eleven for the game against Wolves with their first-choice midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic starting. However, the triumvirate failed to impose itself on the game as the hosts’ midfield stood up to be counted.
Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves were impressive in the middle third and ran rings around the visitors’ midfield. The former in particular pulled the strings and barely allowed the likes of Pogba and Matic to control the game.
The Frenchman endured a sub-standard game with his passing going astray at times. Though he made surging runs towards the end of the game, his overall game-play wasn’t quite up to the mark.
Herrera, on the other hand, lacked his usual drive and determination. Thus, he was consigned to playing the ball backward and sideways rather than forward.
Since Solskjaer took over the reins, Manchester United’s midfield has enjoyed a renaissance. However, on Saturday evening, they failed to contain a Wolves midfield brimming with talent.
And inevitably, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 score-line.