Manchester United ended up being humiliated by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon after conceding four goals during the encounter, which could have easily been more for Jose Mourinho’s men, or boys as they looked on the pitch. It took just 30 seconds for Pedro to find the first goal, which left me questioning whether these players are professional, or amateur. Chris Smalling showed that not only is he not a defender, he is not captain material either. Daley Blind is not a left-back, he may think he is, but against a side where his weaknesses ring true, that is far from the case.
Last season he played well in the centre of defence, and sometimes as a left-back, but against a rampant Chelsea side, Luke Shaw is certainly a far better option. United were flat for the entire match, making the team which has performed well at times, look like a mishmash of players who do not know each other, have never seen each other player and never will bond as a team. That may sound harsh, but there literally was nothing positive about the team which faced Chelsea on Sunday.
United manager Jose Mourinho spoke about his thoughts on the 4-0 defeat to his former club, saying:
“If you can delete the defensive mistakes from the game I would say it was a good performance. Class performance, good possession, using the ball well, creating chances, creating half chances, pushing the opposition to a defensive approach and I would say obviously a very, very, very unfair result. But we cannot delete the mistakes from the game and the first mistake happened after 30 seconds. Then we had a completely different game because Chelsea’s best quality is playing counter-attacking football, and especially in the second half when we were very close to making it 2-1, they punished us on the counter-attack. When we were close to 3-1, they punished us on the counter-attack again, and we were close to 4-1 with Zlatan and Marcos Rojo’s shots. Probably with a few more minutes they would score again. Everything went wrong from minute one. After that, everything was against us in the game.”
At the start of the second half, despite the score being 2-0 to Chelsea, United were still in the game and had everything to fight for. Mourinho said:
“I spoke with the players in a very honest way at half-time. I told them we had to try, because in the end, to lose 2-0 or 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0, in terms of points, it’s the same. It’s not the same in terms of feelings, but in terms of points it is the same. I was very honest with them and I told them that we have to try, and we are going to try, but we have a risk, because now this is what Chelsea wants. Chelsea wants to defend and then to go on the counter-attack. If we score, they are in trouble, but we have a risk, and then we had chances to score – we didn’t – they go there, they score and they kill the game.”
Chelsea defender David Luiz was booked for a high boot on Marouane Fellaini, something which maybe should have been a sending off. Mourinho spoke about the difference it may have made, saying:
“I know what you know. I know what everybody knows. Even when I was speaking to Sky, it was one of their questions, so we all know that. But in the end, it’s the result that stays, and when you lose 4-0, to come and speak about the referee, it looks like you are trying to get excuses. I just hope that the press does the job in terms of analysing that situation but it’s not for me to speak about.”
Manchester United’s supporters were really the only positive from the defeat, singing for 90 minutes, despite their beloved side being beaten 4-0. Some of the foreign fans could learn a thing or two about the word support, instead of calling for the manager to be sacked after every defeat. Mourinho, speaking about the fans, said:
“They kept going for 90 minutes in an unbelievable way. The millions of fans we have all around the world, they obviously have a very bad feeling. I feel so sorry for that. I have to apologise for that as the leader of this dressing room. The only thing I can say is that I am Manchester United 100 per cent. Not 99 per cent, and one per cent for Chelsea or any other club. I am 100 per cent for Manchester United. Because of that I feel deeply the situation. But there is only one answer, like I was telling the players, there is only one answer. Training tomorrow, and keep fighting.”
Mourinho also spoke about United’s next match, at Old Trafford against Manchester City in the EFL Cup, saying:
“I would prefer to play in the Premier League. It’s a bad feeling in the Premier League. With the combination of results the gap to the top is six points. We’ve had a very difficult period of matches. We lost points this week and even in the match when we played phenomenal against Stoke, we lost points then. Now we need to win matches. I’m not saying they are easy ones but we have Burnley, we have Swansea, West Ham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, matches that we need to win and the top four, the top five, they have to play between themselves like we did this week against Chelsea and Liverpool. They are going to lose points too so we are in the run but there is no way to hide because I think our faces speak by themselves. We are really, really sad but again this is not for kids, this is for men and tomorrow we have to be men and work for the next one.”
Juan Mata replaced Marouane Fellaini in the second half of the defeat to his former club, one of the players who can stand up and be counted for the performance he made since entering the pitch, was obviously disappointed about the result, which I am sure many of the players were, despite laughing and joking with their opposition, swapping shirts and generally trying to play down the situation, whilst still remaining on the pitch, which does seem to be a kick in the nuts to the supporters at the stadium, many who have worked hard to be able to follow their team, only to be treated in this way by the millionaire footballers, some who do not seem to care about the supporters at all. Mata responded at the end of the match by saying:
“It was a tough afternoon, a very painful result. Obviously, we were thinking about a different kind of game and it started badly with the first goal in the first minute. After that we tried to create, we tried to score goals, but I think when we were in our best moment we conceded the second goal. It was one of those difficult days but we have to keep going.
“That’s football and that’s the way it is. Today we feel bad, but we have a game in three days and if we win that game we will feel completely opposite. You have to be stable in your mind and keep working hard.”
Mata also spoke about the first 30 seconds of the game being changed after Pedro found the back of the net. He said:
“The game changed completely. It was a very, very early goal and it made the game very difficult for us from that moment, but we still had 89 minutes to try to score and we didn’t. It’s not the time to think about these kinds of mistakes.
“It’s time to think about keeping the team together, being strong in our mind and face the next game, which is a very important game in these conditions.”
When Chelsea doubled their lead, Mata felt that there was still something salvageable from the match. He said:
“I thought we were in our best moment [after the second goal], playing in their half and trying to create something. We felt that we could do something after half-time and we had chances to score a goal.
“We felt the same after the third goal, we were playing in their half and trying to create and then we conceded on the counter-attack.”
Mata followed Mourinho in praising the supporters for their display, despite their team being 4-0 down towards the end of the match with no reply coming. The Spanish international said:
“They kept going for 90 minutes. I say this every time I speak. They are incredible.
“We were losing 3-0, 4-0 and they were still supporting us. That’s something that we feel and obviously when we win and enjoy good moments it’s all for them because they deserve it.”
The defeat was not the only bad news of the day as Eric Bailly was replaced in the 52nd minute of the match with an injury, which turned out to be serious. Jose Mourinho confirmed that it was his knee, it could be a ligament problem and the player thought it was bad, which could spell problems in defence for the foreseeable future with Bailly the standout defender so far this season, despite arriving at the club in the summer and being described as a player for the future who will need to adapt, seemingly doing that almost instantly at the start of the season earning a few Man of the Match performances. Obviously, it is early days as to how long Bailly will be out of action, which could be some time. Mourinho said:
“He is injured and I am afraid he is badly injured. In his knee, in the ligament area. He feels it is really bad.”
I did not enjoy the match at all. Defeats are something you have to accept in football. There is no point crying about them. I have seen people call for the manager to be sacked, which is fickle and only seems to be said after a defeat, rather that all of the time, which shows this is a reaction from the defeat, in a ‘spoilt brat’ kind of way. These so-called supporters need to find a club that fits in with their ‘always win’ mentality if there is one out there. Then they will be satisfied all of the time. If you cannot support Manchester United when they lose, why should you be allowed to support them when they win. Supporting a club means they you support them whatever.
You don’t have the right to be selective in your support, but I guess that is the mentality of people today. Clueless individuals that do not understand much apart from winning. Winning does not always lead to success. It is not always the most desired action either. Football is a game that had both winners and losers. Losing is part of the game and if that is not something you accept, perhaps you should find a game where you can win all the time, which may placate your pathetic ego. Patience is needed, not overreaction. Manchester United lost. Accept the result, it will not change. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, hold your head high and get ready for the next game. Manchester United need your support, not your fickle attitude and failure to accept what is happening.