Preview: Attack, attack, attack. Manchester United need to find the confidence to score goals again…

Manchester United -v- Young Boys

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 27 November 2018; KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Felix Brych

Manchester United return to UEFA Champions League action following their boring 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday. United currently sit in second place in their group, needing a win to remain in with a chance of a place in the round of 16 of the competition. Valencia will face Juventus, so a defeat for the Spanish team will give United hope of avoiding the UEFA Europa League this season.

Jose Mourinho and his side are in the firing line again as the way United have performed this season is just not good enough, especially when you factor in the amount this team is paid each week. When you compare this team to Manchester United Women, who have only been together as a team since the summer, you see the problems that Mourinho and his side face as this team is anything but United. The women fit the profile of a Manchester United team, their male counterparts do not.

Crystal Palace is a team that United should have been all over and scoring goals for fun. That was once what happened and with the London side not taking a point in the Premier League in Manchester for more than two decades, that also helps you register just how far Manchester United have fallen nearly six years after Sir Alex Ferguson retired. I am unsure if Mourinho and his team can turn this around. There are so many players who are incapable at the club and there seems to be no way of getting rid of them.

Pre-Match Thoughts: Anything less than a competent victory over Young Boys will be a bad result for Manchester United

Teamwork. This is what every team needs. Manchester United have none right now. There is no desire, not determination, no hunger and no reason for them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. These players are multi-millionaires, they won’t get docked any wages, they are able to do what they want and some have already out-stayed a number of different managers already with little or no repercussion.

When a team is not motivated to work as a team, there is no team. Manchester United have spectacularly fallen from grace in nearly six years. Gone are the days when success meant everything. Right now, success, which United have experienced minimally in six years, has been seen as an ego boost for players and the hierarchy of the club, who have seemingly used that success to bring in sponsors. The money train must keep rolling.

If these players cared about anything to do with Manchester United, even if they had lost faith in the manager, fighting for the fans would be something that should be done, rather than put in lame performance after lame performance. These players do not respect the supporters as a whole as they are serving up the same rubbish game after game. How this United team managed three wins on the bounce a few weeks back is something that cannot be explained.

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Team News: Victor Lindelof rocked by injury which may keep him out for some time, which is a massive shame

It would appear that Victor Lindelof is out of this match after seemingly suffering from a hamstring injury in the dying minutes of the 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Swedish international stayed on the pitch and tried to continue, dispossessing a Palace player whilst holding his leg just before the whistle blew. This was admirable from the player who has seen his stock rise in recent weeks after some good performances. Jose Mourinho, when asked if Lindelof was injured, said:

“I believe so. I have to believe so. I always say that this is the period of the injuries. When they are not injured in the national team, they come to the clubs and they are injured in the clubs and he played against Russia three days ago or two days ago and, of course, we need him and he played and he was probably the best player of the team. He was a brave guy, probably punishing himself, who knows, for how long he will be out, but a fantastic example.”

Eric Bailly will have an opportunity to get back into the team against Young Boys, as confirmed by the manager, which will be good for the Ivorian who has seldom played this season. Whether he partners Chris Smalling or one of Marcos Rojo or Phil Jones remains to be seen. Rotation is key heading into this busy period, especially with a player of Lindelof’s calibre on the sidelines. No other players are currently on the sidelines with Diogo Dalot recovering from his latest injury during the international break.

Predicted Starting XI: Saturday’s result shows that changes in this squad are needed for results to be gained in this season of abject failure

Manchester United cannot rely on Romelu Lukaku’s goal drought to end anytime soon. The Belgian just has not got what it takes to get in the right frame of mind and get firing again. For a £75 million initial outlay, not scoring a goal in 923 minutes is something of a worry right now but the least of them for Mourinho and his team. The system United use is not working. The football is dire, there is little attacking which achieves anything and goals are a rare opportunity.

The midfield is slow and uncreative. Whilst more attacking players than defensive players faced Palace, it did very little. The midfield needs to be full of players who are able to express themselves, use their pace and mind to their advantage and get United firing again. It seems to be the same old story for United right now. We have seen this under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho. Playing two forwards in a central position would be helpful for this team. An attacking outlet and going all out attack will benefit.

Match Prediction: A win for Manchester United is expected but that is the least of their problems right now

I predicted that United would beat Palace by four goals on Saturday. I let my heart overrule my head. United beat the Swiss side 3-0 earlier in the season, but that was a long time ago. My head rules now and I think United will win but I would be surprised with more than one goal right now. United created nothing much against Palace and after them not winning in six matches and shipping ten goals, I would have expected more.

The Young Boys seemingly out of the competition and with an uphill take to reach the Europa League, it would seem they have nothing other than pride to play for, which is something that United could learn from. There is no pride, passion, determination or leadership from United right now, at least in this team. The women’s team are showing them up massively and that must be something of an embarrassment when you factor how long the women have been together as a team.

Manchester United 1-0 Young Boys

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copyright: JW

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