Manchester United have been left with an almighty point to prove after suffering defeat on three occasions over the past week. Manchester City, Feyenoord, and Watford have all enjoyed victories against the Red Devils and Jose Mourinho feels that these losses simply come down to three factors. United’s loss at Vicarage Road meant it is the first time since 2006 that Mourinho has lost three competitive fixtures in a row, however, he feels that the defeats are not solely his fault and will not take the whole blame for it.
“I can split these defeats into three factors – one, the referee’s crucial mistakes are not in my control, there is nothing I can do about that. But against Man City, you know what happened in minute 55 (City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo’s challenge on Wayne Rooney). You know that happened for the first goal here (foul on Anthony Martial) and against Feyenoord, there was the offside goal.
“Secondly there is being lucky and unlucky. It’s part of the game. The third thing is what is my hands, which is the improvement of the team and the individuals. Try to stop with the defensive mistakes. I knew that I had a task. So we have to improve, no doubt, individually and collectively. And that’s my job. Lady luck you don’t control and referees mistakes you don’t control.”
The defensive errors are there for everybody to see, if you look back at the goals the club conceded over the past week then it is extremely noticeable that the goal United gave away at Feyenoord and the first two Watford fired home on Sunday afternoon are fairly similar – all cut backs to the edge of the box, from the left-hand side. Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw were the respected left-backs on those occasions, so they must share some of the blame, albeit not all, because what is remarkably concerning is the fact defensively United are seemingly struggling to pick up all the attackers and are consequently leaving a man free in the area or on the edge, which has led to three goals in total in the past week, four if you want to add Kelechi Iheanacho’s in the mix, albeit it was a different scenario, as he got on the end of a shot that rebounded off the post, which can simply be down to bad luck, although the point still stands – he was not picked up.
This would suggest the players are not clear on who they should be tracking and marking at times, this could be considered a coaching error. However, it also proves that a lot of the men wearing a United jersey are seemingly being caught ball watching at times with little awareness as to what is going on around them and that is a lack of concentration. Which is costly at any level of the game.
A football season is a long one, with many ups and downs. Decisions are going to go against you on many occasions, you are not always going to get the rub of the green – however, if you are a side who wants to challenge for trophies, you must counter-act that, it is vital Mourinho and co start to gain more of a character and show more about them. Which will hopefully lead to the club winning fixtures despite luck and refereeing decisions not being on their side. Furthermore, as a result of that, it may see the side pick-up points where they are not particularly on top.