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What We Learned: Feyenoord 1-0 Manchester United – UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Oh wow, that was really quite something, wasn’t it? I think an utter waste of everyone’s time just about sums it all up really, and although it is only the Europa League you can’t really gloss over a poor performance like that with excuses about the competition. That in mind here is what we learned this evening.

The French just won’t perform

Perhaps it’s unfair to include Morgan Schneiderlin in this criticism – it’s his first 90 minutes of the season and he was reliable if ineffective – it’s the rest of the contingency that is really letting the side down big time. Paul Pogba has been an abject disappointment since his debut and bar the odd flash here and there during the matches he has offered absolutely nothing whatsoever towards the cause. It’s hard to defend the price paid for him when he is performing so poorly, tonight was certainly an improvement on Sunday and you know that things can only get better, but thus far he has been down right pants. Anthony Martial is the other Frenchman who is guilty of drastically underperforming. Something is seriously amiss with last season’s star man, and it’s becoming more and more worrying by the game. Hopefully, he will shine again, and that time cannot come quickly enough.

Ander Herrera has to start

On a night where you are hard pushed to find positives the Spaniard was certainly one to provide something to be happy about. Although it ended in defeat and not a great deal created, Herrera was dynamic in the middle of the park and his pace caused the Dutch League leaders plenty of issues when he got into the correct positions. It’s food for thought for Mourinho who now needs to seriously analyse the options in the midfield and the best approach to get the optimum out of the players he picks. Herrera is, for me, a must start alongside Pogba and possibly Schneiderlin. But we will have to wait and see.

Bailly and Smalling will do nicely

The partnership of Blind and Bailly came unstuck against City at the weekend, and where Daley Blind has been brilliant in the back four up until Saturday’s defeat it is perhaps time Chris Smalling recaptured his place amongst the starters. It’ll free Blind up for the middle, where he could very well retain his mantle of being the integral cog within the Manchester United side. In spite of being on the wrong end of the scoreline, Bailly and Smalling looked good together and it is certainly a bruising partnership that should be used going forward.

Conclusion

It was really, really bad tonight. Marcus Rashford failed to do much of note all evening, left isolated at the top end of the park and starved of service. It just never looked like being United’s night, and that is exactly what happened. But however, poor things were on the pitch it doesn’t detract away from the fact the Europa League is nothing but an inconvenience and a result of a woeful last season. This isn’t one that I will be mourning that’s for sure. Onwards to Watford, and the business we all care about. Anything less than a win, mind, and the pressure may start to mount on Mourinho and his men.

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