Ratings: Desire lacking across this Manchester United team; lots to look at for each player, changes needed…

Manchester United had the chance to overcome the obscurity against Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, only able to get a draw in a game which was lacking desire, largely from the United players. The team, if you can call it that, seemed to be on its knees and shouting for a change, no matter what that might be. The chance to end the speculation and spin some positivity was long gone against the Spanish side.

These seems to be a lot of discontent at the club right now. From the players, to the manager, right through to the supporters. If it could be called right now, there would be a big change coming, a change that will not necessarily be the right one and would set the club back by a number of years. However, it is not for me to say how things can be changed. I have no control here, just a suggestion.

The media will be happy as their endless stream of stories has been given more ammunition for the remainder of the week, which will see the discontent spread with many so-called supporters believing everything which seems to be written about the club, no matter how each story contradicts another. This will play out for the remainder of the week with United at home to Newcastle United on Saturday evening, which could be another barren match.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one had little to contend with throughout the game. There were fears that he would not be playing tonight as he was not seen heading into the Lowry on Monday evening, which was obviously more of nothing than anything. His distribution was not the best but that is the least of the worries right now.


25 Antonio Valencia

Washed up? Plenty of energy, nothing to give? The captain? These are things that suggest that Valencia has had his day. Bring in Diogo Dalot, now!


Chris Smalling

Plenty has been said about Smalling over the years. The one thing that sticks is that he's not good enough for Manchester United. He's put in performances from time to time but consistency is key. Is able to deal with aerial challenges but lacks what is needed at the back. Some think he's better than the players Mourinho wanted this summer. Hmmmm


3 Eric Bailly

Rusty? Lacking desire? Gave a little too much space to the visitors. Could have received a nasty unjust in the first half, which could have seen him on the sidelines again. Improved in the second half, slightly. Still not good enough for a club of this calibre though.


23 Luke Shaw

Has the attitude his peers do not have. Got involved in the game and looked like he wanted to get stuck in and help turn things around. However, some could not have the same said about them. Shaw has worked hard to win the trust of Mourinho.


27 Marouane Fellaini

Physical presence. That is all the Belgian offers. His footballing presence is not the best but he's a threat in the box. United lacked pace in midfield with Fellaini but I guess it had to be that way.


31 Nemanja Matic

Slow. Sluggish on the ball. Too many inaccurate passes. This season the Serbian could find himself having to up his game drastically.


6 Paul Pogba

World Cup winner. Was it a fluke? This guy has no desire, determination and lacked the simple ability to play football tonight. A player seems to be showing his bosses that he wants to move on to pastures new. Would it really be a shame?


10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed the most likely player to create something for United. His set-pieces were not the best. Had intent going forward, which cannot be said for some or most of his teammates. Not his fault.


Romelu Lukaku

Poor first touch. Unable to be the striker. Needs to be min the box, not playing deep. He's not Wayne Rooney. Lacked movement needed for a top striker. Disconnected from his teammates. Not sure how he can improve as much as he needs to. £75 million looks like a lot of money for him this season.


Alexis Sanchez

Missing from the start of the game. Seems dejected. Not a winger. Seems like a player that has just met his teammates, not trained with them for eight months. Not sure how this changes. That can be said for the entire squad as they are stuck in a rut they don't seem to want to get out of.



9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Sanchez 77'. Seemed to lack anything or note after replacing the Chilean, who has workmate with little output.


Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay

Bookings: Romelu Lukaku 86′

Report: A frustrating evening at Old Trafford with a team lacking desire, leadership and determination

Manchester United had the chance to overcome the obscurity against Valencia at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, only able to get a draw in a game which was lacking desire, largely from the United players. The team, if you can call it that, seemed to be on its knees and shouting for a change, no matter what that might be. The chance to end the speculation and spin some positivity was long gone against the Spanish side.

Jose Mourinho showed his passion in his programme notes ahead of the match, stating that the crest on the front of the shirt is more important than the name on the back of it, which is correct. Also suggesting that his team needed to work much harder during their matches. The media had suggestions that there were 34 blocks of tickets still to be sold for the match, which was not quite true with Old Trafford full of passionate supporters ahead of kick off, despite a slight delay to the game because of traffic.

United started the game in fine fettle, seeking an early goal. Marcus Rashford seemed the most likely to score in the opening stages, playing well and getting himself into the advanced areas of the final third at the Theatre of Dreams. Paul Pogba nearly created something for his side in the ninth minute of the match, touching the ball slightly to get it to Romelu Lukaku, who was flagged offside, which might have been the wrong call by the linesman.

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Rashford had a great chance to open up the scoring in the 15th minute of the match after a sublime run, on the ball. However, his shot was narrowly wide of the target with Valencia seemingly getting away with it. United were still trying to settle in the game at the half way stage of the first half, with the tempo of the game dropping, slightly. Valencia were doing well to keep United on their toes at times with commentary on BT Sport suggesting there were much better than they actually were.

United had lost intensity in the game and everything was being down slowly, seemingly at walking pace. There are positives to be seen though, especially from the last three matches, which all ended unfavourably for United. However, there was still bags of room to grow and improve, which is all we want to see this season. With the matches coming up for United, getting into some sort of form in majorly important.

United had a chance to gain something from the first half after Pogba won a free-kick after being fouled by Michy Batshuayi. Alexis Sanchez took the free-kick, which was dealt with by the Valencia wall, headed away comfortably, which is something United failed to capitalise from, at this stage in the game. There was a stoppage with ten minutes of the first half to go after Eric Bailly seemed to be elbowed in the throat, going down looking in trouble. Victor Lindelof was then warming up on the sidelines.

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Bailly was able to continue but gave away a foul minutes later after taking Batshuayi out with United on the advance in Valencia’s half. After some end to end football in the final few minutes of the first half, Bailly won a free-kick, in his own half, after Batshuayi fouled him on the edge of United’s box. United, from the free-kick, rushed forward and aimed to score before half-time. The ball was put out of play and Pogba through his side should have earned a penalty, which would have been the wrong decision.

There were three minutes of added time at the end of the first half. United seemed to pick up the pace looking for something to have the edge on the Spanish side during the break. However, that was not something that was going to happen. There will probably be some words said in the dressing room during the break with Mourinho looking to see something from his side in the second half, something to earn a much-needed victory which would help turn the tables on the disaster with was last week for United.

The second half started with no changes for either team. It was more of the same from United though. Lacklustre football, boring in fact, nothing being strung together and another show that United’s team was nothing of such, just a conglomeration of players who may have big names but do not possess any sort of desire to win for the club that pays their wages or the supporters that help bring the money into the club to pay the said wages.

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United won a corner in the 53rd minute of the match. Rashford took the said corner, which headed straight into the arms of Neto, Valencia’s goalkeeper. The likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, and Nicky Butt were all at Old Trafford to witness this match, none of them looking thrilled to see the way this team is playing, or at least trying to. It does not seem like this club has any professional players on the books right now.

United won another corner in the 58th minute of the match, Rashford stepped up to take it again which was put behind for another corner, thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia. The second corner came to nothing, just like all the others. United won a free-kick in Valencia’s half, Pogba stepping up to take it with Sanchez rushing into the box. The shot, seemingly directly towards the goalkeeper. United has a succession of chances to get something on target, ending with nothing other than a Valencia free-kick.

United had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the 71st minute after Lukaku was set free but his shot, which was from some distance, at an angle, was on target but not a threat to Neto. Mourinho made his first change in the 77th minute, bringing on Anthony Martial for Sanchez, which was a much-needed change with Sanchez offering very little, seemingly looking like a mistake the club should have let City take the risk on.

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United won another free-kick in a dangerous area, the third in this game. Lukaku took the set-piece, which was dealt with by the Valencia wall with United seemingly back to the drawing board to try and win this game, which was looking increasingly unlikely at this stage. Martial was fouled on the edge of the box in the 85th minute of the game. The supporters wanted a penalty, a free-kick was given. Was this the time for United to get the goal they needed, no matter how scruffy?

Rashford took the set-piece and slightly grazed the crossbar from his great technique. United won a corner, which was taken by Luke Shaw, connecting with Lukaku in the box, who headed towards goal, which was straight over the crossbar, not threatening Neto. Three minutes of added time were to be played at the end of the second half, with enough time for either team to grasp a victory in what has been a lifeless match, from both teams.

Marouane Fellaini reacted well in the box from a free-kick, unable to find the back of the net, but winning another corner. It was enough to add some pressure at the end of the match but not enough to find something to win the game for United. The game ended with a draw, a lacklustre draw at that. There were boos from the crowd, which suggested the Old Trafford faithful were not too happy with what they had endured. This one will surely play out for another few days before Newcastle United rock up in town on Saturday.

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Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez (Martial 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay

Bookings: Romelu Lukaku 86′

Confirmed Starting XI: David De Gea starts for Manchester United; journalists putting two and two together, again!

Manchester United face a must win clash with Spanish side Valencia in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford this evening. It has been a turbulent start to the season for United, who are winless in their last three matches, played after their last victory which was in the Champions League in Switzerland when United beat Young Boys 3-0. Jose Mourinho will be seeking a way to get the best from his team, something that the players have not been giving for some time now.

The lack of anything happening has seen Mourinho linked with another sacking, albeit by the media and the so-called United supporters who always seem to think they know so much more, always looking to another saviour of the club, which this time seems to be Zinedine Zidane, who is linked with a directorial role at former club Juventus at this moment in time. It does not look good for Mourinho though as players have seemingly given up, which says a lot more about the group of players than it does the manager.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Shaw;

Fellaini, Matic, Pogba;

Rashford, Lukaku, Sanchez


Romero; Darmian, Lindelof; Fred, Mata, McTominay; Martial

United have a history against Valencia. Eight competitive matches have been played in the history of both clubs, all in UEFA competitions. United have won twice, drawn five times, losing one fixture. It has been about ten years since the last fixture against the Spanish side, who like United, have not had a very positive start to the new season. Both teams will be seeking to find something in this match – United continuing their unbeaten start in the Champions League, Valencia searching for their first win in the competition.

Preview: Manchester United v Valencia – UEFA Champions League 2018/19

Manchester United v Valencia

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 2 October 2018; KO 20:00 BST

Manchester United embark on what will be seen as a big fixture against Valencia in the UEFA Champions League at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening. United have played once in the elite European competition so far this season, beating Young Boys 3-0. Having both Valencia and Juventus in the group means that United will have four fixtures against big European teams, either all or some they will have to win and avoid defeat in others.

Right now though, after a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, a 2-2 draw which turned into an 8-7 penalty defeat to Derby County in the Carabao Cup, which was followed by a 3-1 defeat against West Ham United in the Premier League, means that United manager Jose Mourinho and his team need to find a way out of the current rut. This maybe something that continues throughout the season, or ends with little notice given.

Pre-Match Thoughts: Everything might seem barren now but it could all change at the drop of a hat…

Personally, I have not been impressed by the club this season. The failure to back the manager in the summer, who wanted an experienced central defender and an attacking player, who would play on the right-wing, a position that has been lacked reinforcement since the David Moyes season. With Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, stating that the players the manager wanted were no better than the club already had, meant the same as Sir Alex Ferguson’s “no value in the market” comments, to me.

If a club is not going to back a manager, which months before signed a new contract extension, that means the manager’s thought are not valued at the club by any of the hierarchy, most of whom have no knowledge of football, but plenty from a commercial aspect. To me, that states another of the problems the club is facing right now. It has been more than five years since Ferguson retired and Manchester United’s identity has disappeared.

The players seem to not be playing for the manager. They also do not appear to be playing for themselves, their teammates, the supporters, of which they would not have a career if they were not there, or the substantial wages they earn on a weekly basis. These player are multi-millionaires, they can never be questioned, often seem to be supported by their own fans and can’t seem to put a foot wrong. You would think it was the manager on the pitch as he is the one that is always blamed.

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The thing is, that if these players are not playing for the manager, seemingly trying to orchestrate a sacking, it will show the lack of professionalism that footballers have since the money started to pour in for them. The wages are staggering. No person on this planet if worth that amount of money each week. If workers in a warehouse, or anywhere else, downed tools for their manager, the sack would soon follow, which, in turn, would make it much harder to get a job. In football, it seems easy to move on after the sack.

Some players lack respect. Whether it be for their manager, their teammates, the fans, the club or a combination of all of those, it is wrong. We all have to do things in life that we do not want to do. It helps define what we become. Imagine if you were so set in your ways and acted so spoilt and downed tools when you did not want to do something, if everyone was doing it everywhere, it would be frustrating, wouldn’t it? It’s happening in football now. No player is bigger than the club and they should back their manager.

The hierarchy of the club makes the decisions, not the players. If you succumb to player power once, you lose your identity. If you keep succumbing to player power, that lost identity is not something that you will ever find again. Players are there to play, not control who tells them what to do. Player power in football is on the rise. It needs to be quelled sooner rather than later. The damage to come from all this will affect the players when the financial bubble within football bursts. Then who will be to blame?

Team News: Four players will miss the Valencia clash at Old Trafford…

Mourinho has confirmed that for players will be missing from the squad as his side prepare to face Valencia on Tuesday evening. Ashley Young was injured in the defeat to West Ham on Saturday with Marcos Rojo, Jesse Lingard and now Ander Herrera all being on the sidelines. Young captained United on Saturday, playing in the right-back role. This will mean that either Antonio Valencia or Diogo Dalot will replace Young in the side, the latter being more preferable.

Alexis Sanchez played no part in the defeat at the London Stadium, which could see a rested Chilean face the Spanish side at Old Trafford. It would be good to see a new formation, one which favours attacking football which incorporates to up front, which could see the best out of both strikers. Something needs to give or we are going to see a lot of frustration from the manager, the players, the coaching staff and the supporters this season.

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Predicted Starting XI: A change of formation to bring a new attacking mentality to the club. Taking risks is what needs to happen…

Mourinho is a pragmatic coach. He prefers to play it safe and defend, rather than go all out attack in matches. In the past it has been much different for him but he had teams which he could trust, at least defensively. Right now, I would not risk anything with the defence United have. So far this season, they have leaked 14 goals in nine matches, which is poor compared to last season. In the Premier League, United have leaked 12 goals. Last season, in 38 matches, they leaked a total of 28 goals.

Romelu Lukaku seems to be maligned right now and needs something to turn his disappointing season around. United need creativity and players who can find the back of the net. Playing with two strikers might change the luck with both Lukaku and Marcus Rashford leading the line with Alexis Sanchez behind them. It will either work or it will not. To try will see whether this team is capable of these changes. Supporters moan about the number of tactical changes this season, but if something is not working, what do you do?

Match Prediction: Manchester United and Valencia both needing a win at this moment in time to overturn a poor start to the season…

Manchester United need a victory more than ever right now. Technically, they have only lost one match in the last six. The defeat to Derby was on penalties and will be seen as a draw inside 90 minutes. That does not mean it is alright. The form of the team may not be great, but the results they have attained after losing back-to-back matches against Brighton and Hove Albion (3-2) and Tottenham Hotspur (3-0) have largely been positive.

United have beaten Burnley (2-0), Watford (2-1), Young Boys (3-0), drawing against Wolverhampton Wanderers (1-1). After the Derby defeat on penalties, United were humiliated by West Ham in a 3-1 defeat last weekend. It would seem that in the past three matches, United’s players were just not trying. If they were, it brings a far more worrying scenario to the club.

Valencia have had a much poorer start to their season, winning their first game at the weekend, beating Real Sociedad 1-0 away from home. They have endured five draws, one defeat and one victory in their seven opening matches of the La Liga season, also being beaten 2-0 by Juventus in their opening Champions League match. To say both teams will meet in similar scenarios may not be right, but both need to get a result in that match in order to turn the tides of their respective poor seasons so far.

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Manchester United 2-1 Valencia

copyright: JW