The response Jose Mourinho needed
Yet again, following similar defeats to Brighton and Spurs, United were undone by two quick fire goals.
Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto gave Newcastle a deserved 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes and Jose Mourinho’s side looked shell-shocked. Heads dropped, shoulders slumped and there were no obvious leaders stepping up during that wretched first-half.
‘Geordie boys, take the p***’ the away fans taunted. But United regrouped after the break following some stern words from Mourinho and Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez sparked a remarkable comeback. A response that will surely keep their manager in a job as the fans sung his name in the dying moments.
Bold tactical move pays off
The sight of Paul Pogba limbering up just in front of United’s defence at the start of the second-half left fans and reporter alike scratching their heads. Ultimately, the 25-year-old did not stay there for long but he was often his side’s deepest-lying midfielder, encouraged to break from deep.
Just as he hurt City in April’s Manchester derby, when United were also 2-0 down at the break, Pogba stepped up and spearheaded United’s comeback with a really mature performance.
A turning point for Alexis Sanchez
When Mourinho summoned Sanchez with 20 minutes or so to go, it was more out of hope than expectation. United were still 2-0 down and the club’s highest earner’s confidence was at an all-time low after a series of poor displays.
The way Sanchez started his cameo from the bench, you feared this was going to be another poor performance for the showreel. Passes were over hit, he struggled to beat his man and he just did not look capable of pulling out a rabbit out of the hat.
But, with just a few minutes left, he stepped up with a priceless winner to send Old Trafford wild.
United fans send Ed Woodward a message
On the eve of this game, Gary Neville warned that United fans would ‘absolutely turn towards that boardroom’ and he was quickly proved right. Soon after United went behind, the J-Stand piped up with: ‘Jose’s right, the board are s****.’
Neville felt there has been ‘something wrong to the core’ of the decisions made at the very top at United in the last four or five years and while the club, commercially, have made huge strides, there remain real issues.
Mourinho does it his way
Mourinho would never imagined having to turn to his bench after just 18 minutes but with his side already behind, he summoned Mata for some creative inspiration.
The man to make way? Eric Bailly, starting his first league game since Brighton. Mourinho gave him a big hug as the centre-back trotted off but his decision to push Scott McTominay into defence hardly eased United’s defensive concerns.
Tellingly, McTominay made way at the break for another 6ft 4in favourite, Marouane Fellaini. Mourinho’s rivals may all be turning to more mobile players who play a high-pressing game, but he is standing by his team of giants.
Source: Manchester Evening News