Clubber Lang Drops United

United
FC Basel 1-0 Manchester United

Where do you start? United dominated the first half but as usual failed to take their chances. Lukaku should have had at least two. Fellaini and Martial should have ended up on the scoresheet and Rojo was unlucky with an effort from range. But that was all in the first half, United never came out of the dressing room after the break.

Basel came back out fired up and started to put pressure on United. They more than deserved their goal which came in the 89th minute after another example of shocking defending. United had a half chance after that but the game was gone.

Jose

Ed Woodward has reportedly told Mourinho that he must sell if he wants to buy in January. I don’t see a problem there. We desperately need defenders in all 4 positions, tonight highlights that once again. I have droned on and on about our awful centre backs (save for Bailly on his day) but we are just as weak in the full back ranks. Darmian and Blind are awful. They need the bin. There’s two sales in January, Mr Mourinho, and don’t stop there.

The substitutions were baffling tonight. It reminded me of the dark days of Louis Van Gaal. On 66 minutes Pogba was taken off for Matic. With Basel starting to come into the game this was a red rag to a bull. He took off the only United player creating chances and controlling the game. A classic case modern manager nonsense. This gave Basel less to worry about at the back and allowed them to push up. Zlatan coming on to replace Martial on the wing when it was still 0-0…I don’t have an explanation for that one. I hate to be that guy but a draw means we were guaranteed to win the group. We could have rested the entire team in the final group game.

Jose needs to see that we do not have the players to sit back and defend for long periods. We don’t have the tools for the job back there, we just have tools.

Blind Defending

It’s in the name really. Blind was asleep when he let Michael Lang in behind him to tap home the late winner. At that stage of the game, after dealing with the pressure for that long something as schoolboy as this is very frustrating. Rio Ferdinand described it as “unprofessional” on TV. I couldn’t agree more.

Blind is far from the only one to blame here. Both Darmian and Smalling failed to block the low cross despite Darmian getting across to get in a good position. If I am being hyper critical Smalling should be defending the area the ball was heading to and not ball watching but it’s Chris Smalling lads, he’s a lost cause. It was a team effort at the back to throw this one away.

Lukaku

Grumble Grumble Grumble. He will eventually need to take his chances. Lukaku should have had his first after 11 minutes when Pogba played him in for a 1-on-1. I refuse to write him off but come on Rom, this is getting ridiculous now. He needs a kick. This is not Everton, you need to finish chances.

Going Forward

United have Brighton at home on Saturday, this should give Mourinho a chance to drop a few players that did not turn up tonight and send a message. Lukaku is one of his “untouchables” but I would start Zlatan and drop him. It might just be the kick in the backside he needs. He would be far from alone in that regard.

If we cannot beat Brighton with this expensively assembled squad I will start an hourly countdown to January 1st. Woodward is right, we do need to sell before we buy and I don’t even mean that in the financial sense.

Steven Murphy
2Bit Sports Co-Founder. Junior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Creative, Live Events but also Third floor Janitor. Gaming Editor, Manchester United loudmouth. Whatever I am actually employed to do I probably did it earlier. It's on your desk, I'd say. Its safe to say that I call 'em as I see 'em. Be warned, I hate a lot of things. It's easier to count the things that I do like. I probably hate you.

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