Manchester United’s four-match winning run came to a crashing end as they suffered a disappointing 0-1 defeat in their Europa League opener against Real Sociedad at home.
Ahead of the game, an impeccable minute’s silence was held prior to the game in a poignant tribute to Her Majesty the Queen.
VAR has been the cause of many a controversy in the Premier League and now a similar situation was seen in the game at Old Trafford as the visitors got a penalty decision in their favour despite it being blatantly wrong.
But that cannot be an excuse for the Red Devils to not manage a single goal. In fact, they did not even make the opposition keeper work for the clean sheet.
Boos from many #mufc fans. The penalty call was ridiculous but shouldn’t mask a poor, disjointed performance from United. Some strange calls by Ten Hag: Fred as a 10 and Eriksen off at HT as baffling as VAR upholding the penalty decision.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 8, 2022
However, the drop-off in quality from the weekend was noticeable with the changed personnel too slow to react to second balls and generally lacking that sharpness and bite.
One of the most disappointing performances came from Fred. The midfielder was entrusted with the No 10 role in the first half but was shambolic with the ball.
It did not improve in the second half either and he will have no complaints when he takes his place on the bench for the Crystal Palace game.
Casemiro was bought for big money but on Thursday, he looked off the pace and his passing was far from accurate. No wonder Ten Hag has favoured Scott McTominay so far.
Ronaldo, who had wanted to leave to join a Champions League club, looked a shadow of the player who holds the record for the most goals in the elite European competition.
He had the ball in the back of the net in the first half, only to see it get chalked off for offside.
The game will only further strengthen Ten Hag’s resolve to keep playing the same team in the league. What will be worrying for the manager is how far off the pace the team he picked looked for 90 minutes despite the obvious gulf in quality.
Sociedad wanted the win more and now United cannot afford further hiccups if they are to progress further in the competition.
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