Undefeated in the group, needing to avoid defeat just one more time and we lose to Basel and crash out of the Champions League.
Prior to the game Basel accused United of underestimating them last time round, there will be no claims of that here as United tried to take the game to their hosts but just couldn’t find a way past them.
There will be questions over David De Gea again after his mistake lead to their opener. Opting to clear the ball with his feet rather than claiming it with his hands, Streller had no qualms with tucking in the weak clearance.
De Gea has been solid since his shaky start but these little blips do happen. At 21, in his first season though they aren’t of massive concern in the grand scheme of things.
Again our inability to convert chances will haunt us as we did have chances to get out of jail, but seemed incapable of taking them. This will be something to address ASAP.
Chris Smalling will be disappointed with his error for the second goal but he has been brilliant in recent games so it shouldn’t be dwelled on.
Anyway here are some major talking points from our loss to Basel:
To compound the loss, Vidic’s injury will make what is a dark night even more dreary.
With the full weight of Streller coming down on his knee, there is the danger that Vidic may have done some serious damage to the ligaments in his knee.
The bedrock of our defence this season, if he is out it could spell disaster for our domestic campaign too. Mistake tonight apart, Smalling has been brilliant at the back and Rio has looked more assured in recent games but Vidic is the main man and we struggle in his absence.
Europa League- How do we approach it?
The Europa League is largely seen as a hindrance by Europe’s big boys and Sir Alex himself stated ‘It is our penalty for failing to qualify tonight’. But can it serve a purpose?
It remains a competition that Sir Alex hasn’t captured with us so there is reason for United to pursue it… who am I kidding? I said it before and I’ll say it again; field a team of fringe players and youngsters and lets be shot of it. We have bigger fish to fry in terms of the league and this will simply act as an unwanted distraction.
Rooney really is off form in front of goal
We touched on it before post Villa and it has reared its head again, Rooney’s performance in front of goal was blunt to put it mildly. Try though he may, he seems to be incapable of putting the ball into the net.
The effort where he appeared to miss judge the ball’s flight and scuffed it to Park will be one that he won’t want to see again, especially as it came in such an important game. It seems to sum up Rooney at the moment too, all effort but no reward. He had some long range chances, as well as thankfully being ruled offside after skying a header from a Smalling cross but all to no avail.
We love Rooney for the fact that he strives to be involved at all times and influence the game but the most influential thing he can do now is put the ball in the back of the net.
Lets hope he starts doing that again soon!
Young remains ineffective
Since returning from injury (perhaps prior too), Ashley Young hasn’t looked the same player as they did early in the season.
Young remains a constant threat when he is on the pitch but he hasn’t done anything of note lately and perhaps this coincides with Rooney’s misfortunes infront of goal.
He seems predictable in that he insists on cutting inside when he has the pace and ability to go outside and put the ball in.
It had been levelled at him that whilst at Villa he mixed sublime performances in with numbers of mediocre ones, he’s had a few mediocre ones so can we get a good one now please?
Keane and Sir Alex Clash
Some feel Roy Keane was a bit harsh tonight in his analysis.
He stated that some of the youngsters need to buck up their ideas, singling out Jones specifically for stating he was relaxed coming into the game.
After tonight’s performance ALL of the players should look at themselves.
Sir Alex wasn’t too pleased with his comments though and retorted,
“Well, he’s had opportunities to prove himself as a manager too”
Sir Alex as always protecting his players but he will have taken mant of Keane’s comments onboard especially his worry that at 37 Giggs was one of, if not our best performers.
With the Champions League gone United must strive to close the gap on Man City, who also crashed out of the competition. We have been here before and hopefully this will be a learning curve for some of the younger players and act as the impetus to drive forward and put things right for all.