Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Bruno Lage epitomised how Manchester United have lost their fear factor with his post-match comments.
Wolves created several chances and were rewarded when Joao Moutinho fired home an 82nd-minute volley to earn the club their first win at Old Trafford since 1980 and condemn Ralf Rangnick to his first defeat as the club’s interim boss.
Lage admitted that he had a “good feeling” from the first minute at the Theatre of Dreams. The former Benfica manager felt his full-backs Nelson Semedo and Marcal were crucial in the victory.
With Manchester United looking to squeeze the play in the middle of the pitch, the likes of Moutinho and Ruben Neves always had the option of Semedo and Marcal as outlets in the wide areas.
But with Wolves’ full-backs pushing high up the pitch, Daniel Podence and Trincao were constantly drifting inside and getting closer to Raul Jimenez.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Lage said: ““The most important thing for us is to see where the full-backs are, which position they start.
“It’s to find the spaces, when they are defending or attacking. If you look at the first-half, when they were defending, they tried to block, and the space was outside.
“Semedo and Marcal in the first-half had a lot of the ball and the boys found the spaces.
“Podence and Trincao understand if the full-backs are in front of them, or if they go, you control the space inside. It was so important, we worked hard, the players understood the plan and I think we deserved the three points.”
Opposition teams used to be already beaten before they even walked down the tunnel at Old Trafford, when they faced Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
But those days are long gone and we have already lost four out of our 10 Premier League games played at home, so far this season.
The Carabao Cup third-round defeat to West Ham takes it to five defeats from 11 domestic games played at Old Trafford.
Historically, teams used to have to produce the game of their lives to come away from Old Trafford with a positive result, but not anymore.
Manchester United are now seemingly just another team playing in a ‘lovely’ stadium.
It says a lot that following his first win at Old Trafford, Lage labelled it nothing more than ‘one more victory’.
Speaking to the club’s official website after his side’s historic win, Lage said: “It’s one more victory. It’s a lovely stadium, a place with a lot of history, but the most important thing is the way we played this game against this team.”
Playing against ‘this’ Manchester United team is far too easy and if teams don’t get overawed by the occasion of coming to Old Trafford, then they fancy their chances of getting a result.
Wolves were the latest team to come away from M16 with three points. Lage’s men had an incredible 15 shots, the most by a visiting team at Old Trafford in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game since records started being kept in the 2004-05 season (BBC Sport).
United have failed to score in four different Premier League home games this season, already more than we did in the whole of 2020-21 (3), according to Opta.
It’s going to take a monumental effort to rebuild a fear factor at Old Trafford. Steven Gerrard will be desperate to register his first managerial victory against United on Monday.
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