It has been a joy and a curse to watch Manchester United in action four times in eight days. The problem is, United have only won one of the matches.
Last night United were beaten 4-2 at home to Liverpool, after taking a lead against an away side with a makeshift defence.
While United have already qualified for the Champions League next season and are in the Europa League final, all is not rosy. This team should be looking to get as close to City as possible even though the title has now gone.
There are reasons to be concerned right now, and while a simple case of rest before the next fixture will help, United have plenty of work to do behind the scenes. Here is a look at five reasons to be worried…
Losing is a terrible habit to get into
United have now lost three games out of the last four. That’s terrible, even if the games ‘don’t matter’.
Losing is a terrible habit to get into. The intensity of the performances have been lost, and against Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp’s side won partly because it was more important to them.
The game against Roma could be ignored because United went through anyway, but it has been followed up with two further defeats after the comeback win over Villa.
This team has lost a bit zip over the past few matches, and the momentum has gone. Is it easy to suddenly switch back on again?
United need a big performance in the Europa League final. So it is important to pick up victories against Fulham and then Wolves.
Players look exhausted
Part of the reason for the defeats has been the crazy schedule, and the players look exhausted. This is prompting poor performances.
Now after two straight league defeats, United will be looking to pick up momentum against Fulham, which means playing a relatively strong team.
In an ideal situation United would have at least drawn with Leicester and beaten Liverpool, and then been able to rest players against Fulham and Wolves.
It has taken an immense effort from the team to play four games in eight days, and we just hope it has not taken too much out of them, that it plays a negative role on their performances in Gdansk.
Bad habits show up
United’s poor display cannot simply be attributed to tiredness. The teams bad habits showed up.
Fred was guilty of giving the ball away in possession too often, and United’s determination to play the ball out from the back saw them walk into trouble for Liverpool’s third goal.
Perhaps even more concerning was United’s weakness from set pieces being exposed again, struggling to defend free-kicks.
It’s easy to point out Harry Maguire’s absence as a factor, but he has played his part in a poor defensive record at Old Trafford this season. Set piece defending has been particular troublesome for United.
With United trailing and many players struggling for fitness, United needed an impact from the bench. Mason Greenwood came on, and made the team look a lot more dangerous.
Beyond that, United have no other options Solskjaer was willing to turn to, even with his tired players.
Donny van de Beek is not considered valuable enough for Solskjaer after a poor season, Juan Mata seems past it, and Amad seemingly is not ready for this kind of opponent in Solskjaer’s view.
So United need to look at this for next season, it’s so important to strengthen the squad, as the depth simply is not there.
Missed a big chance to negatively impact Liverpool
A win for United would likely have condemned Liverpool to Europa League football next season.
Now, three points for Jurgen Klopp’s side gives them a lifeline. They have a soft fixture schedule over the last three matches, and are suddenly full of confidence.
Leicester and Chelsea are above them but play each other next week.
Pushing Liverpool into the Europa League next season would have hurt them in the transfer market, possibly caused star players to consider their futures, and hurt their chances of competing for the title next season. With all of that in mind, this is a big pivotal opportunity missed that United might go onto regret not taking.
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