Manchester United travelled to Bournemouth on Saturday knowing that a defeat would have left them six points behind their overperforming hosts.
But that did not stop Jose Mourinho’s side putting in a limp first-half performance which was so bad that the Portuguese even admitted that his side were ‘lucky’ to escape from level at the interval.
We’ve had a quick look at why the Reds weren’t at the races until they fell behind again and the change that Mourinho must make to ensure it doesn’t happen again…
Not at the races
For too long at the weekend, United were shambolic at the back. David de Gea was again called into life more than once to sweep up behind a backline that couldn’t live with the home side’s pace.
Callum Wilson’s opening goal was an example of the lax defending and the former Coventry man was one of three Cherries players who could have prodded home unmarked after United’s defence decided not to bother with marking.
How to improve?Eric Bailly has been largely outcast by Mourinho since the debacle against Brighton in the second game of the season, but is surely time for him to be recalled.
Chris Smalling is always teetering on the edge of a mistake and on Saturday, Bournemouth’s pace had him all at sea.
United have huge tests against Juventus and Manchester City coming up this week; Smalling will be run ragged by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Aguero.
Bailly has the pace and athleticism to match the elite strikers and his partnership with Victor Lindelof is surely United’s best hope of defensive stability.
Mourinho must swallow his pride and recall the Ivorian.