Manchester United’s Europa League campaign begins this week. Which reminds us why the team is in the competition in the first place.
United’s Champions League exit still grates. Defeats to PSG and RB Leipzig were both avoidable in the manner they came. But with respect, they are both good teams. Losing those games was forgivable.
A defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir remains perplexing and unforgivable, especially with the way it came.
United were the only team to drop points to Istanbul Basaksehir, losing 2-1 away from home.
The first goal conceded was absolutely farcical and our performance that night got what it deserved. That doesn’t make it even easier to take.
It was this game which cost United a place in the Champions League knockout stages.
Now the defeat looks even worse
It would have been easier to stomach losing to Istanbul Basaksehir if they spent the rest of this season showing what a strong team they are. Instead they are stuck in a downward spiral.
Istanbul Basaksehir sit a lowly 18th place in the Turkish Super Lig table after 24 games, in the relegation zone.
They have just six league wins and have scored just 28 goals in 24 games.
Demba Ba, who netted against United in the Champions League, has just two goals in 18 Super Lig games.
How did Manchester United lose to this team again?
The answer, as we know, should be a case of self-reflection. United lost because we failed to do the basics right and defend properly.
A lack of creativity in attack also came into it. United were back at 2-1 by half-time and could find a way back into the game.
Scoring goals against relegation threatened teams continues to be an issue, as we saw at West Brom at the weekend. United should be blowing these teams away.
Now United are back in the Europa League and the tie against Real Sociedad was a tougher one than we would have hoped for straight away.
The team will have to defend far better than we did in Turkey if we are going to get a result.
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