Manchester United were unacceptably passive for much of the evening in the midweek 1-0 defeat to Juventus.

But Jose Mourinho also did nothing to alter the tide of the game, electing not to make a single substitution; either to get a foothold in the game or throw caution to the wind in pursuit of an equaliser late on.

By way of explanation, Mourinho pointed to the injury problems in the squad but increasingly looks like a man running short on ideas…

What did he say?

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Mourinho said: “Bear in mind Sanchez was in the stand. Lingard was in the stand. Fellaini may have been in the stand or at home as I didn’t see him.

“I really missed Fellaini because when we are dominant, we are playing in the opponents’ half and the opponent closes the way they did, and they brought [Andrea] Barzagli as a third centre-back, Fellaini is a player that gives us different things. We missed him.”

Out of ideas

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

The issue with Fellaini lingering around the club is well-worn. He is a player no other club in the top six would tolerate and someone who did not attract much interest when it looked as if he would be leaving Old Trafford on a free transfer last summer.

But United gave in to his demands and then Mourinho still regards him as a key part of his plans. It shows he is running short on ideas and does not know what else to do apart from launching long diagonal balls when United need another strategy.