Manchester United were given the run-around by Wolves’ Portuguese duo Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves at Old Trafford.
Ralf Rangnick’s side struggled to get near Bruno Lage’s tried and trusted midfield pairing, as the black and gold looked like the home side being so comfortable in possession.
United’s interim boss selected Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic as his midfield duo once again, following the 3-1 win against Burnley.
But for all of Matic and McTominay’s industry and battling qualities, neither of them possess the guile or passing range of Wolves’ midfield technicians.
It may have been the 35-year-old Moutinho who stole the headlines with his 82nd-minute volley proving to be the winner, but United were given a stark reminder of how Neves, 11 years Moutinho’s junior, would significantly improve this United side.
With Lage’s full-backs Nelson Semedo and Marcal pushing high up the pitch, Neves was constantly picking the pair out and putting United on the back foot.
Astute out of possession, comfortable taking the ball in any situation, a desire to get on the ball and make things happen, as well as carrying a goalscoring threat from range, Neves is the type of deep-lying playmaker this United side so badly craves.
The 24-year-old had David de Gea scrambling when he unleashed a dipping volley following a cleared corner.
United are increasingly looking like a disjointed outfit once again, that have no idea of breaking teams down and controlling games.
The transition of getting the ball from back to front is far too slow, but having someone like Neves who can inject a purpose and zip to our player is greatly needed.
Pursuing Neves would no doubt be endorsed by his compatriots Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, but any potential interest would probably have to wait until the summer.
No player completed more passes than Neves (55) in last night’s clash, according to SofaScore. That marries up with the 56.2 passes he is currently averaging per game in the Premier League, so far this season, which is more than any Manchester United player.
Improving Manchester United’s midfield will no doubt be made a priority in the summer and Ruben Neves’ name should be high on the wish list.
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