Six reasons for Manchester United fans to be angry after FA Cup loss

Manchester United’s FA Cup dreams have to wait another year. Perhaps it is better to get the heartbreak out the way early.

Even so, it’s hard to take any positives out of the home defeat to Middlesbrough. The game was drawn 1-1 after extra-time and United then lost 8-7 on penalties.

United had looked like dominating early, and then let control turn to panic after a controversial equaliser.

Let’s get into it. United fans are fuming with the result and we can break down exactly why right here…

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We really needed the win

The past week has been a really difficult one for Manchester United fans. The shock reports to emerge last Sunday has seen a previously popular player become effectively erased from the squad for the foreseeable future.

The FA Cup was United’s most realistic chance of silverware. Now only a slim Champions League chance remains, to prevent the club going trophyless for a fifth consecutive season.

The game was the first of seven matches this month, and after winning two matches in a row before the break, there was a chance for United to really start picking up momentum.

For the first 30 minutes or so it was looking that way, and then United just trailed off. All the momentum is gone, and United are back into crisis mode.

A battle for the top four is hardly inspiring to hang onto for the rest of the season. There will be no trip to Wembley to look forward to in May.

Loss to Championship opposition says everything

There is no way United should have lost this game, at home to Championship opposition. Middlesbrough played well and defended well, and were competitive. However, this game was as much about United throwing it away as it was Boro winning it.

United fans have long been falling out of love with his group of players. This season seems to get worse and worse. Whenever you think it cannot get lower, it does.

At the end of the month United face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Roy Keane told ITV before kick-off he fancied United to win the tie.

After losing at home to Middlesbrough, it feels like United have no chance of beating Atletico. Football is odd, and you never know, but winning one two-legged tie against Atletico is one thing. Going onto actually win the Champions League is just pure fantasy, sadly.

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Missed chances

Manchester United were the architects of their own downfall. This game should have been dead and buried by half-time.

Jadon Sancho hit the bar when he should have scored early on. He at least made up for it with a well taken goal to give United the lead.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss was unforgivable. He failed to hit the target, and he still does not have a goal in 2022. It’s weighing on his mind and affecting his performances, and the team.

Marcus Rashford missed a clear cut chance after a cross from Sancho in the second half, while Bruno Fernandes inexplicably hit the post when presented with a near open goal.

The players are totally responsible for this. Middlesbrough should have been beaten before their equalising goal, and after.

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VAR

The missed chances were awful, and that is the main reason United lost. You can’t ignore an awful call for Middlesbrough’s goal, however.

There was a clear handball inside the box in the lead-up to the goal. VAR checked it and decided not to rule the goal out.

This was a moment where you wondered what on earth the point of VAR is? If not to rule out clear and obvious rule infringements, then what is it there for?

United were harshly done by here. The team still should have won regardless and this should merely have been a consolation goal of course, but there’s still reason to be angry with the officiating.

Missing players

United needed all hands on deck for this one. It was a bitter blow not having a full squad of players available for the game.

Edinson Cavani was allowed to stay an extra couple of days in South America. Even with the short turnaround time, surely he could have played extra-time or simply been used to take a penalty?

The most galling absence was Jesse Lingard, a player who simply was given the night off. United could have used his energy.

If United won the game, Lingard’s absence would have been forgotten. Instead it is another reason for United fans to feel bitter about the situation, and many would not have a problem if he was given the rest of the season off.

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Another penalty shootout loss

It is beginning to feel like United will never win a penalty shootout again at this point. Even though United have now scored 17 of the last 19 in the last two shootouts, they have contrived to lose both.

One bit of reasoning some United fans clung onto after the Europa final defeat was the theory that if Dean Henderson was in goal, United would have won.

This narrative took a major hit last night, with Henderson conceding all eight including one he allowed to squirm right underneath him.

United should never have let the game get to penalties of course, and now young talent Anthony Elanga has to live with the pain of a penalty miss, after his teammates’ missed chances in normal time.

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