My word Saturday just gone was a strange day and not only because of the extremely mental weather in Manchester. All the talk still, was about what Mourinho had said in his post-match interview after the Sevilla defeat, as well as his “twelve minute football heritage rant” in his press conference ahead of the Brighton.
Anyway, after my usual football coaching on a Saturday morning when United are playing at home, I normally rush back to get changed, have a very quick bite to eat before heading out to the pub or straight to Old Trafford. Not on Saturday just gone for the Brighton FA Cup and the reason for that was the ridiculous 7.45pm scheduled kick-off time.
After coaching I actually had time to also put on the television to watch Swansea v Spurs in the FA Cup, then watch England v Ireland in the six-nations rugby before even flicking over to catch the end of Soccer Saturday. After all that, United’s kick off was still three hours away. I was about ready for my tea and settling in for the night, not going out at 5.30pm/6pm time in the awful weather that most of the country had, to watch football. Still, that is what I did, as I headed to The Quadrant pub for a couple of beers and to me my mate for a catch up. Well, despite the strange kick-off time you can’t change the tradition of going to the pub first.
I eventually got into the ground about 7.20pm in the end, said hello to the usual crowd and grabbed myself another beer. The team news came through, Romero in, Shaw in and it was good to see Martial back in after his short time out through injury. It wasn’t the greatest first half, in fact it was again quite poor but I would say we were definitely more adventurous than against Sevilla. Were we not great again because of the late kick-off time on a Saturday night? Not for me, we’ve played like that loads of times in the first-half this season in various kick-off times.
We just looked lethargic throughout, but thankfully we did score through Lukaku after a great whipped in cross from the impressive Matic. As the second-half started some were surprised to see Shaw had been taken off, I wasn’t and although yes you could see it was a harsh, his defending was poor. He just never seems to get tight to his winger or full back when they have the ball and nearly every single-time they manage to get the cross in against him. To me that is basic full-back defending, stop the cross. I like Luke Shaw, I really do, I think he can get back to where he was after the awful injury, but unfortunately I do not think it’s going to happen for him at Old Trafford.
Anyway, with seven or eight minutes to go, Shaw’s replacement Young crossed a free-kick to the back post where we had three players waiting to nod it in, but Matic was there first to make it 2-0. After the game, Mourinho was quite scathing of most of the United players and I think a few fans were taken back by it. I personally wish he’d said stuff like that after the Sevilla performance and defeat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of criticism as long as it doesn’t get personal. I also think there is nothing wrong in saying you too can get it wrong sometimes Jose.
Next match: Old Trafford, Saturday 31st March @ 3pm vs Swansea City in the Premier League