Manchester United booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday night by recording a narrow 1-0 win over Swiss side Young Boys at Old Trafford. The Red Devils needed a stoppage-time strike from Marouane Fellaini to claim all three points.
United boss Mourinho was defiant after the clash, talking about his record in European football. However, the fact that the Portuguese boss went crazy with relief when Fellaini scored the winner told its own story.
Valencia are having a poor season
Mourinho is quite right in stating that he has now qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in all 14 years he has featured in Europe’s elite competition. The group looked difficult at first on paper.
Juventus were and still are the obvious favourites to win the group, while Valencia had just enjoyed a good campaign in La Liga. However, Los Ches have made a poor start to the new campaign.
The Spanish side has picked up just five points from their five group games, half of United’s points tally. They have struggled to get going in La Liga and the Champions League. Young Boys were always going to be the whipping boys of the group, and so it has transpired with the Swiss side bottom of the group having collected just one point.
United fans still not happy
Manchester United’s recent form has been unconvincing, to say the least. It is not just the results that have been disappointing, but also the style of play. Mourinho’s style of play has always been easy on the eye. However, he won trophies though and on a very regular basis.
Judging by the reaction on forums, phone-ins, social media and message boards, the majority of United fans are still not happy with their team’s performances. Fans are a fickle bunch, but to be fair the Red Devils fans have something to complain about considering their performances at times this season.
Mourinho will attempt to deflect the blame and bury his head in the sand, as that is his character. However, a scrappy 1-0 victory against the weakest group in their Champions League group is not exactly cause for full-on celebration.
The United boss knows the situation and he is doing his best to front it out, in typical Mourinho fashion. If Fellaini had not scored the late goal, the Portuguese boss would have probably lost the faith of even more United fans.
United major outsiders to win the Champions League
Not even Jose Mourinho’s Champions League-winning tactical nous could drag the current team to lifting the trophy this season. The Red Devils odds of 40/1 to win the trophy say it all about the current United team.
It looks likely that United will finish second in their group, which means they could have a tough task making it beyond the last 16. Last season Sevilla shocked the Red Devils at that stage. However, it will be far less surprising if the Red Devils suffer elimination in the last 16 this year.
Manchester United fans had become so accustomed to success under Sir Alex Ferguson that the last few years have been a major disappointment to them.
United may have qualified for the last-16 of the Champions League, but Mourinho needs to stop acting like scraping victories against the likes of Young Boys is a major achievement. Actually qualifying from the group may be an achievement for United considering their inconsistent form this season.
Is making it to the knockout stages of the Champions League an achievement?
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