Sunday, March 26, 2023

Should Jose Mourinho be criticised for a goalless draw at Sevilla?

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 22 Feb 2018

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On Wednesday night Manchester United picked up a goalless draw at Sevilla in the Champions League last 16 first leg. However, to get the draw, the Red Devils needed a string of brilliant saves from goalkeeper David de Gea.

United also struggled to create much going forward, having just six shots on goal compared to the home sides 24. Since the game, Mourinho’s tactics have been called into question by fans and pundits alike.

Mourinho will park the bus when necessary

The phrase ‘Parking the bus’ become synonymous with Jose Mourinho during his time with Chelsea after he redefined how to play defensively effectively.

The Portuguese boss is a master tactician and in difficult away games, feeling that coming away from a game with a draw is better than a defeat.

No doubt a trip to the Sanchez Pizjuan is a difficult game. However, did United really need to be as cautious as they were in Andalucia? United legend Sir Alex Ferguson would use defensive tactics in big away games too.

The Scot’s team always posed a threat on the counter-attack though. Against the Spanish side, United posed very little attacking threat. It is not the first time that United have produced such a display in a big away game.

Sometimes the tactic works, like it did against Sevilla, yet sometimes it falls flat, as it did a few weeks ago when the Red Devils suffered a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham. More often than not, Mourinho pulls it off and that is why his medal collection is so vast. United fans expect more from their team, though.

Manchester United lack creativity

It seems strange to say when United have so many attacking players, but the Red Devils lack a bit of creativity. Spanish playmaker Juan Mata seems like the player to give the team some incisiveness from an attacking position. However, the Spaniard has been inconsistent for United in recent years.

January signing Alexis Sanchez is also capable of providing a creative spark. The role he was playing on Wednesday night was more about defending than it was attacking, as Mourinho attempted to keep it tight.

The likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are both exciting players who offer pace and good finishing ability. Once again, though, Mourinho was looking for a simple holding job on Wednesday night, so neither will have been considered to be players for that particular game.

Earlier in the campaign, United looked very good going forward, when the likes of Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and the now departed Henrikh Mkhitaryan were all in form.

There is so much of an attacking threat in that Red Devils team. Jose Mourinho just needs to let the shackles off slightly and his team may well thrive again.

Manchester United should go through

You have to fancy United to go through to the quarter-finals of the competition after Wednesday’s night result. The Red Devils are odds of 4/6 to win the second leg at Old Trafford on 13th March.

Many United fans and observers have complained about the result, because of United’s perceived defensive style of play. However, Mourinho has proven down the years that his methods really do work in European competitions, even if the football is not great, it gets the job done.

The problem is that Manchester United fans want to be entertained. Mourinho produces winning teams most of the time. However, he does not always produce attractive teams to watch and that could be his major downfall at Old Trafford.

Should Jose Mourinho be criticised for a goalless draw at Sevilla?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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