Thursday, November 15, 2018

Win against Juventus vital for United ahead of the derby

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 8 Nov 2018

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A few weeks ago, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was a dead man walking according to the British press. It was easy to see why they believed that the Portuguese boss was set to leave the Manchester club.

Results were going against the Red Devils and confidence in Mourinho had ebbed away. However, three straight wins in all competitions have lifted the mood slightly and there has been less talk of Mourinho’s replacement at Old Trafford.

United stun Juventus

On Wednesday night, United travelled to Turin to face Italian giants Juventus in the Champions League. Not many, including myself, gave them any hope of pulling off a victory.

However, in typical Mourinho style in Europe, United recorded a fortuitous 2-1 win at the Allianz Stadium. The first half was relatively even. However, in the second half, Juventus turned up the pressure as Sami Khedira hit the post and Juan Cuadrado fired wide.

The Bianconeri did take the lead on 65 minutes, as former United forward Cristiano Ronaldo scored a memorable volley. It seemed the visitors were doomed to defeat until the 86th minute, as Juan Mata equalised with a free-kick. The momentum was then with the visitors and in the last minute, they scored the winning goal.

Ashley Young swung in a vicious free-kick that hit Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro before dropping into the net with Paul Pogba in close proximity.

The games that Mourinho loves

Jose Mourinho loves the big European games and a chance to prove he can out-think top European bosses. Over and over again his tactical acumen has seen his teams pull off unexpected results.

In truth, the game could have been lost by the time the visitors scored their late goals, as David De Gea pulled off a number of saves and Juventus had more attempts on goal.

However, United hung on to keep the home side at bay and then when Juventus least expected struck at the other end. The Red Devils struggled to cause problems for the home defence in open play, but eventually found a way through courtesy of two set pieces.

It was not a pretty victory, but it was memorable and I doubt Mourinho or anybody connected with United will care about the manner of the victory. United needed the win and they got it.

There is a reason why Mourinho has a massive medal collection. He is still without a doubt still a top boss, who on his day can out-think any boss in European football. However, his antics at the end of the game cupping his ear while standing on the pitch were just classless and unnecessary.

Victory needed ahead of the derby

Manchester United face a tough trip to arch-rivals Manchester City on Sunday in the Premier League. City are once again top of the Premier League table and are 4/11 favourites to win the derby clash.

Pep Guardiola’s side look in no mood to let their rivals come to their patch and take home three points. The Citizens have now scored six goals in their last two outings at the Etihad Stadium. That run will no doubt stop on Sunday, but will their good form? That is highly doubtful.

However, while Manchester United have Mourinho in their dugout you always know they have a chance. The Portuguese boss will already be plotting City’s downfall and looking for a way to get at City boss Pep Guardiola.

United recorded a 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium last season. However, that was after a rancid first-half display where City should have been out of sight.

The victory in Turin was the perfect tonic for the Red Devils heading into the derby. United are slowly starting to build up some momentum, whether it will be enough to stop the City juggernaut on Sunday afternoon only time will tell.

Did Manchester United deserve to win at Juventus?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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