Tag Archives: defeat

Juan Mata sends message to Man United supporters following Newcastle defeat

Juan Mata has expressed his dismay after Manchester United suffered a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.

Jose Mourinho’s men created a litany of chances, with Anthony Martial missing a one-on-one with Martin Dubravka and Alexis Sanchez failing to take advantage of an open goal, before they were made to pay for their sloppiness by Matt Ritchie’s 65th minute goal.

Martial and Michael Carrick both went painfully close to claiming a late equaliser but Newcastle stood firm to register their first win at home since October.

And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, adopted a notably disappointed tone when reflecting on the defeat to Rafa Benitez’s side.

“Unfortunately this is one of those days when you don’t feel in the best mood to update your blog, neither do you to read it,” he wrote.

“It’s not easy to write after a defeat. The truth is, after losing an away game you think a lot about it on your way back home. You remember every play, every moment, and you try to change the outcome but obviously that’s impossible.

“You can’t turn back time, so the only way to carry on is to turn all this rage into a desire to win, work and attitude for the next game.

“The 1-0 in Newcastle hurts because we had chances to score both in the first and in the second half, but they took better advantage of their weapons.

“We already have to focus on the FA Cup and Huddersfield. It will be a great opportunity to prove that a new win can help to forget yesterday’s game. By the way, thank you to those who travelled to Newcastle, you deserved a different game and a different score.”

This was a not a performance from the same cut of cloth as woeful displays away to Huddersfield Town or Tottenham Hotspur, and perhaps on another day United would have found the opening goal which has so often served as a platform for solid wins this season.

But the cold reality is that United, with 27 games of the season gone, still don’t have a known best starting XI, or even a formation that Mourinho and his staff have agreed upon.

And yet, somehow, they have remained second throughout most of the campaign – a sign of the natural talent and winning nous in the side as well as the fallibility of teams like Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Liverpool.

In other words, the margin for improvement – greater execution, greater tenacity, greater diversity of options – is massive, and ought to serve as a positive challenge for next season.

Mourinho explains why he substituted this Man Utd star during defeat to Newcastle

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has explained why he bizarrely substituted Paul Pogba during the defeat to Newcastle United.

The two clubs clashed in the Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon and it was the Magpies who came away with the 1-0 along with all three points.

Fans were frustrated with many aspects of the game but were particularly upset with the decision to substitute one of their key players when United clearly needed more firepower to try to win.

Some supporters pointed out that Pogba was possible injured as he seemed to struggle during the match and there was a little worry in the pre-match warm-up.

However, Mourinho has since denied that the Frenchman was injured and offered a different reason for why he took him off the field.

According to Football365, Jose said to Sky Sports: “I wanted a better way to come out in the first phase against a team that was defending in a very compact block.

“I was trying that with the simplicity of Michael Carrick because he tries to make everything simple and bring Alexis close to an area to Lukaku where he could be like a second striker to try to win the game.”

The Portuguese manager’s explanation possibly makes things worse, not better and adds more confusion to the already puzzling situation.

With the Red Devils 1-0 down, Jose Mourinho opted to bring in the likes of Michael Carrick and Scott McTominay on the field when it was so clear that the team needed more attacking impetus.

Many fans questioned the former Chelsea boss’s tactics in the first place, wondering why he insists on using a 4-2-3-1 formation when the 4-3-3 so clearly suits Paul Pogba more.

Manchester United played a few times with the latter formation and it always seemed to bring out the best of the team as well as the former Juventus man.

Newcastle defeat once again highlighted Manchester United's biggest problem this season

On May 6 2012, Manchester United claimed a 2-0 win over Swansea City in their penultimate game of the campaign.

At right back was Phil Jones, while Chris Smalling featured at centre-back as Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia occupied the wings.

Six years on and, somewhat astonishingly, the aforementioned quartet are lining up as Manchester United’s first choice back four, despite the club making 22 signings in the post-Ferguson era.

Defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday saw them line up together and their collective display – inert, predictable, lacking in zip or discipline – once again highlighted just how absurd it is that, for all the millions spent in trying to evolve this side, nothing of note has been done to advance United’s back four over such a prolonged period of time.

Mourinho fielded the same back four against both Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur earlier this season and lost, along with witnessing perhaps United’s two worst performances of their Premier League campaign.

That last bit is crucial. In a modern game evolving faster than our senses can comprehend, United have been caught with cold feet and suffered the consequences for failing to evolve in the same way as Manchester City, who only have one semi-first choice defender – captain Vincent Kompany – still at the club since May 2012.

Out of the 22 signings made by United since 2013, only five have been defenders. And what has transpired as a result is a kind of tale of two cities in Mourinho’s side: an attack comprising of diverse, fresh, dynamic options and a back four painfully out of step with the times.

They have hardly been awful. In fact, no team has more clean sheets than United this season. But the problem lies less with objective results and more with the symbolic message it sends.

While Man City, who could be champions in just six games, have spent nearly £180m on defensive reinforcements over the past year, United are still calling on the old guard to come up with modern day solutions.

A defensive overhaul, one matching the comprehensiveness of United’s attacking additions in recent years, desperately needs to begin in the summer.

Paul Pogba provides injury update following Newcastle defeat

Paul Pogba was seen limping through the mixed zone and apparently winced when asked about his injury following Manchester United’s defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

The Frenchman pulled up and winced after taking a shot in the warm up and, despite usually being one of the last, went down the tunnel before anyone else, casting doubt over whether he would start against the Magpies.

He did manage to start but was clearly miles below his best, ambling through the game and losing the ball on several occasions before being hooked off after 65 minutes.

And while Jose Mourinho insisted after the game that Pogba had “no problems”, Press Association’s Simon Peach managed to capture a video which hints towards the exact opposite.

There was plenty that didn’t make much sense at St James’ Park: Mourinho’s decision to use a system that has failed them on numerous occasions already this season, along with the use of the same back four which crumbled at Wembley, are just a couple of examples.

But perhaps the most ludicrous of all was the decision to keep Pogba on the pitch despite it being clear that the Frenchman was operating at about 60 per cent.

This was notably different from performances criticised in the past. Even then, the 24-year-old always wanted the ball, always felt involved, determined to bend the game in United’s favour.

Against Newcastle, however, he seemed to float through the encounter like a ghost, barely noticeable at times, his mind and body clearly not in step with the game like usual. Supporters will only hope to see a replenished, fully-fit Pogba next time around.

1 key pass, 2 through-balls, 4 dribbles: Striker impresses despite Newcastle defeat

Romelu Lukaku delivered a superbly composed performance on the ball during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

The Belgian held up the ball brilliantly in the first half and provided a reliable attacking axis to give Man United a strong foothold in the game.

And he should have had an assist to his name in the second half when his perfectly weighted through ball found Alexis Sanchez, who some how failed to find the net after rounding keeper Martin Dubravka.

Lukaku’s numbers from the game show clearly that he didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

Much has been made of Mourinho’s inability to mould a consistently successful attacking dynamic with the current attacking options – deemed sufficient by the man himself last week – at his disposal.

And while the likes of Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Sanchez will need more time to properly click, some better finishing from the latter pair would have seen United’s attacking performance hailed as comprehensive, the Belgian serving as a powerful focal point from which others could benefit going forward.

As it was, Lukaku’s precise hold-up play didn’t receive the end product it deserved, but for all of United’s shortcomings against Newcastle supporters can take confidence from the number of chances their side can create with the striker in such ebullient mood.

Jose Mourinho provides Paul Pogba update following Newcastle defeat

Jose Mourinho has insisted that Paul Pogba wasn’t carrying an injury during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

The Frenchman appeared to wince in pain after taking a shot in the warm-up at St James’ Park and, having spoken to Rui Faria, went back down the tunnel.

Pogba played nonetheless but he clearly didn’t look anywhere his best, ambling through the game and hardly ever producing a decisive touch, and was hooked off for Michael Carrick soon after his failure to compete at a set-piece allowed Newcastle to score.

But Mourinho, when asked about whether Pogba was carrying an injury, paused for a second – clearly thinking hard about what to say next – before replying: “No, no problems.”

Mourinho’s laconic response, along with the pause that preceded it, tells you that something is awry.

But that much was painfully clear on the pitch anyway. Pogba begun the game clearly limping and, aside from a few nice touches in the first half, descended quickly into anonymity – unable, or perhaps unwilling, to win 50/50s, leaving Nemanja Matic with a thankless and overwhelming task.

One obvious rule of thumb at the highest level is that anybody not at 100 per cent shouldn’t be on the pitch – especially against a Newcastle side described as ‘animals’ by Mourinho in the aftermath. And Pogba, needless to say, was nowhere near that.

Arsene Wenger blasts former Arsenal defender after derby defeat

Arsene Wenger blasts former Arsenal defender after derby defeat – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Arsene Wenger has hit back at Martin Keown’s criticism of Arsenal’s defence.

The former Gunners centre-back blasted Arsenal’s defensive performance as they lost the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Saturday.

Wenger admitted the result was a huge blow to his team’s hopes of securing a top four finish in the Premier League, but he was unhappy with Keown’s suggestion that his team lacked the fight to deal with Spurs’ striker Harry Kane.

“I don’t think they lack hunger to defend,” said Wenger.

“They got caught by a super striker who is one of the best in the world. He scores against everybody.

“All the defenders in the world must lack hunger then.”

The 1-0 defeat left Arsenal sixth in the table, six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool who have a game in hand. The Gunners’ best hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League is likely to be by winning the Europa League, but Wenger insists his team will keep fighting.

“The top four is difficult now as this is a game we could not afford to lose, but it’s too early (to focus on winning the Europa League),” he added.

“Football is not about switching off for three games and then switching it on for one game.

“Manchester United decided that once they were in the semi-final to focus on Europa League (last season).

“We are far from the semi-final and we have to fight to have a chance to come back.

“For me, it’s a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get into the Champions League from the Premier League.

“I’m not a great fan of qualifying through the Europa League because I don’t think it’s right.

“If it’s an opportunity, we’ll have to try to take it as well. The priority is still to be in the Premier League.”

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