A lot of people in football now base their opinions of a game on purely the result. But I like to base my opinion on the performance of the team, whether that’s win, lose, or draw. I can name you countless matches where a scoreline has flattered the actual effort of a team.
On Wednesday, the evidence to me showed that Manchester United were just not good enough against Sevilla. Because it was 0-0, people will say it was a typical Jose Mourinho masterclass, but I don’t think that’s the truth. They were awful.
They had one shot on target, whereas the Spanish side had plenty, and had they have been a little more ruthless in front of goal, the tie probably would already be over. You can’t sit there and say that it was a great performance by United, because it just wasn’t.
United have the advantage heading into the home leg, but the away goal is crucial. If Sevilla come to Old Trafford and get ahead, which is possible when you see some of the defensive errors that were made, then you have to wonder how they’re going to suddenly outscore the Spaniards. They didn’t look like they were capable of even scoring one last night.
I appreciate that Mourinho will see that differently. He set the game up to get a boring 0-0 draw, to be safe ahead of Chelsea this weekend and take it to the home leg. But I wonder how much the fans enjoyed watching that.
Man United can win the Champions League
For all of that, what I would say is that if there is one manager that can secure a Champions League win, it’s Jose Mourinho.
I wonder whether he’s setting United up to be a bit like the German national side, where they’re quiet in the early stages of the competition and when it gets to the quarters, they turn it on.
If you’re looking purely at performances in these games, obviously, Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool have all looked better than them. But Mourinho will see it as grinding out those results. He’s a master of winning trophies and succeeding in Europe is his forte, just look at the Europa last season.
I can appreciate why people are underestimating his side – but they’d be fools to do so – and he would love to prove everyone wrong.
David de Gea could still leave Old Trafford – but he’s one the player they should keep hold of at all costs
For me, David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world. He has proved it time and time again, consistently, at a top level.
He’s ahead of everybody in the Premier League, and the save he made from the header last night was superhuman. He keeps Man United in countless games, and you have to wonder where they’d be without them sometimes.
I would say, above every single player in the team, he’s the player they should be doing everything in their power to keep hold of. Performances last night will only attract more attention of the likes of Real Madrid, and I do still think that is a true threat.
I hate to say it, but I still believe he could go there. That interest will never go away, and every time the window opens someone will be interested in him. I would say at this stage you can pretty much name your price for him. He’s one of the best ever.