Manchester United – Valencia: Mourinho’s side stumble to draw against organised Valencia (0-0)
Manchester United may not have lost this match, but José Mourinho’s side looked second best for significant spells of the game. Valencia exploited United’s man-marking system but couldn’t find the finishing touch in the final third. Meanwhile United’s possession game was - once more - slow and lacking in ideas.
Manchester United’s current poor form under coach José Mourinho has been one of the main talking points in European football in recent weeks. Prior to this game, United had not won since their last Champions League game, against BSC Young Boys. They were also yet to win a game at Old Trafford since the opening day of the season and Mourinho’s methods - both on and off the pitch - have come under serious scrutiny.
Recent managerial troubles aside, the game against Valencia was important for sportive reasons as well. The Spanish side are probably United’s main competitor for the second place in their Champions League group, with neither of them seeming likely to seriously challenge Juventus to win the group.
Valencia have some issues of their own. Goals have not come easily for Marcelino’s side – no one in LaLiga has scored fewer than them this season. Furthermore, their win at Real Sociedad last weekend was their first of the season, following a run of four draws, and an opening day defeat.
Marcelino made six changes from the lineup that beat Real Sociedad at the weekend, including removing the scorer from that game, Kevin Gameiro, and replacing him with Spanish international Rodrigo. Cristiano Piccini, Ezeqiuel Garay, José Gayá, Francis Coquelin and Gonçalo Guedes were the others who came into the starting eleven. Coquelin is deployed in a rather different role to what Premier League fans may have been used to, as he . . .