1. The performance in that first half against West Ham was the worst 45 minutes that United played for as far as I can remember. Defenders were decent most times when defending but passing out the ball to teammates was generally sluggish, particularly from the central defenders. There was no movement from the players in front of them and it certainly appeared that no one from the midfielders and strikers wanted the ball. So we ended up throwing long searching balls forward and Rashford chasing those balls to no avail. Ole went for experience again and the experienced players let him down, big time. Mata needs to retire and concentrate fully on his ambassadorial role on that performance. Totally non-influential. There is no place for him in United’s first team. Matic should be sold in January. Him and Mata managed to even relegate young McTominay to their level in that first half.
2. There is one thing which I hate most when a team I support is playing, and that it is when I notice lack of passion and grit. And I’ve seen some glimpses of it from some of the players, who were pulling out of tackles all over the pitch. When you play for United – and for any team for that matter – you must put your heart in it and leave everything on the pitch if need be. West Ham players were more aggressive in the tackles and it was almost as if we were bullied by them. Although he was lucky not to be sent off for it, that tackle by Noble on Wan Bissaka in the second half epitomized the aggressiveness of the home team. And underlined a quality that is missing from this United team.
3. Speaking about what is missing from this United team, at least today, quality comes to mind. Pogba in particular leaves a huge void in the United midfield when he is missing. His passing ability, intelligence, confidence and presence alone are critical for a United team that is relying on young players. I hope that those who criticise him and are convinced that we don’t need him realise how wrong they are. If anyone needed proof, it was clear today. Pogba is irreplaceable.
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