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Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United side appeared to be heading for another heavy defeat until Scott McTominay scored twice during stoppage time for a 2-1 win against Brentford that kept alive their hopes of Champions League qualification.
1. United panicked
Manchester United’s hierarchy must feel embarrassed at their handling of Mason Greenwood’s exclusion from training sessions. Instead of issuing a press release immediately in an attempt to control narrative, they released an urgent press statement in an effort to control narrative of story.
Southampton were dominant early against Manchester United and fully deserved their 13th-minute lead thanks to Graziano Pelle’s strike after Sadio Mane had seen his shot pushed out by De Gea.
2. They panicked in defence
Manchester United have long had an affinity for conceding goals. Even their rare clean sheet against Wolves felt fortunate.
Erik ten Hag must address this problem of his defensive midfield being unfilled despite having two stellar center-backs like Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof who could contain Villarreal’s attack.
3. They panicked in attack
United fans remain angered after their team were denied an obvious penalty by referee Michael Oliver and VAR Craig Pawson. Alejandro Garnacho’s shot struck goalkeeper Christian Romero’s outstretched arm, yet both officials decided against awarding any spot-kicks.
Rashford then delivered a cross that deflected off Joel Ward and into Onana’s hand – yet no spot-kick was awarded because Onana claimed he was blocking a header when he leaped to meet it.
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4. They panicked in midfield
United had an encouraging start at Turf Moor but quickly wasted any positive momentum they gained by succumbing to pressure from Sheffield United.
Another instance where the club’s midfield issues became manifest.
Manchester United have more problems than solutions in midfield without Jadon Sancho on board, with Fred being their lone midfielder needing to be more aggressive, while they require someone else on the right.
5. They panicked in attack
At the conclusion of extra time, United had run out of steam and ideas. Solskjaer brought on Juan Mata and Alex Telles in order to pursue penalties but neither offered anything new or fresh in terms of perspective or vision.
Gerard Moreno ran unchallenged into the box and turned Dani Parejo’s free-kick past David de Gea for United’s opener – serving as an early warning of their danger of remaining so passive in attacking.
6. They panicked in defence
Rasmus Hojlund opened United’s account against Galatasaray with an early goal, before 17-year-old Roony Bardghji pounced upon poor defending to score their equaliser and bring hope into play.
But then erupted a horror show from Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire at the back. Dalot has an instinctive tendency for rushing in while Maguire lacks problem-solving ability at this level; his haste to help McTominay created disorder from which Rodriguez took advantage.
7. They panicked in midfield
Man United’s transfer dealings this season have not been executed with precision, leaving the club to suffer.
United rushed into signing Bruno Fernandes and he hasn’t lived up to their expectations. United also planned on recalling Mason Greenwood before changing their minds after receiving public criticism, in what can only be described as a panic signing situation.
8. They panicked in attack
United dominated possession in the first half, yet were unable to convert it into scoring opportunities. Edinson Cavani came close to giving United the advantage when his shot was deflected off of an opponent’s shoulder.
Rashford then brought his team level with an extraordinary strike after taking down two defenders and firing in a low shot – but unfortunately this effort was ruled offside.
9. They panicked in defence
Students of body language might have detected some anxiety in Maguire as he prepared to partner Jonny Evans in defence in their absence, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez being unavailable due to injuries. Andre Onana’s misplaced pass for Bayern’s second goal highlighted United’s defensive vulnerability which wasn’t just due to injuries alone.
It is also about their ideas.
10. They panicked in attack
Solly March scored in the 95th minute to bring Brighton level at Old Trafford, but Bruno Fernandes dispatched his penalty awarded by VAR late into stoppage time successfully.
This result caused much debate as Jan Bednarek appeared to clearly foul Martial. While the spot kick had no significant effect, its decision sparked plenty of disagreement within the club and supporters alike.