The Manchester United supporters are suffering from a derby day hangover today, after they suffered a 2-1 defeat against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester United’s remarkable unbeaten record of 40 games at Old Trafford came to a stunning end on Sunday, as Manchester City snatched a derby day victory to savour for the blue half of Manchester. Mourinho’s side had not tasted defeat at home in all competitions since they lost by the same 2-1 scoreline against the same Mancunian rivals on the 10th September 2016.
On the balance of play, City deserved to take all 3 points back to the Etihad, but individual errors from United’s star-striker Romelu Lukaku has certainly left the resident Red Devils with a bitter taste in their mouth.
City’s opener arrived towards the end of a first-half where United had generally kept Guardiola’s side at bay. Kevin de Bruyne’s corner was whipped into the near post where Lukaku failed to win his aerial duel with Otamendi, and inadvertently knocked the ball in the direction of David Silva who fired City into the lead.
After Marcus Rashford had emphatically drawn United level on the stroke of half-time, things went from bad to worse for Lukaku. In the 54th minute, David Silva floated an innocuous-looking free-kick over the heads of the waiting City cavalry and perfectly into the path of Lukaku, who smashed the ball into the back of Marcus Rojo and gifted Otamendi the chance to convert the loose ball and restore City’s lead from the 6 yard line.
Lukaku’s opportunity for redemption arrived in the 82nd minute when Anthony Martial put the ball on a silver platter for him following a sweeping United move, but he smashed his finish into the face of Ederson with the goal at his mercy.
Understandably, Lukaku has been the subject of scathing criticism from United fans and pundits alike in the aftermath of proceedings, but ultimately a large portion of responsibility for his performances rests with Jose Mourinho.
United began the game sitting deep and allowing Manchester City to have possession, which left Lukaku incredibly isolated upfront with little to no service throughout the first-half.
Because of United’s lack of ambition and struggle to get hold of the ball, the club’s top-goalscorer had no opportunity to find his feet in the game and become comfortable in possession.
And this factor was a major contributor to his mistakes throughout the game, particularly for City’s winning goal and for his guilt-edged miss in the final 10 minutes of proceedings.
Naturally, the United supporters will be furious with Lukaku’s performance and use him as a scapegoat for their defeat, but they should consider that Mourinho’s tactics made him something of a passenger throughout proceedings which clearly affected his judgement in his result-defining moments.
If United supporters want to blame anybody for their derby defeat, they should blame Mourinho for showing a lack of ambition in a fixture that they simply had to win in order to breathe some life back into the title-race.