Our Manchester United fans here in the Transfer Tavern are still reeling after their 1-0 defeat to Basel in the Champions League GW 5.
Man United were 25 minutes away from securing Champions League group stage qualification but Jose Mourinho decided to shut up shop and take off the likes of Anthony Martial, instead opting for the security of Nemanja Matic to see the game out.
Consequently, United lost the tie with a last-minute goal, so now head to the final game needing a result, although our landlord says it’ll mean a huge goal difference swing in the opposition’s favour.
Mourinho needed that result so he could rest up and rotate his team before the Super Sunday clash against neighbours and rivals Man City after their final Champions League group game against CSKA Moscow in the not too distant future. Our regulars say a win is essential to keep the Red Devils’ Premier League title hopes alive. Despite being eight points behind, a win would see the lead cut to five and a potential momentum swing going into the festive period.
Owing to Mourinho’s misjudgement it looks like now United have a season-defining week, even if Champions League qualification looks a certainty. Pep Guardiola now has the luxury of resting players ahead of the Manchester derby, much to the delight of the City slickers in our bar.
United, meanwhile, still need a draw although sometimes it doesn’t always work out the way our punters think. A rest can break up a team’s winning momentum, whereas playing regularly can aid a teams sharpness, but a derby match is different, the rule book is usually thrown out of the window for the 90 minutes.
Should the blue side of Manchester be happy with how the final group stage match is going to play out ahead of the derby and would United prefer to have had the option of resting key players…thoughts?