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There were not many positives from Manchester United’s defeat to BSC Young Boys on Tuesday evening.
United lost 2-1 in Switzerland thanks to a last-gasp winner from USA striker Jordan Siebatcheu and it meant that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side failed to come away with the three points.
It was a game of individual errors which cost United the match because at one point, they looked in control. The game turned when right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a high tackle on Young Boys midfielder, Cristopher Martins. Solskjaer’s team were down to 10 men and United tried to sit back and defend their lead.
It wasn’t meant to be in the end for Solskjaer, but there was one glimmer of hope to take into the next match.
Before the sending off, United were comfortable and scored a wonderful goal to show for it.
Bruno Fernandes whipped in an exquisite ball with the outside of his foot, into the path of Cristiano Ronaldo, who fired first time through the goalkeeper’s legs to give his side the lead.
The Portuguese duo were at their best when they had the freedom to get forward as United looked set for a win and get off to a good start in their group.
But, the Wan-Bissaka incident changed the complexity of the match and when this happened, Ronaldo was sniffed out.
There was one moment during the second period where United’s number seven thought he should’ve had a penalty after being barged in the back inside the area under a challenge by Mohamed Camara.
However, the referee ordered play to continue and he was eventually substituted by Solskjaer in favour of Jesse Lingard.
Ronaldo could have spoken about a different story after the game if the sending off, and Lingard’s back pass, didn’t happen.
Last night, he took to Instagram to post his disappointment, but maintained United have to bounce back. He wrote: “Wasn’t the result we wanted, but now it’s time to recover well and focus on the next game!”
Indeed, when United were dominating the ball, Ronaldo was running around the whole entire pitch and made five progressive runs off the ball in the first half to create a chance for his team.
The images below highlight some of the movement’s United’s striker was making in the first 45 minutes, and this also happened in the second half, evident by the penalty incident.
Ronaldo’s off-the-ball movement in the first-half was brilliant, via WyScout (Image: Wyscout)
Ronaldo’s movement was brilliant, but no one found him, via Wyscout (Image: Wyscout)
Unluckily, only one of United’s players managed to pick him out in a goalscoring opportunity and he delivered. Once the sending off happened though, he did go quiet.
One of the reason’s United signed Ronaldo was to influence some of the other players in the team. But, on the basis of Tuesday’s performance, he clearly has more to give.
If Wan-Bissaka didn’t go in for that challenge and Lingard didn’t make that mistake, United would be top of the group.
But it cannot always be if’s and buts and looking to the blue half of London in Chelsea, they showed how to win on a bad night in Europe.
Romelu Lukaku proved to be the difference with his goal separating both the Blues and Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge, but it did show people that you can win in Europe while not playing well.
The 28-year-old didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the match, but he was the difference and Chelsea had the experience to see out the game on what was a poor display.
After the match, Chelsea’s striker was widely praised for inspiring his team to victory and if it was the other way round for United, Ronaldo would’ve been praised if Solskjaer got the win.
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The difference was down to individual errors and Lukaku has that trust in his new teammates. They’re the champions of Europe.
United need to repay Ronaldo by not making silly errors as they did in Switzerland. If the match continued with 11 men, it would’ve been a different story completely.
It’s something the club needs to learn and in order to be in contention of challenging for any trophies this season, they need to get on the same wavelength as Ronaldo.
Chelsea have it in their squad to be disciplined. Do United? Only time will tell.
What do you think of United’s performance? Follow our new United Fan Brands writer Omar Garrick on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts on the defeat against Young Boys in the comments section below.