Stats prior to the game were all against United. Every since man learnt to play football, English sides have not beaten Spanish in finals. Unai Emery, a coach who is a serial winner of the Europa League. United, coming in awful form into this game with key players injured. I was worried before even we kicked a ball.
Then I saw the line up. I was dumbfounded. Pogba and Scott in the middle. That never worked whenever we played. Ole buckled to the occasion to keep all his key players on the pitch. At the expense of what? Pogba is no longer box to box, nor does he have the legs. His successful stints have all been playing off the left of a diamond. Greenwood deserved to start. Cavani up front of course.
Villareal typically played to tactics. Play keep ball. Slow the tempo to sleep mode and of course keep Bruno out of the game. It worked beautifully. Bruno never got into attacking positions because Pogba and Scott were not able to hold fort. Eventually in second half, Scott started darting through. But there was fortune even in the way we equalized. Unai used substitutes to his strength. Changing tired legs.
United under Ole never makes changes. It does not matter if you have a weaker bench. When players on the pitch do not have the legs, or if the midfield is outrun, you gotta ring in the changes. He did none of it. His most eminent subs only for the shootout.
With the likes of Dan James, Fred, Mata, Amad and Matic on the bench, he made no effective substitutions. Rashford at the end of the game said players, some of them carrying injuries from September and sacrificing for the team. What the fuck does that even mean? If you are injured get off the pitch. The likes of Donny have not even had a run in this team this year despite half of the team apparently constantly injured.
Ole is not a winning manager. He doesn’t have the presence of mind to tweak the game according to the situation. This is on Ole and not the players.