Oct 23, 2013, 6:58 PM EST
Coming into today’s match, the performances was as important as the result. It’s a sentiment David Moyes echoed in his pre-match news conference, explaining his team had trained well in the days leading up to Manchester United’s Champions League meeting with Real Sociedad. The end goal: Translate their best moments into actual goals, hopefully leaving themselves beyond the reach of the type of one-off moments that saw them drop points this weekend to Southampton.
Despite Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Sociedad, United failed to meet that standard. Iñigo Martínez’s second minute own goal ended up deciding the match, even if close calls from Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones almost gave United insurance. Still, as the second half went on and Real Sociedad continued to find room to build through the midfield, this game had the feeling of what’s become a typical Manchester United performance. Had Sociedad played better, we would have seen a repeat of this weekend’s result.
That’s not to say there weren’t positives. Wayne Rooney, except for a poor finish in the second half, was fabulous. It’s a pleasure to see him reclaim this status. Phil Jones and Jonny Evans helped keep a clean sheet, and Antonio Valencia was his typical (if limited) self down the right flank. Nobody ever said Manchester United were a bad team, hence their lead in their Champions League group (up two points on Bayer Leverkusen).
But for Moyes, there seem to be four big problems. First, he’s conceded the team need to be better, thus confirming the problem. Second, looking at the squad he’s inherited, it’s impossible to disagree. United’s is a very talented squad. Third, even if you wanted to nit-pick as to how talented they are, last year’s league title provides some evidence of their quality. But finally, and perhaps most damning, this team’s playing with the exact same approach Moyes instilled at Everton. This is top-table talent performing with mid-table mentality.
The one caveat when looking at today’s performance is the starting XI. There was no Robin van Persie. Marouane Fellaini was out. Adnan Januzaj was given the day off, and neither Nemanja Vidic nor Rio Ferdinand were in the middle of defense. This wasn’t unlike a team Alex Ferguson, implicitly dismissive of group stage challenges, would have chosen, with a close call result to match.
In that sense, it would be too hard on Moyes if we saw this as the extension of something bigger, though the bottom line remains the same. The United boss wanted a different kind of performance from his team, and he didn’t get. Whether that’s an extension of the manager’s mentality, the team still failed to meet their goals. We saw progress in the win column but not the performance.
Dec 18, 2013, 7:57 PM EST
You need this to keep up – because this has been a period of managerial transition like none other in Major League Soccer:
Dec 18, 2013, 7:05 PM EST
He gets a mulligan on a 2013 that went all kinds of wrong:
Dec 18, 2013, 6:09 PM EST
City, United are on opposite sides of the bracket for January’s semifinals.
Dec 18, 2013, 5:30 PM EST
A rocket from Ashley Young broke a second half stalemate and moved the Red Devils into the League Cup’s last four.
Dec 18, 2013, 4:59 PM EST
Tim Sherwood’s debut as caretaker for Spurs ends in disappointment as West Ham come back at White Hate Lane.
Dec 18, 2013, 4:35 PM EST
A late penalty kick sends the host nation’s representatives on to face Bayern Munich.
Dec 18, 2013, 4:04 PM EST
The former league MVP may get a second go in his hometown:
Dec 18, 2013, 3:28 PM EST
Coming off that awful season, United makes the New York Red Bulls’ striker the first pick of Wednesday’s Stage Two Re-entry draft:
Dec 18, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
If Brek Shea cannot get into Mark Hughes’ lineup or on his bench for the this competition … :
Dec 18, 2013, 2:31 PM EST
Saints’ hot-headed striker in hot water, after sideline scuffle brings FA charge his way:
Dec 18, 2013, 2:10 PM EST
An in-depth look at the land-locked region where intense rivalries burn brightly, while industry, fandom and history unite:
Dec 18, 2013, 12:15 PM EST
With a massive opportunity to impress, here’s how Spurs’ interim boss can stick around:
Dec 18, 2013, 11:03 AM EST
Impact hand reigns to ex-Chicago Fire boss, as Klopas signs three-year deal:
Dec 18, 2013, 10:35 AM EST
Top Spanish sides investigated as “irregular public funding” is alleged by EU. Do new Financial Fair Play rules have anything to do with this?
Dec 18, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
After another defeat, the ‘Special One’ bemoans Chelsea’s lack of ruthlessness:
Dec 18, 2013, 9:15 AM EST
De Rosario, Ruiz and Ferreira all up for grabs. Plus plenty of other gems available:
Dec 18, 2013, 8:32 AM EST
After everything, Becks’ love for United remains. And the ex-MLS star sees a bright future ahead for United:
Dec 18, 2013, 7:43 AM EST
Were Spurs’ players 100 percent behind AVB? Apparently so…
Dec 17, 2013, 11:02 PM EST
Rounding up the smaller bits of news and other happenings around Major League Soccer:
Dec 17, 2013, 10:14 PM EST
Today’s news moves us one painful step closer to an awful, perhaps inevitable, destination:
- Young’s blast, Evra’s insurance see Manchester United into League Cup semifinals 0
- Late Jarvis, Maiga goals see West Ham past Tottenham, into League Cup semifinals 0
- Welcome to the Midlands: A trip to the heartland of English soccer 1
- Frank Klopas named Montreal Impact head coach 2
- Real Madrid, Barcelona under investigation from EU 2
- Brad Friedel: Tottenham players backed Andre Villas-Boas 2
- Tottenham is using blood spinning treatment on its players, and nobody seems to know if it’s doping (12)
- Report: Clint Dempsey will join Fulham on Jan. 1 for two-month loan (11)
- Spurs in hunt for new boss after sacking Andre Villas-Boas (10)
- MLS announces Bayern Munich as opponent for 2014 All-Star Game in Portland (7)
- Intel’s giving Barcelona $25 million for a kit sponsorship you may never see (7)
- Hodgson's Manaus Plan is Flawed
- Wilmer Cabrera on WC Draw: ''It's an Even Group''
- Germany Building Training Facility in Brazil
- Spain Thinking of US Camp Before World Cup
- Don't count out Chile in WC Group B
- Kicking it Off with a Final
- VIDEO: Visa World Cup Promo
- Aurelien Collin: I Think France is Very Very Happy
- Klinsmann Shouldn't Have Been Re-signed Before WC
- You Can't Beat German Sachlichkeit