Man United talking points as Jose Mourinho faces the firing line after 2-1 loss to Sevilla

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (l) on the touchline against Sevilla.

Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder struck twice in six minutes to seal a 2-1 victory for Sevilla and send awful Manchester United tumbling out of the Champions League at the round-of-16 stage.

French striker Ben Yedder punishingly stroked in from the edge of the area soon after coming on in the 72nd minute, before heading in at the back post from a corner with the host’s defence in tatters.

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku lashed in a consolation to make it 2-1, but it was it was too late to stop the Europa League holders dropping out amid a cacophony of boos at Old Trafford.

The match had previously followed the flow from the goalless first leg, La Liga’s fifth-placed outfit dominating the Premier League’s second best from the off.

MOURINHO’S THE MOMENTUM KILLER

United could not have come into this match in finer fettle.

A revitalising three weeks since the first leg’s retreat in Spain had featured two come-from-behind triumphs, plus this weekend’s commanding 2-1 victory against bitter rivals Liverpool sealed by local boy Marcus Rashford’s brace.

Yet this momentum was killed even before kick-off on Tuesday night.

A collective groan emanated from Old Trafford and beyond when the United XI featured Belgium destroyer Marouane Fellaini and Rashford being switched from the left to right flank in which he wrought destruction four days prior, in deference to the struggling Alexis Sanchez.

Predictability, all the air evaporated from United’s chests.

Profligacy from Vincenzo Montella’s men saw only one shot from 10 reach the target by half time. Within just two minutes of Wissam Ben Yedder’s arrival, they had their cutting edge and United were out.

DAVE CAN’T SAVE EVERYTHING

Mourinho’s miserly game plans rely on the dark defensive arts snuffing out vibrant attacks,

Each triumph is labelled as a victory for the pragmatists.

His supporters have recently decried supposed hypocrisy about the plaudits sent Juventus’ way for their masterful job at Tottenham last week.

Yet, there is a huge difference between what the composed Old Lady pulled off at Wembley and the haggard act Mourinho continues to attempt.

It is not the collective defensive talent that gets United through. The statistics overwhelmingly show it is the unbridled brilliance of David De Gea.

Pre kick-off, he’d repelled 20 of 21 opposition shots faced in Europe this term – Opta data suggested an average goalkeeper would have let in five of these. In the Premier League, he’s faced the fourth-most shots but the team has the second-best defence.

‘Dave saves’ is the banner at Old Trafford. But even his one-man act wasn’t enough against Sevilla.

David De Gea tries desperately to keep out Wissam Ben Yedde's second.

David De Gea tries desperately to keep out Wissam Ben Yedder’s second.

NO PLACE TO HIDE

There can be no ambiguity – United thoroughly and ashamedly deserved this.

The third-most-expensive squad ever assembled had no answer to a Sevilla outfit put together through years of careful bartering and astute scouting.

Over two legs, the bargain-basement Andalusians averaged 54 per cent of possession and had 25 more shots. Don’t forget, they’d never won on English soil on six previous attempts in Europe or progressed to the Champions League’s quarter-finals.

Critically, they appeared a far more coherent unit.

Mourinho still has no clue what to do with – supposedly – stellar winter recruit Sanchez. The Chile forward, at the start, was gifted his favoured left wing yet he had one off-target shot and just 68.8-per-cent pass accuracy.

The decision to start the leaden-footed centre-midfield axis of Fellaini and Nemanja Matic was unforgivably negative.

After nearly two seasons in charge, progress is too staccato. Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final with Brighton looms large.

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Follow live match updates from Man United v Sevilla in the Champions League

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Man United midfielder Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba was fit enough to make the Manchester United bench as Jose Mourinho decided to bring Marouane Fellaini back into the starting line-up against Sevilla.

The 24-year-old missed Saturday’s win against Liverpool through injury but was able to take part in the latter stages of training on Monday and was named on the bench for the Champions League last-16 tie.

Fellaini, back from a knee injury, came in for his first start since November 22 and Marcus Rashford’s match-winning brace saw him retain his place in the starting line-up for the second leg.

Check out live updates from Old Trafford below.

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Barcelona to up ante at Camp Nou while Chelsea need to restrict Lionel Messi influence again

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Barcelona and Chelsea will go head-to-head for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday night.

The two sides couldn’t be separated at Stamford Bridge, with a late Lionel Messi strike cancelling out Willian’s opener to give Barca a crucial away goal.

Blues boss Antonio Conte was heralded for his tactical display in west London as Chelsea soaked up Barcelona possession but allowed the pass-masters limited space to create any openings.

Here, we look at how the re-match could be decided as Conte renews touchline acquaintances with Ernesto Valverde.

Get in touch with your thoughts on the game via Twitter and Facebook.

HOW CAN CHELSEA RESTRICT MESSI’S INFLUENCE?

The Argentine only had one shot on goal in the first leg, but what did he do with that? Score, of course.

Messi (96) and Suarez (46) had the fewest touches of all Barca’s midfield and attacking players, with the Blues doing well to stop the supply line to them.

Between them, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic made just four key passes in west London with Marcos Alonso, Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante weighing in with 15 tackles and interceptions between them – often stifling positive looking build up.

On what seems like a bigger pitch in Catalonia, giving Barcelona the chance to spread the play, it will be difficult for Chelsea to adopt their close pressing, hassling and harrying mantra once more. Barca are just too good to be kept quiet for 90 minutes.

Antonio Conte got it right but Messi uncontainable

Conte got it right in the first leg and kept Messi largely underwraps.

BARCELONA TO UP THE ANTE

Ernesto Valverde’s first season at the Camp Nou has followed an almost-perfect script, but this is the biggest test of his tenure.

The ex-Athletic Bilbao coach was outfoxed by Conte two weeks ago, with the Italian’s side soaking up Barcelona’s superior 73-per-cent possession, shackling the Catalans’ attacking talent by closing down at close quarters and playing more on the break.

Valverde seemingly had little to no answers to break down that obstinate resolve and relied on a misplaced Andreas Christensen pass, coupled with some Iniesta and Messi magic, to escape with a draw.

Expect Barca to make home advantage count, try to move the ball quicker and ensure their full-backs restrict the Blues’ wing play this time around.

The hosts needs to put the Blues on the backfoot early on.

CHELSEA NEED TO THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND

The former Juventus and Italy manager’s tactics have come in for plenty of stick in recent weeks, especially in the defeat at Manchester City, but Conte is shrewder than he is given credit for and deployed the perfect strategic footprint in the opening leg which should have brought about a 1-0 lead.

However, on Spanish soil, the Blues will need to be a bit more fluid in search of a vital away goal – and need to score to have a chance of going through.

Eden Hazard, who will probably occupy the false-nine role, is a man they should rely on given he has top-scored with 15 so far this term.

Both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud should have an important role to play too – but that’ll probably be from the bench.

Willian

Willian scored Chelsea’s goal at the Bridge.

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