What went wrong for Man United and where their season goes from here

Simon Peach 14/03/2018
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Manchester United are left to salvage the season after Tuesday's loss.

Manchester United are reeling from Tuesday’s shock Champions League exit to Sevilla – an abject display that threatens to throw their season into disarray.

Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to secure the Spaniards a deserved 2-1 last-16 second leg win at Old Trafford, where the hosts were jeered off the pitch having only belatedly got their act together as Romelu Lukaku netted.

Here’s a look at Tuesday’s loss and how it leaves Jose Mourinho‘s men.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Something everyone at United is trying to get grips with in the aftershock. The goalless first leg in Sevilla never seemed as sturdy a result as some suggested given the lack of away goal and the hosts’ performance, with only inspired goalkeeping from David De Gea keeping United on level terms.

Instead of heeding that warning, United wilted under the Old Trafford floodlights. Poor tactics, inept individual displays and a questionable attitude allowed Sevilla to progress to the quarter-finals at the fourth time of asking.

The loss was arguably United's most disappointing this season.

The loss was arguably United’s most disappointing this season.

DID MANY PEOPLE SEE THAT COMING?

Well, not given United’s fine form since the first leg, having shown spades of character in beating Chelsea, Crystal Palace and bitter rivals Liverpool to increase their stranglehold on second spot. The Red Devils had won 11 of 15 UEFA competition ties in which they recorded a first-leg away draw, including six of nine when it had ended goalless on the road.

Then, lest we forget, there is the financial gulf between these clubs, along with Sevilla’s struggles at times this season and the fact they had never won on English soil before. Last year they bowed out in the last-16 to Leicester.

Sevilla have been a dangerous team in recent seasons, but the result was still a shock.

Sevilla have been a dangerous team in recent seasons, but the result was still a shock.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE UNITED?

Their last remaining hopes of silverware come in the FA Cup, making Saturday evening’s quarter-final against Brighton all the more important. Mourinho oversaw Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield glory in his first season, but Manchester City’s eye-watering lead means the Premier League is out of reach on the back of Carabao Cup and Champions League exits.

The Portuguese did not take kindly to a Spanish-speaking reporter asking whether that represented failure for United in the post-match press conference.

The FA Cup is now United's only realistic shot at silverware.

The FA Cup is now United’s only realistic shot at silverware.

MOURINHO A BIT CHIPPY?

On a night when it was plain to see the best team won, the United boss claimed their performance was not bad. Mourinho was curt with some journalists in the post-match press conference and attempted to downplay the surprise loss by bringing up the last-16 exits he masterminded from the away dugout at Old Trafford when managing Porto and Real Madrid.

His claims that the exit is not “something new for the club” has not gone down well with many the fans, especially given his side’s negativity over both legs against Sevilla.

Jose Mourinho was in a prickly mood after Tuesday's loss.

Jose Mourinho was in a prickly mood after Tuesday’s loss.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The inquest is ongoing but, as Mourinho pointed out, there is no time for self-pity with Brighton looming large. United fans will demand a response from their under-performing side and FA Cup progress in a match when the manager’s selection and approach will be under scrutiny.

An effective role needs to be found for January signing Alexis Sanchez – that or he needs to be dropped – and Paul Pogba continues to prove a tactical headache for Mourinho, who has the attacking talent but has struggled to effectively shoehorn it into a coherent side.

Given the ongoing questions over style and silverware, you would not blame United fans for making envious glances across to swashbuckling City right now.

Time for Sanchez to be dropped?

Time for Sanchez to be dropped?

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Man United's approach surprises Steven N'Zonzi as Sevilla dream of maiden Champions League quarter-final

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Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi was surprised by Manchester United‘s approach as the Spanish side were allowed to dictate the play and secure a shock Champions League win.

Old Trafford witnessed history on Tuesday evening as the Andalusians chose a timely moment to secure their first ever win on English soil.

Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to score a match-winning brace as Sevilla triumphed 2-1 in the second leg of the last-16 tie, seeing them comfortably through given the first leg ended all square.

United could have few complaints about their exit given a lacklustre display that even surprised the visitors, who feared their best chance of reaching the quarter-finals had passed after a goalless first leg in Spain.

“That’s what I thought because I think we played well at home, but we didn’t score that goal, so we knew it was going to be very hard here at this stadium,” former Blackburn and Stoke midfielder N’Zonzi said.

“But at the end, in football anything can happen and we proved it, so that’s great.

“Even myself, I thought they were going to press a little bit more, but the first 20 minutes we saw that we could keep the ball, we could play our possession game the way we like and we just kept going until the end.”

N’Zonzi said Sevilla performed strongly defensive and the twice capped French international said his team did a great job nullifying United, allowing them to dream ahead of Friday’s quarter-final draw.

“Anything is possible,” he told beIN SPORTS. “That’s football. Just two games, so in two games you can beat anyone.

“We know that it’s hard, it’s always hard against those big teams, but we proved that anything can happen in football.”

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Nemanja Matic admits Manchester United deserved to lose to Sevilla

Simon Peach 14/03/2018
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Nemanja Matic believes Sevilla deserved to go through to the Champions League quarter-finals and admitted there was “no excuse” for Manchester United‘s shocking display.

Listless, dire and abject all aptly the performance produced by Jose Mourinho‘s side at a packed Old Trafford on Tuesday.

David De Gea was the hero of a goalless first leg, but it was Sevilla substitute Wissam Ben Yedder making the headlines this time, hitting a quickfire double to render Romelu Lukaku‘s late goal pointless as the visitors secured a famous 2-1 win in the last 16.

United’s players were deservedly jeered off the pitch but have no time to wallow in self-pity given Brighton arrive on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – their last chance of silverware this season.

“Of course (it is difficult to take),” defensive midfielder Matic said. “We are not happy because we are out of the Champions League.

“But this is football, we have to accept it and to focus on the next game, which is very important also for us, in the FA Cup.

Alexis Sanchez 7

“We focus also for the league, but we have to say congratulations to the team, Sevilla.

“They played really well, and they deserved to go through.”

United’s display lacked the attributes that saw them beat bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.

Mourinho’s men dug deep to edge that Premier League encounter, but Matic refused to use those exertions as a way to explain Tuesday’s lacklustre display against Sevilla.

“There is no excuse,” the defensive midfielder said. “There is no excuse.

“We had a big game, as you know, against Liverpool. We won.

“With high confidence we come to play this game, but today they played better than us and they deserved (to win).”

All eyes will be on Old Trafford on Saturday evening to see how United respond to this embarrassing setback.

Anything but victory against Brighton will send shockwaves around the club and Matic knows they owe supporters a response.

Jose 4

“We have to be focused on that because they’re a good team and we have to win,” the 29-year-old said.

“We have to go with everything to try to go through.

“We know that our supporters are sad because of this result.

“We are also sad, and we have to win to go back to winning ways, so I hope that the team reaction is going to be good.

“We have to forget this. We have to see our mistakes, to see what we have to do better and on Saturday is a new game.

“Life goes on and this is football, we have to accept that.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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