Marouane Fellaini poor as Manchester United are shocked by Southampton
Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton on Saturday finished with jeers from the Old Trafford crowd and more doubts over Louis van Gaal's future.
United succumbed to a late header from substitute Charlie Austin, against a Southampton side who appear to enjoy themselves at Old Trafford; this their second 1-0 win over Van Gaal's United in successive trips.
With several players failing to take responsibility, this performance was a failure of temperament as well as tactics. It is very difficult to see how Van Gaal can retain his job much longer after this showing and the question is how many players may also be considering their futures at Old Trafford.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 6 -- Had little to do and was blameless for Austin's late winner, but a sliced clearance from him summed up his team's day.
DF Matteo Darmian, 5 -- Did not pass the ball particularly well, not looking as composed as he does at his best. Also limped off with another injury to leave Van Gaal facing more headaches over his defence.
DF Chris Smalling, 6 -- Tried to force the tempo by stepping out of defence on a couple of occasions in the second half, one of which runs nearly bore fruit. Regardless, his form is on the wane. Has been one of United's best players this season but has been below-par in recent weeks.
DF Daley Blind, 5 -- Had United's first and only shot on target, but passed the ball with less accuracy and imagination than usual.
DF Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 6 -- Earned his start and although he was not poor, he did not make any telling incursions down the flanks as a left wing-back.
MF Jesse Lingard, 5 -- His sub-par performance as a right wing-back was not for want of trying, but he failed to make much headway against a defence that defended deep, smartly and in numbers.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 3 -- Was withdrawn at half-time after a showing in which he looked off the pace throughout. He was unambitious with his use of the ball, with poor control and uncertain back passes endangering his defence. He also looked awkward off the ball, with flailing elbows too often a feature of his play.
MF Morgan Schneiderlin, 6 -- Had a large workload due to being placed alongside a partner that was not particularly mobile, but made a reasonable amount of passes and covered a great deal of ground.
MF Ander Herrera, 6 -- Had a fair amount of the ball but was not particularly effective with it. Was his team's leading passer, moving fairly well when he did not have possession, and for the second game running was vastly better in the second half.
MF Anthony Martial, 5 -- Did not see too much of the ball, but was not too judicious in his use of it when he did have it, too often running predictably into heavily defended areas instead of stretching defenders by going wide.
FW Wayne Rooney, 5 -- Again worked hard, trying to take up intelligent positions and spread play, and even dropped into his own area to do defensive work, but a player of his calibre should be far more influential on occasions like this.
MF Juan Mata (for Fellaini, 45), 6 -- Passed the ball smartly after the break but failed to create too much of note.
MF Adnan Januzaj (for Borthwick-Jackson), N/R -- Introduced late, but unlike Austin was unable to make a decisive impact. Screwed a shot wide as United searched in vain for an equaliser.
DF Paddy McNair (for Darmian, 60), 6 -- Showed more attacking enterprise than many of his teammates when he came on, though might be held accountable for failing to track Austin for the corner that led to his goal.
Musa Okwonga is a football author, poet, musician, broadcaster and social commentator. He is on Twitter @Okwonga.