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Transfer Rater: Varane to Man United

Football Whispers

Transfer Rater: Nabil Fekir to Arsenal

Football Whispers
 By Musa Okwonga

Sanchez, Fellaini 4/10 as Man United exit Champions League

Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder scored two goals in four minutes in the second half to shock Manchester United and send Jose Mourinho's men crashing out of the round of 16.
Substitute Wissam Ben Yedder scored two goals in four minutes in the second half to shock Manchester United and send Jose Mourinho's men crashing out of the round of 16.
The ESPN FC panel don't mince their words when discussing the manner in which Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League.
Following the defeat against Sevilla, the ESPN FC crew discuss how much patience the Manchester United board have left for Jose Mourinho.
Jose Mourinho downplays his side's Champions League exit following their 2-1 defeat at home against Sevilla.

Manchester United tumbled out of the UEFA Champions League with a performance as baffling as the one against Liverpool just a few days earlier was rousing. Jose Mourinho made several changes to the lineup, which visibly halted the team's momentum, and Sevilla benefitted from this side's lack of chemistry, casting aside their poor domestic form to prevail by two goals to one. The inquest following this game will continue for several weeks, or at least it should do.


Romelu Lukaku got the goal he deserved for his prodigious efforts. Eric Bailly, after a slow start, made some vital interventions in the second half.


Alexis Sanchez often looked aimless and Marcus Rashford ran into too many congested areas. Marouane Fellaini, though he went close with one effort, failed to impose himself upon the midfield. However, their struggles were vastly amplified by the tactics that Mourinho chose.

Manager rating out of 10

3 -- Mourinho simply seemed to get this absolutely wrong. He benched Scott McTominay, who had developed a good relationship in midfield with Nemanja Matic, for Fellaini -- and he replaced Juan Mata, vital to United's fluency in attack against Liverpool, with Jesse Lingard. This move completely disrupted the supply to United's forwards, and it is remarkable that Lukaku made as much headway as he did.

These tactics invited untold pressure on United's backline, who faced 45 attempts on goal in two games -- 11 of which David De Gea had to save. Sadly, he could not save them all.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 7 -- Had a good game, though perhaps at fault a little for the second. Again isolated far too often by lapses in concentration ahead of him, and repelled almost as much as he could.

DF Antonio Valencia, 5 -- Caught out of position a little too often and though he made good inroads in the final third at times he looked uncomfortable against Sevilla's sophistication on the break.

DF Chris Smalling, 5 -- Looked uncertain when stepping out of defensive, much less sure of himself than in recent weeks.

DF Eric Bailly, 7 -- A poor start with some loose passing, but recovered to become United's best defender on the night. One last-ditch challenge in particular was superb.

DF Ashley Young, 5 -- Did not make much impact going forward, though he was defensively diligent again. Disappointing given the quality of his performance against Liverpool.

Once again, Alexis Sanchez struggled in a Manchester United shirt.

MF Nemanja Matic, 5 -- Was overwhelmed in midfield, partly due to the lack of mobility from Fellaini alongside him. Was too high up the pitch at times, exposing his defence.

MF Marouane Fellaini, 4 -- Should probably not have started a game of this intensity, especially with McTominay coming into such good form. Time and again his passing and positioning was poor, and though he had a good effort on goal that did not compensate for United's loss of control in midfield.

MF Jesse Lingard, 5 -- Did not manage to link midfield with attack, being deployed essentially as a defensive No. 10. Worked hard but could not find the space or the precision of passing to open up Sevilla.

MF Marcus Rashford, 5 -- Too often found himself crowded out or forced into harmless areas. Lost possession a little too easily and his decision-making after beating the first man on the dribble too frequently got him into trouble. 

MF Alexis Sanchez, 4 -- His problems in this game, worryingly enough, were nothing to do with his workrate. He forced the play, as he always does, but could not find enough accuracy with his long or short range passing and often seemed to run into danger without surveying his options first.

FW Romelu Lukaku, 7 -- One of the few players to emerge with real credit from this fixture. His intelligent movement all across the line deserved better and he found space fairly regularly. He missed a good late chance but was rewarded a couple of minutes after that with an excellent finish.


MF Paul Pogba, 5 (for Fellaini, 60 mins) -- Came on with 30 minutes to go but created little - perhaps largely due to the fact he was in such a deep-lying position. All the same, though, he was unable to make a major impact.

MF Juan Mata, n/a (for Valencia, 77) -- Did not get into the flow of the game as much as he would have liked.

MF Anthony Martial, n/a (for Lingard, 77) -- Perhaps unlucky not to start given Sanchez's poor recent form. Looked briefly threatening here, but too little too late.

Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.


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