Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Phil Jones get 5/10 in Man United defeat
Where do Manchester United go from here? There were good signs, but they were sadly far outweighed by the bad.
In some ways, this 3-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur -- their second in two games in the Premier League -- was more dispiriting than their defeat to Brighton. Against Brighton, they showed a lack of intensity throughout; here, spurred on by six changes to their starting eleven, they nevertheless succumbed to a counter-attacking performance of the most ruthless efficiency. The start of the performance was far more positive, which is what made the closing stages all the more disappointing.
Jesse Lingard, save one crucial miss at 0-2, was very, very good, and Luke Shaw was the pick of the team -- he has arguably been his team's best player in each of the first three games of the season.
United started very well, and at a remarkable tempo, but then regressed in both match control and decision-making, their midfielders and defenders caught out of position time and again. And Romelu Lukaku still looks off the pace this season.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Jose Mourinho took great risks with his selection, which was to be applauded, but each of them backfired -- Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic were both exposed in unfamiliar defensive roles, and Phil Jones looked more and more unsure of himself as the match went on. The replacements fared little better.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
David De Gea, 6 -- His passing was unusually ambitious though fairly accurate in the early stages, but his handling was a little less secure than usual.
DF Luke Shaw, 8 -- Tirelessly surged down the flank with pace, purpose and invention, the only consistent highlight of a very disappointing evening for the home side at Old Trafford.
DF Ander Herrera, 6 -- Began with a fine half yet he regressed, exposed in an unfamiliar position. Made perhaps the game's finest tackle to deny Dele Alli, yet got drawn into conceding a yellow card and thereafter was on the back foot.
DF Phil Jones, 5 -- Was very fortunate not to concede a first-half penalty and left Harry Kane unattended for the game's opening goal. Lost composure as the match progressed.
DF Chris Smalling, 6 -- Had a mostly strong outing that ended in failure as he allowed Lucas Moura through to clinch the match. His passing was better than usual, but his tendency to make a glaring error arose again.
DF Antonio Valencia, 6 -- Some excellent passing down the flank in the early stages, with good defensive discipline, but as the game wore on more creativity was needed from him, and he did not provide it.
MF Nemanja Matic, 5 -- A good start to the match, but then he was eagerly targeted by Spurs' press, inhibiting United's ability to play out quickly from the back. Lost effectiveness thereafter.
MF Fred, 6 -- A performance of high intensity, and little creativity -- but over time lacking in positional discipline as Spurs pushed onwards.
MF Paul Pogba, 5 -- A sub-par performance from a player whose euphoric summer seems further and further away. At his best he was sublime, going close with two strikes and spreading the play superbly, yet he was too often caught in possession or looking for better options.
FW Jesse Lingard, 7 -- Was quick of thought and foot and had he scored would have been his team's best player. Looked a level above most of his teammates throughout.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 5 -- His second awful miss at 0-0 in consecutive matches again cost United dearly, and his positioning and passing suggest that he has not yet regained the sharpness he showed this summer.
FW Alexis Sanchez, 6 -- Showed good energy but not much end product when it truly mattered.
DF Victor Lindelof, 5 -- Looked badly out of his depth from the moment of his introduction, with his confidence nowhere to be seen. He is a far better player than this.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 6 -- Was unable to control the tempo of the game, but made a fair contribution, passing and keeping the ball responsibly.