Manchester United were defeated by Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, 2-1, as the Red Devils missed out on their first opportunity to win silverware this season. Real Madrid dominated possession with more than 63% of the ball as Manchester United spent much of the game chasing Los Blancos.
Manchester United must shake off their UEFA Super Cup loss and prepare for Sunday’s Premier League week 1 match against West Ham. Jose Mourinho must regoup quickly, and as the Red Devils prepare for the Hammers, here are three lessons learned from the UEFA Super Cup.
1. Isco is an underrated star
Real Madrid’s Isco was brilliant in the cup match. The attacking midfielder had an 88% pass success rate, 88 touches and continually drew fouls every time he had the ball. Not only was he able to create space for himself, but Isco was capable of accelerating past Manchester United defenders.
Some may have questioned why Real Madrid was happy to let James Rodriguez go to Bayern Munich, but Isco’s UEFA Super Cup performance will have shown them why the Colombian was allowed to leave. Isco’s goal in the second half was a silky smooth one-two with Gareth Bale, and it was everything Manchester United couldn’t do on the night. No wonder Mourinho wants Bale as badly as he does.
2. VAR would have helped United
Say what you want about the Video Assistant Referee, but Manchester United would have sung its praises had the VAR been used in Macedonia. Real Madrid’s opening goal from Casemiro came from the player starting in an offside position. VAR would have ruled the goal out, and the first half would have finished nil-nil. After 90 minutes, it would have been 1-1.
3. Manchester United have a long way to go
Sure, Manchester United were up against – arguably – the best team in the world, but Mourinho’s team were played off the park much of the time. Isco’s goal was an example of the quality in defence the Red Devils lack. Manchester United’s bench depth is so poor that Mourinho had to call on Marouane Fellaini as one of his substitutes. Marcus Rashford wasn’t great off the bench either, although they did bring some life to the team due to being fresh.
Romelu Lukaku’s open goal miss nearly killed any chance of a Manchester United comeback. The Red Devils still have plenty of holes for all the money they have spent, and the bench isn’t great at Old Trafford. Sure, they will finish in the top four of the Premier League, but they aren’t elite like Real Madrid in Europe.
Manchester United’s goal wasn’t from any great creative play from Paul Pogba, it was a tap in from Lukaku from a Keylor Navas save that shot straight out to the striker. The team are still lacking quality throughout the squad and look more likely of being defensive than attacking. In all fairness, Manchester United were much better in the final 15 minutes.
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