Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United didn’t exactly bring smiles to the faces of football fans around the world on Wednesday night but one reporter left the Red Devils’ boss so happy that he offered up a hug to BT’s Des Kelly.
The Champions League has given us some very entertaining games in the last week. Night one gave us Juventus and Spurs topsy turvy 2-2 draw, night two offered up Real Madrid and PSG’s 3-1 tussle, in between Manchester City and Liverpool served up batterings to Basel and Porto respectively.
Then this week Chelsea and Barcelona played out an intriguing 1-1 battle in which Willian hit the woodwork twice and it was Bayern’s turn for the hammering, putting five past Besiktas. Wednesday though was drab, even if Shakhtar did beat Roma it was United and Sevilla who left us changing over to the Brits.
Jose Mourinho’s side didn’t ever look like they were going to try to hard to win their second round match in Spain and despite David de Gea making an incredible save Sevilla weren’t up to breaking through United’s parked bus.
The big story before the game was Paul Pogba being left on the bench and though the Frenchman came on after 16 minutes because of Ander Herrera’s injury it was all anyone wanted to talk about, much to the annoyance of Jose. When he found a journalist who wanted to talk about something else, well…
“Scott McTominay played very well…”
“Can I hug you?! Thank you, thank you!”
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 21, 2018
McTominay was playing in just his fourth game in Europe and it was only his second start in the Champions League, in United’s first game in the knockout stages in four years.
The 21 year old was a defensive shield in midfield and hassled and harried well all game, not giving Steven N’Zonzi or Ever Banega much time on the ball.
Pre-match the thought was that Pogba was being left on the bench because he was still suffering from the illness that kept him out of the FA Cup game last weekend against Huddersfield but his introduction after 16 minutes rather squashed that theory.
The Frenchman has been in poor form of late but United fans won’t want to see him stuck on the bench for very long, the injury to Herrera may help that problem.
United will need to hope that Pogba, McTominay and everyone else are on form in the second leg otherwise it could be curtains for them in the Champions League this season.