Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United: Five lessons we learned

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By: Sam P – The Peoples Person – www.thepeoplesperson.com

Just when you think it can’t get any worse. Manchester United could not afford to let Sunderland control the game and in the first 15 minutes, there were few chances from either side.

United had their first real chance when Ryan Giggs hit the bar with a deflected effort and a sustained period of pressure saw Sunderland camped in their own half but still, the score remained 0-0. Adnan Januzaj had the ball in the back of the net just before half-time but it was ruled out thanks to an offside.

Just before half time, Sunderland took the lead through a Giggs own goal.

United needed to approach the game better in the second half and got an equaliser through a Nemanja Vidic corner less than ten minutes into it but then a soft penalty decision allowed Borini to put Sunderland back in front.

From then on, United never looked like scoring and it was a limp, dismal finish to a game they should have been desperate to win.

Three losses in a row and no light at the end of the tunnel.

Absolutely no defending that performance. That was atrocious. It looked like most of United’s players didn’t care what the result was. Far too many players were simply passengers in the game, most of them in fact.

United’s season is going to absolute pot yet there are still plenty of players who are jogging around at a canter. They should be sprinting, chasing the ball down at every opportunity ready to pile the pressure on Sunderland but they aren’t.

You really can’t defend that from either Moyes or the players. They should have taken the game by the scruff of the neck and shoved it down Sunderland’s throat. Instead, we sat back and tickled their belly, letting them beat us with consummate ease.

Where’s the winning mentality gone?

Caveman football. United have always used width as one of our main assets going forward but Moyes’ United try and exploit it to the nth degree.

Whenever we had the ball on the edge of the box, we had no idea what to do apart from pass it wide and hope for somebody to send in a decent cross. It was rinse and repeat all night of cross and clearance.

Only Januzaj had any sort of creative spark on his mind to do something different. It was the most predictable and frustrating attacking display United have shown all season on a night where they simply had to perform.

Adnan Januzaj. Once again, Januzaj was fantastic. In many respects, he was the only one who looked like a true United player. Always hungry for the ball and willing to run forward, all of our positive forward play through Januzaj.

But for United to be reliant on an 18-year-old for a creative spark is ridiculous and Januzaj should not have that much pressure on his shoulders at that age.

It is both startling and worrying that two months ago Januzaj was an unknown player when he scored a brace at the Stadium of Light in comparison to tonight, where he was our main attacking focus. Our other players have got to stand up and be accounted for.

Wrong substitutions, wrong time. As soon as Borini scored a penalty, Moyes needed to make a change and impact the game but instead, he persisted with the same XI who did nothing but tap on the door of Sunderland’s goal from open play.

Then when he did make a change, Fletcher came on for Cleverley. It wasn’t exactly an inspiring change when the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Wilfried Zaha were on the bench.

Unsurprisingly, it did nothing to create any more chances for us and Javier Hernandez’s introduction three minutes from time was a case of too little, too late.