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Friday Recap: United Were Almost Laughably Dismal

I cannot let the Zenit game pass without talking about it: it was quite a meaningless game - every single league game is more important - but United's performance was unacceptable.

On Friday night, there were occasions when I simply laughed because we were so dismal that it beggared belief. I don't think we've played this badly since that 4-1 reverse at Middlesbrough in 2005.

OK, in the first half we totally dominated possession, you may say. Yes, but only because we took no risks and our defenders were happy to pass around while in midfield there was very little movement and Rooney, less diligent than usual, became totally isolated.

In the second half, Zenit already one up, they realised that if they press us we are bound to lose the ball and with the mood we were in we were not likely to chase them properly to retrieve it. And so it happened: they even started to have more possession as well as more dangerous chances whereas some of our players - Scholes, Anderson and to a lesser extent Nani - looked like they were not even bothered about the game.

It is quite unacceptable. Every team can have off-days but we cannot give it up without a fight. The only player who earned any praise was Carlos Tevez: he was our best performer by a mile and some more. He was willing to run, he was dangerous, he provided plenty of ammunition - and of course he supplied the assist for the consolation goal.

But before that happened we had been embarassed by Danny who picked up the ball at the halfway line, ran at everybody, beat everybody and smashed the ball home. We didn't even make a creditable attempt to tackle or at least foul him. Rio let him go without trying anything to stop him...

But Vidic's goal, finally, woke the team up. For the last 20 minutes we played the way we should have from the kickoff: we pushed them hard, we chased every ball and created good chances. But we wouldn't have deserved the equaliser: that would have been hugely unjust on Zenit who were the better team for 75 minutes.

On Scholes' moment of madness: I found it funny, to be honest. It somehow epitomised the lack of professionalism we've shown all night but by that time I could not be angry. I just laughed in disbelief.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 1 2008

Time: 8:27AM

Your Comments

I was absolutely amazed at United's performance. Fergie said he didn't want to lose, and we started of in that mindset, with Zenit hardly touching the ball for the first few minutes. But after that, the team seemed to decide that they couldn't really be bothered: if they won, it was a bonus, nothing else. There wasn't the pain of defeat, but it still felt disappointing to see us over-run by a good team, yes, but one that we really should beat. Rooney was worryingly disinterested - a far cry from his normal win at all costs mentality. The defence sort of gave up about half way through the first half, and the only player who turned in a decent performance was Tevez - he was again terrific and deserved a goal. As for Scholes... don't start me on him. I didn't know whether to laugh or to be embarassed. It was just so obvious I don't know WHAT he was thinking.
Man utd champions
Less of the doom and gloom, there were certainly moments of quality - especially the Vidic goal (Rooney did well to make something of Nani's poor corner, and Tevez passed it for Vidic to slot home) and also Tevez's work for Rooney's shot which unfortunately got caught under his feet; and what should have been a goal for Park after a quality ball from Rooney. Oh, and results at the weekend certainly cheered me up, with Liverpool and Chelsea both drawing (it was a bit early for the Champions talk, me thinks) so if we manage to win at Anfield, we will be level on points with Liverpool, with a game in hand. Perhaps things are looking up after all.
Man utd champions
Worst nightmare ever? City are in for Berbatov! I'm serious. Apparantly, Tottenham accepted a bid from Man City! But Berbatov wants Champions League football, doesn't he? He can get that at United; he can't at City...
Man utd champions
Surely, after all the huffing and puffing, he won't settle for a team that's worse than spurs? Where will all this european glory he claims to want be then?
Tosswink
we got him!!!!! anyways, i have to agree on the zenit game. by the time it came to scholesy's volleyball audition i just had to laugh. it was, as you say, just laughable by that point in the game.
Heinke
I really don't think we were that bad. We were outplayed by a very, very tidy team who oozed match sharpness- which was, in my opinion, the main thing we lacked on the night. Nani had a terrible game, but apart from that we were, at worst, a little disjointed and lacking in a cutting edge that will surely come with more games.
letranger
 

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