A Typically Frustrating Defeat
OK, we were bad. But I've warned you. I've told everyone we should not play O'Shea in midfield, because when he's not so bad there, he still jinxes the team.
It was probably the worst performance of the season so we're lucky. We're lucky, as it was a relatively meaningless game, given that we are still top of the group and a win at Celtic Park or two draws in the last two games would ensure first place so it's not a disaster and I daresay we should not think it was United's real face - that one we had seen at Bolton.
When I saw the starting line-up, I began to suspect that something will go wrong. As I've indicated, I'm seriously superstitious about O'Shea's midfield role as we've never played well when he was tucked in there in this season. This time he wasn't very bad - he managed to give in a thoroughly average performance, just like everyone else did.
Rooney and Solskjaer did not really look like a good partnership but it's way too early to tell. Both spurned some good chance in front of goal so we could easily have won this game though that would have been largely undeserved. Why? Simply because they were more determined, committed, they wanted to win. United players wanted to go home as soon as possible, or so it seemed.
But the point is, that I can't really blame them. It's not a very professional attitude to hate these games but what can we do with it? All games can't be won, obviously. Sometimes the team must play badly, as nobody can expect them to thrash everyone like they did with poor Bolton. Portsmouth visit Old Trafford on Saturday and we can open up a three-point gap on Chelsea at least until Sunday. If the lads do it, I won't complain about the Champions League game.
There were positives, of course. For one, I had time to think about the sweetness of victories as they are made all the sweeter by these games - these 1-0 defeats on a terrible pitch with a performance lacking any kind of imagination, verve or flair. We must witness these frustrating defeats as they give meaning to the superb displays we have come to expect from the team. And that's why I do not want to write a detailed analysis of the performance now - we all know it wasn't the real United, don't we? If we manage something similar against Pompey, then I'm ready to start looking for all the things that went wrong.