Taking a point from an away game against one of Europe's top teams is never a bad result. Indeed, because they play in the Ukrainian league, Shakhtar Donetsk have not quite received the respect they deserve.

They are undoubtedly a top-quality team but while a draw was a good result for Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, their overall performance did not merit the final scoreline.  

The defensive performance was encouraging. Nemanja Vidic looked back to his battling best and Chris Smalling didn't look too bad beside him. Furthermore, it's nice to have a player like Rafael back in the team - he offers genuine pace and an attacking threat that Smalling and Phil Jones definitely do not. 

But while the defence was improved, the attack and midfield were frankly abysmal. Robin Van Persie, for all his little dribbles and sidesteps, added very little value to the squad. Yes, the team could have done a better job making chances for him but he wasn't his usual free scoring self.

I do, however, admire the defensive shift he put in. Summer signing Marouane Fellaini was absolutely and shockingly incompetent. I never thought he would be the solution to the midfield problem but I sure never imagined that he would add to it. Yes, he harassed the Shakhtar team and even (kind of) grabbed an assist, but his overall play was horrifying.

He gave the ball away more times that I can count and looked a very nervous presence in the position he was assigned - the link between midfield and striker. It is unfathomable to me that a player of Shinji Kagawa's quality is left on the bench and instead a defensive midfielder is thrown into his favoured position. Fellaini is a decent player - just not in attacking midfield. 

Worse still was Tom Cleverley. United fans have this weird fascination with Cleverley - he's never been an exceptional player but a couple of good performances at the beginning of the 2011/12 season and United fans began thinking of him as a messiah.

Cleverley was sloppy and added nothing to the team but his work rate. His passing ability leaves a lot to be desired and he has absolutely no eye for goal. It is therefore beyond my comprehension why he was even included in the team.

Surely Fellaini would have done a better job in that position - in which case Kagawa or Adnan Januzaj could have been included.  As a side note, Antonio Valencia needs a new trick because every team seems to have him figured out - he's totally ineffective at present.

While David Moyes should be happy with the result, that is all he should be happy about. The team was frighteningly bereft of any ideas in the final third, given the rare occasions on which they even got that far.

Even Michael Carrick gave the ball away more than often (although his composure is remarkable). Scoring early and parking the bus is a viable tactic to use once or twice a season but itt shouldn't be a default. Moyes needs to get United attacking again if he wants to keep his job. Thankfully the excellent Wayne Rooney should be back soon.

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Topics:
#Football
#Manchester United
#UEFA Champions League