Manchester United’s Europa League hopes are hanging by a thread after they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Thursday.
Marouane Fellaini was one United player whose performance was met with backlash on social media but the Belgium international has revealed where he and his teammates went wrong.
In a report that will disappoint Louis van Gaal, the midfielder admitted United’s players didn’t follow the manager’s gameplan.
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Even former professional Paul Scholes couldn’t work out what United’s tactics were, so imagine what the casual fan made of the Red Devils’ performance.
Daniel Sturridge gave Liverpool the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute and, though Fellaini reckons his team improved in the second half, they were helpless to prevent Roberto Firmino adding a second in the 73rd minute.
Per Goal, Fellaini told UEFA: “I think in the first half, we didn’t respect the gameplan of the manager, so it was difficult for us.
“The second-half we did well, we did better, had more possession, tried to create chances but tonight we didn’t do enough to score a goal.”
United barely threatened Simon Mignolet’s goal - they only had one shot on target throughout the entire 90 minutes.
United have De Gea to thank
Most of the action was in United’s half and if it wasn’t for David de Gea, the away team might have conceded four or five times.
Fellaini acknowledged the outstanding efforts of the Spaniard, saying: “Everyone knows the quality of David - he kept us in the game a few times.
“He did well tonight. Now we have a second chance at Old Trafford and it is possible [to come back]. We can score goals – we did it before, so I think it will be great to see the next game.”
Fellaini is optimistic, but he’s one of a few associated with United who are. Scholes didn’t hold back in his post-game assessment, issuing a withering verdict.
“They were a shambles,” Scholes told BT Sport, per the Daily Mail. “The lack of quality and fight...when you are United, there are certain standards you have to be at, and they haven’t made them. When we were playing we were reaching them. These players are falling well short.
Get off social media
“The worst thing is these players now apologising on Twitter and Facebook. Just get out there and play! These players that have come in for £300million are no better than the players that have been allowed to leave the club.
“For 20 years Manchester United had an identity. You were going to play fast football, going to pass the ball forward, tackle, run. The last three years they have gone away from something that worked.”
It doesn’t bode well for United if the players aren’t even following Van Gaal’s instructions.