Manchester United fans can afford to smile for the time being after their side pulled off a remarkable comeback to win 3-2 over Newcastle United.
The Red Devils found themselves trailing 2-0 barely ten minutes into a match of huge significance for Jose Mourinho’s future at the club.
Kenedy’s seventh-minute goal put the visitors ahead before Yoshinori Muto doubled their advantage three minutes later to compound the hostile mood around Old Trafford.
Eager to recover from the nightmare start, Mourinho opted for the bold decision to call upon one of his substitutions less than halfway through the first period.
Juan Mata emerged from the dugout with 19 minutes on the clock, and one can only imagine how Eric Bailly must’ve felt when he saw his number light up the fourth official’s electronic board.
The Ivorian – who’s played just 200 minutes of Premier League football despite featuring in five matches this season – can’t have been thrilled with the change.
Introducing Mata looks a stroke of genius given how the remainder of proceedings played out, but that’s not what Rio Ferdinand took from the situation, though.
Mourinho has been critical of his defensive personnel throughout the campaign, and the former United defender feels what happened to Bailly on Saturday speaks volumes.
“I feel sorry for Scott McTominay – he’s a central midfielder being forced to play centre-half,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport during the half-time break.
“And this guy… I don’t see a way back for Bailly,” he said while watching a replay of him taking his leave.
“Dragged off – the manager stated the last game he doesn’t have defenders who can play the ball out from the back and he’s been made the fall guy here.”
Here’s what the Red Devils faithful had to say about the prospect of their £30 million centre-centre-back having no future at Old Trafford…
As can often be the case, Ferdinand and Scholes’ comments were made largely redundant by a superb turnaround from their old club.
The players were unrecognisable to those who moped around in the first half and Mourinho surely deserves some credit for his contribution to that.
However, it’s difficult to gauge whether this victory can serve as a clean slate for United or merely a small boost before the dressing room turns sour once again.