5 Things Learnt from United’s Elimination


Manchester United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16. Atletico Madrid defeated them 0-1 at the Old Trafford; winning 2-1 on aggregate. Renan Lodi’s first half header proved substantial to take Simeone’s side to the Quarter Finals. Consequently, this concludes another trophy-less season for the Red Devil’s with this elimination from the UCL.

Hence; Let us look at 5 things to takeaway from the defeat against Atletico.

Ragnick goes bold with United

Three changes were made to the team that defeated Tottenham 3-2 on Saturday. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford started on the bench; with Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Elanga replacing them. Ragnick took Fernandes off in the second half, much to the disappointment of the Portuguese international. He threw caution to the breeze as the game progressed and brought in Edinson Cavani to replace Fred.

Veteran Sightings at Old Trafford

Juan Mata was brought off the bench after Rangnick had exhausted all of his options. It was the Spaniard’s first appearance, since losing a penalty shootout against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup last month. United lacked a defined shape and ideas on how to break through a tenacious Atletico. It was the German’s final throw of the dice; which was clearly an act of desperation.

Dismal Rashford

Rashford was visibly frustrated before the match with Elanga being preferred over him. But when he was brought onto the field, he put up a disappointing game. He squandered the ball and displayed lack of confidence. In addition; He made the mere basics seem complicated with his performance.


Ragnick’s substitutes muddled up United’s gameplay further up. By the fifth substitute; Mata came on for Maguire displaying no discernible shape of their game. Atletico switched play into space without any pressure from United. Rashford barely completed a pass in half an hour. Meanwhile, Cavani gifted away the possession every time he touched the ball. Amongst Pogba, Mata or Nemanja Matic neither managed a single shot or key pass between them at all.

Ghost Fernandes at United

It is astonishing to see Fernandes being the first one to subbed off with United needing one goal. He has been lost with his individual performance and the constantly rotating tactics. Fernandes had a shot which needed saving, laid off the odd decent pass and shifted the ball wide into good areas a few times. But by large he was again frustratingly on the periphery far too often. Him berating the referee for being in the way after misplacing a pass was his most notable contribution in the second half. He was subbed just past the hour mark for Paul Pogba instead.

Author: Aditya Desai

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