Manchester United made the trip to Rotterdam to play Feyenoord, for their Europa League match, in what is considered by Jose Mourinho as an inconvenience for his team.
Mourinho made a string of changes to the one that faced Manchester City in the weekend, with regulars Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw not even making the trip.
Mata returned for United, and so did Martial, and Ibrahimovic started on the bench, having been replaced by Rashford. A host of other players got their first start under Mourinho.
The home team’s manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, didn’t make many changes to his in-form first team, who have an important encounter against PSV lined up this Sunday, with former Liverpool man Dirk Kuyt captaining his side.
The first half started slowly, with Feyenoord creating much of the chances, testing the United defence time and again, Manchester United had a scare when Eric Bailley limped off at the quarter hour mark, but returned immediately after being treated.
Berghuis cut in from the right to curl in a shot, which was caught by the ever-reliant De Gea, and United had the best chance of the first half when Martial shot wide after controlling the ball well from a Mateo Darmian cross coming in from the right.
Pogba wasn’t able to execute his marauding runs, as the Feyenoord defence closed in on the attacking United players, with Rashford failing to provide United the inspiration they needed; the scrappy first half ended with the score at 0-0, with the ball spending much time in the midfield area.
The second half started in similar fashion, and Mourinho decided to infuse fresh attacking blood to his team by making use of all 3 substitutes at the hour mark, bringing on Zlatan, Depay and Young for Rashford, Martial and Mata, respectively.
But the Swede, brought in on a free transfer from PSG, couldn’t inspire United, as they fell behind 11 minutes from time to a Vilhena strike who struck low to beat De Gea, though the player playing the ball in for Vilhena to score was borderline offside when he received it, which could’ve been caught by the linesman who was level with him.
By no means a pretty game, it ended with Manchester United’s misery continuing, all credit to Feyenoord who were sturdy in defence and took their chance when they got it, Mourinho’s men looked uninspired, despite being reprimanded by their manager for a lack of performance in their last match against Manchester City. This was certainly not how Mourinho might have envisioned the match to end, no matter how irrelevant he deems the competition. What remains to be seen is how well the squad can respond to a second consecutive loss, and how it affects their upcoming match in the Premier League.