Manchester United’s unbeaten 13-game record in the Premier League was halted after a shock 2-1 defeat by bottom-ranked Sheffield United on Wednesday, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s substitute team failed to win.
In a busy season, teams are forced to make changes in order to keep their players alive.
The changes, relying on a semi-backup against Sheffield, resulted in a modest performance that is no stranger to what the team was doing at its worst time since Solskjaer took over.
The partnership of Scottish McTominay and Brazilian Fred was successful in midfield during the last great period, but in their absence, United’s performance returned to hesitation and played slowly in building attacks.
Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba did not perform the same vital performance nor did they increase the team’s rhythm and pressure on the opponent.
Sheffield defended spectacularly, led by veteran Phil Jagielka, 38, but United did not threaten their opponent’s goal.
Anthony Martial stumbled again while Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood did not give much, and forward Edinson Cavani came on only near the end.
In defense, the partnership of Axel Tuanzebi and Harry Maguire seemed far from what the team had been offering in the presence of injured Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailey, while left-back Alex Tillis could not make contributions similar to what Luke Shaw is doing.
Solskjaer refused to blame certain players but was not happy with the performance.
“There will be no scrutiny. Many strange results have occurred this season, but despite everything that is happening around us, we were the team that maintained their results the most, and today this has changed … disappointment. We did not present the performance that we have presented over the past few months. Great disappointment,” he said. There were no solutions to confront (Sheffield’s) orderly defense. “
He continued, “This glimpse, and the point of excellence, we did not enjoy the creativity and the decisive factor that we had, and this is happening, we will study what happened, and I agree that we did not provide enough and we will try again.”
United’s trip to Arsenal on Saturday will be difficult, but Solskjaer will surely return to his striking strength.
Then United play against Southampton and Everton in two difficult tests, and without a doubt, these factors are what led to Solskjaer’s decision to rest some of the starting points against Sheffield.
But after the team paid the price for the failure of the reserve squad to live up to expectations, the Norwegian coach will return to the formation that contributed to the success of the past period.