Graeme Souness has hit out at Manchester United for failing to turn up for their last 16 defeat to Sevilla on Tuesday night.
Jose Mourinho’s men simply needed a win having drawn 0-0 in Seville, but the return leg at Old Trafford soon became a waking nightmare.
Man United were failing to make headway in the final third, overrun in midfield by the superb Steven N’Zonzi, and ultimately dumped out of the Champions League by two Wassim Ben Yedder goals.
And Souness, speaking after the game, noted that the home side never got going in what was their biggest game of the season.
“They never started, did they? You think Man United, coming into this game, they should have been firmly up, after the results they’ve had in recent weeks in the Premier League,” he said.
“Coming back from being 2-0 down to Palace, you would think that this would have been tailor made for them tonight. They never played at a tempo which was enough to cause this average Sevilla team a problem. Never did until the last… until Sevilla scored, basically.”
The worst part of this defeat – the thing that really, really stings – is that United could have done so much more.
United’s previous departure from the competition at this stage came also in the form of a 2-1 defeat at home – to Real Madrid – but at least Sir Alex Ferguson’s men had left everything out on the pitch. They were beaten by a better team.
Sevilla, on the other hand, are not a better team. This is a side with a negative goal difference in La Liga this season, and if United had decided to attack them for the first 170 minutes of the tie – rather than just the last ten, when the whole thing was done anyway – they would have reaped the rewards.
But they didn’t. Above anything, it was a waste – a waste of a chance to show Europe what this team is made of.