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Olympiacos 2-0 Manchester United: Five lessons we learned

by Sam Peoples

Wipe that game from the memory straight away. David Moyes would have expected Olympiacos to start strong and they did. Manchester United struggled to find a rhythm and were ultimately punished for it as Olympiacos took the lead through a scruffy deflected goal.

Despite going 1-0 down, United didn’t show any sort of desire to find an equaliser and went into the break with not even a clear-cut chance to their name.

You’d expect United to respond emphatically with drive in the second half but instead, our limp performance saw us concede a second with a great strike from Campbell.

The rest of the second isn’t worth recapping. It was the worst performance United have had Europe that any fan will be able to remember.

United take one step forward and two steps back. After the game against Crystal Palace, United fans were filled with a new-found sense of optimism which, after the full-time whistle against Olympiacos, has been swiftly replaced by an all too familiar feeling of doom and gloom.

The win against Palace really felt like a watershed moment, a victory on which fortunes can turn. It came after our warm weather break from Dubai and the players looked refreshed. If they look refreshed against Palace at the weekend, they looked lifeless tonight.

Moyes’ tactics weren’t a surprise. United sat deep and compact from the start against Olympiacos. It’s what United have typically done in European away games over the years, it was a traditional tactic from Sir Alex Ferguson to soak up pressure and hit fast on the counter attack.

It’s clear that Moyes wanted to follow a similar tactic tonight but the first half was an abomination. There’s no point playing a counter attack tactic if no player wants to counter attack. Our defenders couldn’t pass it out from the back and the front four were as pedestrian as a lollipop lady with zero attacking impetus.

If the team had played like they did against Arsenal, we would have been in with a chance of winning…

The players don’t deserve to wear the shirt if they play like that. You can’t single out a bad performance because there were so many.

Not one of United’s players (apart from Nemanja Vidic in the first half) looked like they deserved to be wearing United’s shirt. It’s almost incomprehensible how bad they played. There was nothing, not a single ounce of fight, not a drip of desire.

We’ve gone from a title-winning side to relegation fodder within nine months.

There are absolutely no excuses for that performance. None. Nadda. Zilch. Zip. Kaput. Zero. None.

Every single player and Moyes was responsible for one of the worst United performances in recent memory and to do it against a completely average Olympiacos is even worse.

I’m not sure how Moyes is going to spin his way out of this one.

Image: Twitter/ESPN

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