Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo has fired a subtle dig at Manchester United’s long-ball style under Jose Mourinho following the stalemate at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Man United once again left supporters feeling depleted with another performance devoid of zip or precision going forward, with Mourinho instead opting to target Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku with long passes up the pitch.
The 0-0 draw means United, currently tenth in the Premier League table, have gone almost two months without a home win.
Speaking after the game, Parejo made note of United’s overly direct style during the draw with Valencia.
“We played a great game, they tried long balls because they have tall players,” he said. “We [could] have scored against them, but we could not. We are happy, but we deserved a bit more.”
United applied themselves well against Valencia. They fought hard and ended the game on top. And perhaps on another day they would have grabbed a goal.
What was missing from their performance, above anything, was confidence. You could see it when centre backs held the ball. You could see it when the midfield tried to move the ball forward. You could see it in the full-backs, gingerly approaching the area. You could sense it in the crowd and among those watching on screens. When United got into a promising position, you could sense it there too.
For some time United have got by not on tactical nous – they have none of that under Mourinho – but rather spirit and strength. They don’t have that any longer.