Pundits and journalists have been offering their explanations as to why Manchester United crashed out of the Carabao Cup this evening to neighbours Manchester City in a flat and uninspiring 0-2 defeat.
Club legend Rio Ferdinand was philosophical, saying ‘City [were the] better team on the night… they look to be back in full flow! FA Cup… then back to League next week for us! We go again.’
City better team on the night… they look to be back in full flow!
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) January 6, 2021
The Athletic’s Carl Anka believes that the two teams were fairly evenly matched but that it was ‘fine margins’ that decided the fixture. City were just ahead of United in most meaningful statistics, including shots on target, possession, passes and pass accuracy.
Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City
Semi Finals are about fine margins, and despite a thrilling encounter, Ole's men have come up short for at the 4th time of asking
A 4th League Cup Final in a row for City. pic.twitter.com/mzmwOqDakB
— Carl Anka (@Ankaman616) January 6, 2021
The MEN’s Samuel Luckhurst believes that the game demonstrated that United are still not quite at a level to compete with football’s elite, saying ‘Fourth straight semi-final defeat for Solskjaer’s United. Strengthening squad over the XI has served them well for much of the season but not against the elite. Their big-game nous has deserted them domestically and they seemed stumped after Stones scored.’
Fourth straight semi-final defeat for Solskjaer's United. Strengthening squad over the XI has served them well for much of the season but not against the elite. Their big-game nous has deserted them domestically and they seemed stumped after Stones scored. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) January 6, 2021
Four Four Two writer Sam Pilger’s analysis was more critical and passionate. ‘United have approached a Cup semi-final against City like it was a pre-season friendly. Sloppy, lazy and painfully slow all over the pitch. Lindelof, McTominay and Fred defensive and timid selections.’
#MUFC have approached a Cup semi-final against City like it was a pre-season friendly. Sloppy, lazy and painfully slow all over the pitch. Lindelof, McTominay and Fred defensive and timid selections. Dreadful.
— Sam Pilger (@sampilger) January 6, 2021
And The Evening Standard’s James Robson believes the problems lay in attack, saying ‘Surprised how poor United have been up front.’
Brilliant goal. City value for this for second half performance. Surprised how poor United have been up front
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) January 6, 2021
There was, in truth, probably fault everywhere on the pitch and in the dugout tonight. John Stones’ goal was poorly defended, Fred and Scott McTominay failed to grasp the game by the scruff of the neck, United’s forward players didn’t perform well and Solskjaer could arguably have made his substitutions much sooner. Credit must also go to City though for an excellent performance.
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