There aren’t many words necessary to explain where things went wrong for Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
An even first half, in which United created a number of good opportunities, promptly fell apart in the second half, in embarrassing fashion.
In the disappointing aftermath, Andre Onana stepped up to face the cameras; an indication of the prominent role the new signing has already assumed within the United squad.
Onana was keen to stress the positives of the first half performance, describing his side’s start to the game as “very good.”
He asserted that Spurs were “not better than us” if you factor in the ninety minutes as a whole, but how you finish a game will often dictate the result, as demonstrated today.
Onana believes United’s lack of ruthlessness in the first half was the “key point” which ultimately decided the game.
Bruno Fernandes wasted a gilt-edged chance from an excellent cross by Luke Shaw which, if converted, would naturally have altered the manner in which the game unfolded.
Antony also hit the post at the beginning of the second half, before Spurs’ ascendency in the game grew.
United’s midfield felt more balanced in this early period, with the triumvirate of Bruno, Mason Mount and Casemiro operating more effectively and containing Spurs for large periods.
It was a dramatic return to the porous sieve which characterised the opening day fixture against Wolves in the second however. Both goals for Spurs possessed an element of luck, but they were symptomatic of the superiority the London side displayed in the second half.
Onana was adamant United have to “stay calm” and not overreact to the disappointing performance, but did concede his side have to “recognise our mistakes.”
The goalkeeper refused to blame any individuals, instead focusing on his own failings; a tactic which highlights the Cameroonian’s leadership qualities, rather than any genuine admission of a mistake. Onana was a rare bright spot for United this evening, even if he attributed his poor communication as a reason for the defeat.
He ended his interview by reaffirming his belief that “it will come together” for his new side, though this feels the optimistic prediction of a biased player, rather than the honest assessment of an objective analyst.
There are fundamental issues within Erik ten Hag’s side which a goalkeeper will not be able to fix, no matter how brave they are with the ball at their feet, or in front a mic in a post-match interview.