On Tuesday, Manchester United lost 3-2 to a spirited Leipzig side. The loss saw Man Utd dumped to the Europa League after missing a chance to advance to the group stages of the qualification. This adds to the ongoing tug-of-war between Manchester United and Paul Pogba’s camp.
Manchester United was dumped to the Europa League by Leipzig on Tuesday, and the Old Trafford side’s performance at the Red Bull Arena proved that the loss was deserved. Manchester United conceded 3 goals for the second time in the competition, but it all leaves everyone wondering how it got to this point. Manchester United went into the game fully aware of the threat since Leipzig had won 7 out of 7 of its last home matches. This one, sadly, made it 8 out of 8.
In the last two games, Manchester United needed only one point to advance to the next round. However, the side lost 3-2 to PSG before Leipzig came calling. The match against Leipzig in particular showed how much of a clinical finisher Manchester United needs. This is not to downplay Rashford and Greenwood; they are good players who have given us exciting evenings through their goals and performance. However, they could not stand to the task when needed.
Manchester United missed the services of both Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, both of whom were sidelined with injuries. Cavani has shown Manchester United how much they need a goal poacher through his decent goals and awareness in the goal area. On the other hand, Anthony Martial has been largely criticized for his attitude on the pitch and inconsistent displays. This is all happening at a time when the side is trying to restore the lost glory at Old Trafford, a mission that seems far from being achieved.
Recent days have also seen a tug-of-war emerge between Paul Pogba’s camp and his employers. This is not the first time it is happening, and it raises concerns on whether Ferguson was right about Raiola, Pogba’s agent, when he called him a t**t. Raiola has been publicly bashing Manchester United for ‘not treating Pogba right’, and he is now claiming that ‘it is over for Pogba at Man United’. This comes several months after Pogba publicly declaring that ‘it is a dream to play for Real Madrid’. Although no concerns raised, this speaks volumes about the happenings in the dressing room.
Since then, Ole Gunnar has moved forward to condemn Raiola for his statements, but this does not change two things; first, Manchester United need a decent and reliable striker. Second, Pogba’s camp needs to respect his employers. Manchester United was in the market for a striker in the summer, with Ole Gunnar highlighting the type of a striker he was looking for. However, he ended up with Edinson Cavani because he was available on a free transfer. This also raises concerns on the board’s commitment to bringing quality players.
Manchester United started the campaign pretty well in what was described as ‘The Group of Death’, and now so for a reason. However, the long run never counted as Manchester United ended up in the Europa League. The poor performance in the last two games, and the side’s failure to secure just a single point from the matches, justify its bundling from the competition. In addition, it gives the board something to think about concerning the striking power at Old Trafford. Therefore, besides fighting to keep Pogba, Manchester United should prioritize buying quality strikers as soon as possible.