Recently, I headed to Old Trafford for the first time this season, my first glimpse of Mourinho’s United in the flesh, for the UEFA Cup tie against Feyenoord.
This was a game that United needed to win just to stay in the competition. Although a draw still would have had United’s destiny in their own hands in the final game, defeat would have eliminated them from the competition, following Fenerbache’s win over Zorya at teatime. with a game to spare.
Their recent record against Dutch clubs wasn’t great, losing three and drawing one of their last four games against Dutch clubs. One of those defeats came in their open group game, away to Feyenoord in September.
It is the away form that left United in this situation, even a draw in either Rotterdam or Istanbul would have made life so much easier going into this game.
This Jeckyll and Hyde form in Europe isn’t a Mourinho problem, Moyes and Van Gaal also endured it.
United haven’t lost at home in Europe in 14 matches, dating back to 2013, but have only won 1 of their last 10 away matches, dating back to 2013.
This match meant I had seen United take on Holland’s “Big Three” at Old Trafford. I had seen Feyenoord before, at the end of the last century in 1999 taking on Liverpool in a Pre-Season Friendly.
My excuse is that I was there to watch Linfield v Glentoran which had taken place before, and then just decided to stay, like when you are a fan of the support act at a concert but just decide to stay for the headliner anyway.
United went straight on the attack, issuing a statement of intent, Paul Pogba heading over in United’s first attack.
It was very much attack v defence, most of United’s play coming through some Scottish lad making his debut called Henry McItarian.
You got the feeling that if United could get one early on, they could power through and win the game with something to spare. The problem was, just getting the one.
I had great view of it, in the front rows of the Stretford End. The downside was, I almost got hit by a wayward Paul Pogba shot.
Feyenoord looked like getting a goal on the counter against the run of play, but Sergio Romero was forced into a double save, the second with his legs.
The goal United fans craved wasn’t long in coming when Wayne Rooney burst down the left wing and played it to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who waited, and waited, before playing Rooney in, to dink it over the keeper.
It briefly looked offside (it all happened very quickly) from where I was, but TV replays showed that it wasn’t.
More United pressure followed and continued into the second-half, with Henryk Mkhitarian hitting the side netting, before Juan Mata eventually made it count by finishing from close range to make it 2-0, his last involvement in the game before being subbed for Marcus Rashford.
United then made it 3-0 with a Brad Jones own goal, even though Ibrahimovic will try to claim it.
At that point, United fans taunted their rivals with “You’re just a shit fucking Ajax”.
If you come to Old Trafford and sing You’ll Never Walk Alone, you’d better be good, Feyenoord were not good.
Jesse Lingard made it 4-0 in injury time, as United head to Zorya for their final game knowing that a draw will be enough to go through.
Hopefully, United can win that game and top the group (need Fenerbache to slip up in Rotterdam though) while Dundalk win their last game to finish second. You know what i;m thinking?
Thursday 6pm game, book a day off work and be in bed at a reasonable time.
First of all, just get the result in Ukraine.