Man United, Mourinho's frustrations continue with 0-0 draw vs. Valencia
MANCHESTER, England -- Three points from Old Trafford as Man United drew 0-0 with Valencia on Champions League matchday 2.
1. Mourinho, Man United's misery continued with 0-0 draw
Jose Mourinho's misery as Manchester United manager continued as his team were held to a goalless Champions League draw at home Tuesday to Valencia, extending a winless run at Old Trafford which stretches back to the opening weekend of the Premier League season in August.
United, already eliminated from the Carabao Cup by Championship outfit Derby last Tuesday before losing 3-1 at West Ham on Saturday, can at least point to an unbeaten record in Group H following this stalemate. But after starting brightly against the Spanish side, United once again slipped back to mediocrity after failing to take any of their early chances.
United's performance lacked ambition, prompting the increasingly regular chants of "attack, attack, attack" from the home fans, and the result does little to banish the storm clouds hanging over the club and Mourinho. With Rafael Benitez and his struggling Newcastle side next up at Old Trafford on Saturday, anything but a win for United will place Mourinho under huge pressure going into the international break.
The harsh reality is that Mourinho's team is playing poorly and failing to win matches, which is a dangerous combination for any manager. United rarely looked like changing the narrative against Valencia, either; the draw puts even greater importance on the back-to-back games against Juventus that now loom in the Champions League.
If they fail to win either of those, United could face a final-game trip to Valencia needing a result to qualify. Whether Mourinho will be in charge by then is becoming a bigger question with every game.
2. Bus trouble just another sign of United's dysfunction
The late arrival of Manchester United's team bus for this game was not a major issue, but it did delay kickoff by five minutes and was one of those little mishaps that sum the club up right now.
United arrived at Old Trafford at 7.15 p.m. -- just 45 minutes before the scheduled kickoff time -- due to traffic in the Manchester area, but there really can be no excuse for a home team to turn up late when their hotel is just three miles away.
Mourinho likes his players to arrive at the stadium as late as possible to avoid having them sitting around and killing time before the game, and sources have told ESPN FC that he has the final say on when the coach leaves the team hotel on a match day.
Mourinho might not have been aware of the traffic problems that have become a regular pain for Mancunians, but he did joke recently that it takes two hours to get between Old Trafford and the Lowry Hotel, the team hotel where he has lived for the past two years. He knows that getting to the stadium is by no means straightforward, particularly during rush hour.
Minor details are important. If they are not dealt with, they can become bigger problems; it does not say much for meticulous planning if the team bus can't even get to a home game in good time.
Arriving late meant that the prematch preparations were disrupted, and regardless of the result, that should not happen at a club of United's stature.
3. Shaw, Rashford offer some optimism
This a hugely talented but underperforming Manchester United squad, and Mourinho has to take responsibility for the failure of many of his players to perform anywhere close to their potential. That said, there we some positives on the pitch in a dismal game, with both Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford showing that they now deserve to be trusted by Mourinho.
Shaw has endured a torrid time at United under the Portuguese coach, but this season has finally seem him nail down a regular starting spot at left-back and he is playing on merit. Against Valencia, he was one of United's most impressive players, though in fairness, there wasn't much competition.
Shaw won big tackles and displayed the desire and tenacity that some of his teammates lack. And in front of him down the left flank, Rashford also justified his selection simply because he showed pace and ambition when going forward.
Rashford makes things happen, either for himself or the team, and Mourinho's reluctance to use him more often from the start is puzzling.
Perhaps his local roots and the fact he grew up as a United fan makes a difference, but whatever it is, Rashford looks like he cares more and hurts more when things go against the team.
Mourinho needs more players like Rashford and Shaw in his starting XI.