Gary Neville has expressed his shock at Manchester United’s lack of composure on the ball during their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho’s men spent the majority of the first period camped in their own half before David Silva netted a deserved opener.
Marcus Rashford claimed an equaliser on the stroke of half time but Nicolas Otamendi took advantage of a poor Romelu Lukaku restore Man City’s advantage before seeing the game out with relative ease.
And Neville, speaking on Sky Sports, was notably dismayed at the way the home side conducted themselves.
“Forget the fact that City had most of the ball – we expected that,” he said. “But every time they got the ball back it looked like a hot potato, they didn’t want to pass it, they had no confidence on the ball.”
“I was shocked with how United played in the first half. They were let off the hook.”
This was the biggest game of the season and Mourinho, to his credit, opted for an ambitious, attacking line-up, but on the occasion they froze.
While Pep Guardiola side’s stroked the ball all over the pitch, hardly even in top gear, Man United stuttered and spluttered, unable to generate any momentum or pressure. It was a game that revealed in emphatic terms that, beyond Paul Pogba, Mourinho’s midfield options are mid-table level at best when it comes to dominating games.
And the table now reflects that. City played like a team that deserved to be champions; United played like a team that deserved to be 11 points behind them.